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5 Ways To Successfully Break Through Writer’s Block

This is a guest post by Gregory Ciotti

When writing at a prolific rate, (and let’s be honest, when compared to everyone else, authors, bloggers, and freelance writers write a lot) it can sometimes feel like a huge burden to come up with original content that you just know people will want to read on a regular basis.

Unfortunately for writers, there is no secret recipe for original ideas.

However, like everything else, there are effective ways to get the wheels turning when it seems like the creative part of your brain has come to a complete halt.

Just when you think you are at the brink of your creativity, come back strong using these methods guaranteed to fuel your writing fire.

1.) Expand Your Range Of Reading

Your output can greatly depend on your consumption, and it is important as a writer to never forget this.

Just like your body flourishes with a mix of healthy nutritional intake, so does the mind.

Consume a wide variety of literature, articles, concepts, examples, how-tos, interviews, news, fiction, history, and everything in between.

As you read them, think what tidbits of information you can use and how you can use it to really inspire your audience.

What creative examples can you provide that relate to your topic at hand? I know I’ve used examples from ancient history (a topic I enjoy reading about) and relate them to my marketing audience by making a connection with a specific example from history and a lesson to be taught in marketing.

Are their any interesting connections that you can make from your broad consumption of information?

2.) Keep An Idea Journal

Sometimes, as fate would have it, random tidbits of genius will come floating into your brain at the most inopportune time: the time when you can’t act on them.

Try as you might, you cannot trust your brain to remember all of these ideas as they happen, there is simply too much demand put on your poor brain to expect it to remember every last bit, let alone to be able to flush the idea out.

Instead, write down these ideas as they come in a “post idea journal” of sorts, remember to do more than just write the post title, write some ways that you already fleshed the post out in your head, you can always take them out come writing time.

Not only will you never miss out on a potentially great idea that got lost to poor memory, you will also build a backlog of post ideas to use whenever you need them.

3.) Build The Foundation First

Nothing will keep you staring at a blank screen more than actually having a general idea, but not knowing what to do with it. You’re all primed and ready to write, but the wheels are just spinning in place.

To combat this, and let your ideas flow more easily, you should have a potential article outlined before you sit down to really write it.

Brainstorm what will be needed for this post to be comprehensive, brainstorm what it will need to be unique, brainstorm what it will need to provide true and actionable value.

Utilize your Post Idea Journal: the outlines of your post could form throughout the day as more and more pieces start coming together over time, instead of having to force them out when you’ve decided to sit down and write.

4.) Write Where Desire Takes You

Sorry for the mysterious title, but let me assure you, the advice is clear-cut.

Sometimes when we are being productive, we have a calling to do a certain task.

Logic tells us that it would really be better if we did this other task first, but the desire to do something else just won’t leave the back of our minds.

Not only does this happen to writers, it happens to successful entrepreneurs too, and I’d have to agree with the 37signals team here and say that sometimes it is better just to give in to your desires.

Why?

Because the best kind of productivity comes when you are really anxious and engaged in what you are doing. If you are going to sit and write, your best work will come when you want to, so follow that instinct.

Feel like writing the conclusion first? Do it. Feel like working on a totally different post? Do it.

Mixing in your more “logical” side (what needs to get done?) with your “creative” side (what do I want to do?) can help you break free from monotonous writing and help improve your content overall.

5.) Establish A Writing Habit

Now, this may seem to contradict the advice above, but hear me out.

While following your desire will allow you to harness productivity by doing things when you want to do them, cultivating an established writing routine will allow you successfully get past the hardest part of writing: getting started.

Waiting for inspiration to be the only time you write can be foolhardy; what if she doesn’t show up?

Writing on a schedule is quite akin to working out on a schedule.

For most people, getting up, ready, and out the door to the gym is the hardest part, once you are already there, the workout takes care of itself.

So forcing yourself to set a schedule can help you in the same way: once pen has hit the paper (or fingers hit the keyboard ;)) you will most likely find that the thing that was holding you back was getting started itself.

