It doesn’t really matter what kind of writing you do. You could be a novelist, a web content creator or a resume specialist. You’re still going to get writer’s block every now and then.
This morning (it’s Friday) was rough for me. I just could not get started. Now, once I did, I actually did quite well, but it reminded me that I wanted to share with you a few things I do to overcome writer’s block. Here we go.
1. Turn on some music
What do you like to listen to when you write? Sometimes, I prefer the sound of my keyboard. But other times, if I’m feeling low on energy, I’ll turn up the music and it really does help. Whether it be Chopin or Creedence Clearwater Revival, find what peps you up. Turn it on, and start writing.
2. Straighten up your work station
Sometimes you just need to look away from the computer screen. My work space is my couch, and although it’s pretty bad for my posture, I find that I’m most comfy here. I’ve got a pot of coffee to my left and my sound system to my right.
But every now and then, I’ll look up from the screen and see the kitchen. My family likes to leave crumbs and things all over the place; I can usually tune the messes out. Other days, not so much. Huge distraction. So I’ll pop up, sweep and Swiffer, and 10 minutes later I’m good to go.
I would be remiss not to add a disclaimer to this. If you’re new to freelancing or self-employment, your couch is probably not the best desk. You do have a dedicated workspace, right? Right?
3. Take a walk
This could sound kind of trite, but it sometimes works for me. I don’t walk far, as I feel that would take me too far off task. Instead, I’ll go get the mail or just take a quick stroll to the end of the road. Try stepping outside for a few minutes. It’ll do you a lot of good.
Yeah, sounds contradictory. You’re having trouble writing, and I’m suggesting that you write.
Just do it, though. Sit down at your laptop or typewriter or with your pen. Whatever you use. And just write. Whatever words come to mind, just write them down. And then when you’re done, delete them. (Or burn the paper in your fireplace.)
Freewriting has always helped me to get my brain moving again; it’s a welcome change from the ordinary. Which brings me to…
5. Switch projects
I have a client whom I love dearly. We work very closely with one another, and I’ve been working with him for years. But honestly, sometimes I get bored with our primary project.
Thankfully, we have about 6 projects that we’re working on, and he understands that sometimes I need to switch things up a little bit.
Now, it may happen that you don’t have any other projects that you’re working on. In that case, try freewriting. You could also write something to include on your writer’s portfolio, or just write a letter to your mom. But switching projects is one of the easiest methods I use for overcoming writer’s block.
6. Write through it
I’ve done this, too, but it only works on certain days. If I’m writing ad nauseam about, say, water heaters (which hasn’t happened in a while, but it has happened) then sometimes I just don’t want to do it anymore. It’s painful, but an effective way of overcoming writer’s block.
Do it anyway. You can always edit it later. You might think you’re pumping out the biggest piece of crap that you’ve written in your life, but who cares? Do it anyway. Write first, edit later.
7. Take the day off
Once you get to a point in your writing career that you can, that is. In the beginning, you’ll do nothing but write. You’ll eat, breathe and sleep words. That is, if you remember to eat and have time to sleep.
But it gets better! I’m at a point now where I can take days off here and there. In fact, I probably take more days off than I really should.
Of course, this isn’t something that you can do all the time. But every once in a while, it pays to just take some time for yourself or with your family.