It’s not uncommon for a web content writer to start drying up in the ideas department, especially if he’s been rehashing the same topic over and over again. The sad thing is other people aren’t convinced when content writers cry, “writer’s block!” They’re not writing literary pieces after all, right?
Well it’s still writing nevertheless, and for that you still need to think, come up with fresh ideas (a must for SEO and content marketing), and work on making the sentences, paragraphs, and sections flow together into one strong article or blog post.
For the days when you’re hit by the blues, here are some quick-acting tips that may help you get through and finish your tasks.
1. Divert your attention elsewhere. Maybe you’re already pigeonholed with what’s currently in your head, you’ve failed to step outside the box and find that there are actually many other ideas sitting around. Take a step back from your work and think about the more general topic arc. This will let you widen your view of the subject.
2. Speaking of taking a step back, literally step away from the computer and give your mind a break. Go take a drink of water, blend up a smoothie, or spend five minutes petting your dog. Sometimes doing something mundane and completely different from what you’re writing about can sort of refresh your brain and get it out of the slump it’s currently in.
3. Get ideas from other articles. If you’re confused with how to present your facts, take a look at how others presented theirs. You’ll also get a lot of new ideas when you read other people’s work. It’s not necessarily copying (unless if you copy and paste the text, which would be one big faux pas!) because you’ll only be picking ideas from their articles. Besides, you’ll probably get inspired after you scan the articles. You’ll come up with something different out of those references.
4. Have a snack. Maybe you just lack energy, that’s why you’re feeling sleepy and mentally dull. Don’t eat too much though, because that can make things worse. The sugar rush may power your body for a short while, but afterwards your energy level will be at a slump—meaning you’ll feel sleepier later on. To be on the safe side, snack on a banana, apple, or other fruits. Have a fresh fruit smoothie for variety. These snacks can give you energy and are packed with vitamins and minerals for additional brain power.
5. Stretch and walk around for a few minutes. Another possible cause for sleepiness is lack of oxygen in the brain. Performing some simple exercises will keep your blood pumping and your oxygen levels high.
6. Break your writing habits. A fixed schedule is well and good, but only if you’re not being plagued by a bout of procrastination. Insisting to stick with those hours will only make you more tired with zero output to boot. So for days when you just can’t get yourself to write at your normal pace, break your habits. Change your work hours. A change of location might also help perk you up. Move your laptop to a new location, maybe on the kitchen counter or on the balcony outside.
7. Speaking of breaking your habits, how about breaking your writing style? Explore a different tone, point of view (first-, second-, or third-person pronouns), or write from the middle to the end, and just go back to the beginning of the article. Write what comes to your mind. You can just edit all that later anyway.
8. Get rid of anything that can distract you. If you are easily distracted by noise, stay in your room or in any part of the house that’s normally silent. If the sound of a television or radio is enough to turn your attention from work, then stay out of the room where any of them are found.
9. Play soft, instrumental music while working. This is subjective though, and will also depend on your personal taste in music. Some writers are ok with loud, rock music blasting in their ears. Others are more comfortable with string quartet tracks or country music. Scientists have long researched on the effect of music in the physiology and power of the brain. Many findings are consistent: music stimulates brain activity. This can be very helpful as a quick remedy for writer’s block.
10. Research some more. Sometimes the reason why you don’t know what else to write is because you simply lack resources and information. The more research you do, the more facts and facets you uncover about the topic. Surely you’ll then be able to come up with more ideas to add in the article you’re working on—with some more left over for other articles, even.
Mind that different things may tick for each writer. What works for one may not always work for another. What’s important is that you find methods that will work for you.
Long Term Remedies
According to psychologists, writer’s block is the manifestation of a writer’s huge ambition that he cannot translate into a concrete output. It’s quite possible too that he simply lacks the skills to put into words the thoughts that buzz around his head. The point is there are also causes for writer’s block that cannot be solved in 10 minutes or even a day. Some of them need to be addressed over a long period of time.
1. Mental Conditioning – As many people would say, this situation is all in the mind. Content writers just need to condition themselves into thinking that there is no pressure in writing for websites. The first draft will always have mistakes. It may even have some flaws here and there, but that’s ok. That’s what edits and copyedits are for. Plus, let’s face it—you really are not writing a literary piece. That’s not to say that your work is less important, just that you don’t really need to pour your heart and soul over a bicycle review. Just chill, put yourself in check if you’re taking things too seriously. A happy and relaxed mind is more likely to complete writing assignments than a stressed and depressed one.
2. Developing Writing Habits – Habits also factor in a content writer’s ability to sit down and complete an assignment. You need to develop the habit of waking up before noon, for example, to be able to get a lot of work done before the day ends. Observe a fixed work schedule if you’re working at home. Avoid the habit of doing something else that will completely steal your concentration while in the middle of writing. If you need to do other errands, make sure you complete the article first to maintain your momentum. It’ll be quicker to finish that way too, not to mention ensure that you have an output for the day.
3. Beating the Deadline – There are writers who say that the ideas only pour in when the deadline is drawing near. That’s probably because they only start to really “get in the zone” of writing when they’re already cramming. That’s actually adrenaline rush powering up your brain. So what do you do when the deadline’s still far away? Set an earlier deadline for yourself. Condition yourself to recognize how important that deadline is, and wind yourself up to that adrenaline-stoked state. Do this if it seems to be the only way to get yourself to write until you’re finished.
If you are a writer, no one can get you out of your funk. You need to figure out how to do it yourself. You should also know that what works today may no longer be as effective in the future. It’s all about recognizing when you are simply procrastinating, or completely burned out and facing that thick, black, mental wall.
Experiencing writer’s block totally sucks, but on the bright side, it will definitely pass. It’s just a matter of finding a way to get out of it quickly.