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Category: writing

47 Comments on "5 Ways To Successfully Break Through Writer’s Block"

  1. For me, just getting in the habit of sitting down and writing every day is crucial. When it’s a habit, it’s much easier to get into the flow and avoid writer’s block than if I get out of practice.

    But otherwise, if I’m really stuck, I also like to take a little time to work on a totally different project. Sometimes I just need to take a break and come back to my writing with fresh eyes, and sometimes the other projects I work on give me ideas to use in my writing.

    • I definitely agree Sarah, when I wrote this article I wanted to really sit and looked at what was helping me write, rather than just going by pure mood which I would sometimes do.

      I agree with taking a break too, if you are a fairly prolific writer (doing it for a living or as a passionate hobby) than breaks are definitely needed to keep going.

  2. Raj says:

    I guess point no. 2 is very important. I have a diary where I note down all the ideas as and when they come. I choose from these ideas if I ever run out of topics. There are two pages, full of topics right now!

    • Totally Raj!

      I would find I’d get these great ideas and try to remember them naturally… boy, that was a big mistake I was making.

      Even if you remember the idea of the original post, you might miss out on great details you came up with while brainstorming, so now I make sure I write anything interesting down.

  3. sam @ goa carnival says:

    Nice one,

    All points are on the target and you teach very well through this post how we can do it.

    Beside that i like #1 point in this blog post which you mentioned like that “”Expand Your Range Of Reading”” i think through this option we can get as much as knowledge about many things which we can use lot in our blog post.

    • yes buddy that point is really great .that is my favorite point 🙂

    • Definitely Sam, glad you enjoyed my post!

      I find the best ideas come when they get triggered by reading something really good, and broad topics usually trigger the most creative ideas, so it’s something I do reguarly.

  4. I can relate to the first point in getting rid of a writer’s block. The more you read, the more you’re exposed to. Sometimes just reading a magazine (for example) will ignite a fantastic idea you’d never before thought of.

    Other people’s points of view can also trigger something in your brain.

    • Definitely! Even writing this post came from broad reading (true story!), I was reading a study on the causes of writer’s block, and true enough to the first point, this post idea came to me from that.

  5. Ryan Biddulph says:

    #4 kills writer’s block Oni. Go with your flow. Write what feels good, and the ideas flow with ease.

    Thanks for sharing!

    RB

    • Glad you liked the post Ryan!

      Sometimes writing just comes natural at times, and you just gotta embrace it.

  6. i think if you are to succeed as a writer, writing should become a habit in you. thanks Oni 4 the post. 😉

    • Thanks Nuwamanya, hope you enjoyed the post.

      That’s definitely true, writing is just one of those fieldsthat requires consistency in order to succeed in (then again, what doesn’t!).

  7. nice mate really 5 points are important.nice share 🙂

  8. Mark Aylward says:

    Hey Oni
    Even though 4 and 5 might seem contradictory, routines are critical and there is nothing worse than trying ti write when your mind and heart are elsewhere.
    Cheers
    Mark

    • Thanks Mark, hope you enjoyed the post.

      Glad that part of it was clear, I knew they sounded contradictory at first, but that is just the way writing is at times :).

  9. Matt Smith says:

    Great post Onibalusi!

    I especially liked the “Getting into a writing habit” section. It can be difficult producing content for a website, but I find having the pressure of a deadline (a deadline I set myself) for my posts gets me motivated to finish a post.

    Keep up the great work!

    Matt

    • This was was actually by me, but I’m glad you enjoyed it all the same!

      A writing habit is critical for me, when it comes to cranking out quality content, you have to MAKE it a habit rather than simply writing when you feel like it.

  10. Jamie Northrup says:

    Great tips, I like how you developed on each one Gregory, I thought Oni wrote it before seeing the comments.

    I like to go for a walk when I have writers block, no music, no people or phone, just walk and think, it usually helps me out.

    • Heh, yeah, that’s my bad, I forgot to add a byline to the top of the post for Oni.

