Who else has a hard time overcoming writer’s block? I know I do!
We’ve all had those days. You know the ones…You have a ton of writing on your to-do list. However, after your third (or sixth) cup of coffee, you still can’t seem to focus on the task at hand. That blinking cursor on an empty page begins to mock you. Then, each blink begins to sound like the ticking of a clock inside your head as the day continues on without making progress.
Writers love to joke that their favorite thing about deadlines is the whooshing sound it makes as it passes by. But the downside of letting writer’s block get the best of you is those deadlines push back other important projects and encourage you to procrastinate. Even if your deadlines are flexible, you should treat them as though they aren’t. But it’s completely understandable that writer’s block can have an impact on your ability to perform.
Instead of sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike or switching to social media, try these 8 tips to get you back on track in 10 minutes or less. OR skip the how to overcome writer’s block tips and get right to an effective solution with the FocusCopy team.
What Is Writer’s Block?
Many of us associate writer’s block with our school days. You’re at your desk and everyone is scribbling away…except you. You understand the assignment. You just don’t know where to start! Your brain might feel foggy or like a pile of mush because while you’re capable of writing, the words just won’t come out.
Writer’s block is real. And even though your braces are gone and your handwriting has improved, writer’s block still affects people well into adulthood. Only now, writer’s block eats into your productivity and profitability. But there are a few ways to turn writer’s block around.
Need a faster, more effective solution? FocusCopy has your back.
Why Do We Get Writer’s Block?
There are several reasons writer’s block happens. A few of these reasons are mental, which means it’s important to do everything you can to get your mind in a clear and comfortable space.
The most common reasons people experience writer’s block are:
- Lack of energy
- Unclear direction
The thing about these symptoms of writer’s block is they’re usually all connected. But don’t worry because as soon as you start a routine to improve your productivity and get the hang of getting over writer’s block, it’ll become habitual.
A Guide On How To Overcome Writer’s Block
Here are 8 things you can do to get past writer’s block.
1. Start With A Big Idea
What’s your purpose for writing and what’s the purpose of the piece? If you’re writing your own biography for your website, what’s the big idea behind it? It may be to:
- Inform readers about your credentials
- Discuss how many companies you’ve helped
- Tell a story about how your sales have improved over time
Whatever you’re trying to do through your writing, know what it is and jot it down!
2. Know Your Goal
Once you have the big idea down, your main goal should be clear. If you have questions, ask. Yep! Even if you’re the boss. It’s okay to ask people you admire what they think, if they can edit, or if they have any other ideas. This way, you avoid writing with no real direction.
Scribbling can help if you’re brainstorming and trying to get the juices flowing. But if you’ve been at it for too long, writing with an unclear goal leads to multiple revisions, edits, and everyone’s favorite – total rewrites! You want to avoid wasting time and money by redoing work that should be on the right track the first time around. Ask questions and be sure you’re on the same page about goals and expectations.
3. Outline Your Copy
Before outlining your copy, you should know and stick to a deadline. Account for the time it takes to brainstorm, outline, and edit your work. From there, choose an ideal day and time to start writing, and get an outline going.
Psst…Your big idea and goal above can be part of your outlining process!
After many years of professional writing, placing my main points into bullets to start is a huge help. You can think of them as headlines for your writing, guiding you along the way. If you have any specific notes, links, or other thoughts to include, now is the time to throw those ideas in before you forget!
This next tip is more for longer articles and blogs. So, if it helps, go ahead and write a quick introduction and conclusion including your objective and end goal, even if they aren’t perfectly written the first time around. This will make it easier as you write to remember what you should be writing about. Also, it ensures that the entire piece has a good flow from start to finish.
Need help getting started? Add a cup of FocusCopy to your writing.
4. Use The Pomodoro Technique
Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique?
It’s a way to manage the time you have so you can get the most quality work done. It breaks up your time into 25-minute intervals and 5-minute breaks. These sections are called pomodoros. As soon as you’ve worked for about 4 or 5 of these intervals, you can take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.
I love using Flow for Mac because instead of thinking about how much time I don’t have, it forces me to work within the time I do have. It’s a much less stressful way of looking at my day ahead. And it’s not just for writers! You can use it for practically whatever you need to get the job done. It’s also a pretty amazing tool to use if you burn out quickly performing one task at a time…cough any parents with kids who hate studying? Give Flow a try.
5. Move Your Body Away From The Computer
This tip on how to overcome writer’s block may sound counterintuitive. But looking at a blank page and worrying about what you’re going to write can cause more stress than necessary. It’s okay to do something else to get your mind working for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Go for a short walk outside
- Stretch in the comfort of your home
- Breathe long and slow for a few minutes
- Declutter and clean your desk off with a sanitized wipe (a personal favorite)
Moving away from the computer has a ton of benefits, which leads us to our next tip.
6. Put Pen To Paper (Instead Of Using The Keyboard)
I know, I know, you love your laptop and you’d rather die than let it out of your sight. Trust me! I get it.
But there is something to be said for taking a reliable, smooth pen to a crisp clean piece of paper. In fact, it’s proven that writing strengthens your brain activity more than typing on a computer. You’re even more likely to remember key pieces of information later on. This tip is great for those who have memory or learning differences like dyslexia or attention deficit disorder (ADD).
Want to make this hack a little more fun?
Grab some fun notebooks (no one will judge you for choosing a Batman cover) and stock up on your favorite pens – these thin gel pens from Sharpie will be the most
stolen borrowed pens in your collection.
7. Clean Up Your Desktop
You know who you are here…If you have notes or files you don’t need from one or more years ago, I’m talking to you!
Actually cleaning your work area is one thing. But getting rid of the extra icons, pictures, and apps on your computer can also help. There’s nothing physical that you’re removing, but clearing up your desktop can feel just as rewarding. Before insisting you need everything, take a quick look and see if there are 3 items you can get rid of completely.
8. Put On White Noise Or Instrumental Music
Many people have trouble concentrating when there are other noises around. This can be the coworker humming to your left, the tapping of your own keyboard, or someone having a loud phone call an office or two away. Complete silence alone can make you feel like you’re going crazy. You’re not wrong to feel this way. If you are bothered by other noises or silence, you can use white noise or music to drown out the distraction.
You can buy noise canceling headphones, tune into your favorite playlist, or tell home devices like Alexa that you want it to play white noise for you. If you prefer a natural source for white noise, turn on a fan or the AC, use a small space heater for a low hum, or rely on an air purifier to run while you think.
How To Overcome Writer’s Block While Saving Time & Money
You can practice most of these tips in 10 minutes or less. However, if time isn’t on your side and you need quality writing solutions fast, FocusCopy is the extra boost you need. We use a refined process to overcome writer’s block and get your copy on target and on time. Contact us to find an affordable writing solution for your business, and never worry about writer’s block again.