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We’ve all been there. Staring at a blank screen for hours on end. We somehow end up with less text than when we started.
Writer’s block can set you behind schedule anywhere from days to weeks, but a really bad case of writer’s block can completely end your blogging career- if you let it. As bloggers we want, and need, to put out content with regularity, both to keep readers coming back and to keep our blogs active for search engines.
When the writing process is disrupted it is difficult for most writers to pick up where they left off and start writing again. The key is to keep writing when you can’t, to escape into writing because that is where your imagination is most comfortable and productive.
To get yourself writing in no time, step outside your comfort zone, with these 4 ways to beat writer’s block, because when you start to create in new ways, unconventional to your own style, that is smart blogging.
4 Ways to beat writer’s block
Establish a Writing Routine
Writer’s block can lead to the end of any semblance of a routine or blogging schedule. It’s at these times you need to establish a writing routine, but that might mean adding new creative exercises to relieve anxiety and stress in order to get your writing back on track. Take care of everything that would otherwise distract you once you sit down to write, and then begin working towards visualizing your next blog post. Do this every day to establish a routine in order to give yourself the best conditions to sit down and just write.
Allow Yourself to Just Write
Dampened creativity prevents most of us from writing, so you need to allow yourself to just write for yourself without any pressure. This is actually a form of training that writers use to help them overcome their blocks, and non-creatives use to help them discover new ways of looking at problems.
Journaling, dream logging, letter writing, and free writing happen to be the best exercises to get ideas out and onto the paper. ‘On Writing Well’ by William Zinsser was one of the first books I read about writing. The most helpful thing I learned from this book is the importance of writing something for myself each and every day.
Create a New Type of Blog Post
Just like we develop a style of writing, we develop and create specific types of blog posts that we prefer or know our readers respond well to. Limiting ourselves to a specific type of post sometimes creates boredom, or makes blogging feel more like work than it needs to be. This exacerbates writer’s block.
Lists, essays, photo galleries, guides, open letters and dozens of other types of blog posts are all equal and just as good to post as anything else you put together. During my worst bout of writer’s block I decided to try a photo gallery and it ended up being my best performing piece ever, still outperforming everything else each month, inspiring four additional blog posts as I created it.
Do Some Spontaneous Writing
Self doubt and judgement are our biggest inhibitors, and all of the above should help you get past them, but spontaneous writing is one of my favorite exercises.
One of my editors uses mystery writing sessions to show us that we can produce great pieces at the drop of a hat, without any prior planning, no matter how short or groundbreaking the piece ends up being. At an appointed time he will announce a prompt and everyone has one hour to write and then publish the post. No on knows what the topic will be ahead of time, everyone hits publish at the same time and it works every time.
Do this exercise with yourself, choosing a random prompt from a list, and racing a timer you set. Every time I do this exercise with folks they are amazed by their ability to put out something ready to share in the time given.
What are your favorite ways to beat writer’s block? Let me know me know in the comments.
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Sophie is a biologist and science writer who blogs about commercial spaceflight, space tourism, and space destinations.
She travels the USA and the world to bring space to her readers as editor of Cosmic Chicago with ChicagoNow – a blog network with the Chicago Tribune Media Group.
Currently, she is working on a book and off chasing rockets!
Connect with Sophie on her site Cosmic Chicago.