      Glad you liked it!

      I’m the same way, and the most critical thing to turn off for me is the damn internet!

      Unplugging from the web allows me to get so much more writing done, it’s insane.

  11. I’ve definitely been having some writers block recently. I think creating good positive habits is the key to combating writers block. Yeah, it does take time, but it’s worth it.

    • Right on!

      It’s a tough battle sometimes, but consistency is a necessary requirement of excellent work, so it’s worth fighting.

  12. Peter says:

    I also like this section the “Getting into a writing habit”. Nice post,looking forward to see more articles from you.

  13. Sanna Hellström says:

    Hi Onibalusi, my absolute favourite of all!:)

    Listen, I have a question.
    Before that, I have not deepened my knowledge on the guest-blogging-thingy, but I will, I will!!!
    The question is would you like to guestblog on my blog?
    Could I guestblog on yours?

    Tell me what you think.

    All the best and hope you´re having a wonderful day of writing and laughing!
    Sanna (the grandma from Sweden)

    • Hey Sanna, thanks for the comment!

      I know Oni has a contact form where he handles guest post requests, hope that helps.

  14. Anna says:

    I agree with the idea that we need to write where our desire go.I usually follow this principle and in helps me to keep in the writing mood all the time. Surely that I can write some useless stuff, but it really helps me to create a better post then.

    • Definitely, a call to write something particular sometimes has to results in you doing just that, you can’t always work when some other objective is on your mind.

  15. patrick says:

    Good post, especially on tips 4 and 5. Writing with a desire is much more powerful than writing just to add another post to your blog.

    The more desire and passion you have the better your content will be and the more satisfaction you will receive out of writing it.

    Also developing a strong writing habit.

    • Thanks Patrick, it’s definitely true, sometimes I wait for days to publish something because I know I have to be motivated to write about it before it will ever be something worthwhile.

  16. Josh Sarz says:

    Very informative Oni. I admit I struggle sometimes with writer’s block, which I learned recently is just an excuse.

    • Josh Sarz says:

      Oh wait, I missed the part where this was a guest post. I only spotted it when I read the whole thing again.

      Thanks for the informative post Greg. 🙂

      And thanks for accepting this guest post, Oni.

  17. Extreme John says:

    This is why I just love my Android phone so much. It helps me keep something to write onto whenever a sudden burst of ideas come running into my mind. Excellent tips and suggestions Gregory. Everybody will surely take note of these things and use them when we come to a point of mind block.

    • I do the same thing, I’m currently using Evernote for such tasks!

  18. tushar says:

    i have one more thing to say. Be OPEN.
    what i exactly mean is that be open to ideas. they can pop in front of you from anywhere and you have to be receptive

    • Definitely, some of the most creative posts I’m sure came from times when the author had an open mind to let events and ideas come in naturally.

  19. I’m all good except on my “writing habit” chapter, no matter what I try or do to make thing turn around I always fail. And believe me I’d tried everything and it actually worked! For a while…

    • I try to write 2000 words a day, beginning in the early morning with the internet turned off and a full screen writing program open (try DarkRoom), sometimes even that doesn’t get it all the way done, but it helps!

  20. Kelli says:

    I agree. Without the passion, what’s the point?

    • Same here, maybe the reason why I don’t run too many niche site haha!

  21. Ardorm says:

    This is a well-written article, Gregory!

    To tell you the truth, I already knew these tips except for the “Post Idea Journal”. I never thought about such a thing, though I faced a problem with the writing often. I mean my Journal of ideas worked perfectly, but there was still the problem of representing the idea in a good writing. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  22. These are really admirable tips you shared over here among us. I will consider your provided stuff, thanks for posting, keep it continue…

  23. Jane @ writers block says:

    I completely agree. In order to be a successful writer it is very important to be prolific reader. The information gathered will passively be reflected in our words with the touch of our creativity. Writing down the ideas which flashes on our mind at unanticipated times is very important as Onibalusi mentions. These form the vital points of the completed article.

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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