Writing Tips: Don’t Make a Big Thing Out of Writer’s Block

You know that feeling. You check your word count and you still have several hundred words to go before you can finish an article. Or you’re trying to write a report for school, and you just can’t find the next sentence. It’s called writer’s block. You might have seen an exaggerated version in The Shining or Barton Fink. The important thing to remember is that writer’s block happens, but it’s usually not the end of the world.

One trick that helps me avoid writer’s block in the middle of writing a blog post is to brainstorm a list of the main points that I want to make. The longer the list that I can come up with, the better. For the sake of this article, for example, I thought of the following tricks that I use to get around that blocked feeling: I usually step back from the problem, do something else for a little while, try to relax, and maybe write a different part of the piece out of order – to give me a direction. That’s only four main points, but I knew I’d be expounding on each one in detail.

Stepping back from the problem is a major help. Sometimes you can sit there staring at the blinking cursor or the empty page for so long that you just dig yourself a deeper hole of despair. Instead, let your subconscious chew on the problem. Go do something else for a little while, and make sure it’s something that has nothing at all to do with writing. Then come back with fresh eyes and see what you can write.

Ernest Hemingway used to say that he always called it quits after a day of writing when he knew how he was going to start again the next day. That’s a great idea if you’re writing a novel, but if you’re on a deadline, his advice is just not that practical.

Relaxation to the rescue. When challenged, I find it helps to step away completely and spend five or ten minutes with a meditation app. Some writers find reprieve from taking CBD oil (there are many places these days where you can find CBD oil for sale). Find your solution to get you over the psychological hump of writer’s block so you can keep writing.

Another trick I use is to switch back and forth between writing with a pen and paper and typing on a computer. I know that many digital nomads envision the minimalism of being able to write with nothing but their laptop, but a spiral notebook and a pen don’t take up that much room in your bag, do they? And studies have shown that writing by hand gets your creative juices flowing more than typing on a computer keyboard. Try it out sometime if you don’t believe me. Generally, I write about three-quarters of a first draft of any blog post by hand, and then I type it into a Google Doc. Once I’ve done that I can set the word count to display while I’m typing, and I complete the article in a relatively short amount of time. 

The poet Rakim said, “If you know where you’re going, you can always start from there and work your way back.” If I’m working on a blog post and I don’t know how I’m going to find the words that get me from where I am to the finish line, I try to write the last paragraph and get it out of the way. This could be a summary paragraph that ties the article together. In the case of this article – the very one that you’re reading right now – I wrote this paragraph right after I wrote the first one. Once I had a beginning and an end, the middle became a lot easier to write. And you see? I finished it!

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