The worst thing that can happen to a blogger or a professional writer is to get into that mood—the one that stops the writer, for some reason, from putting down his or her ideas onto paper, or Microsoft Word to get in touch with modern-age technology. What is normally referred to as a “writer’s block” may have a variety of causes; the author may simply be out of ideas. Those of us who do this for a living and have to write several articles per day will, sooner or later, find out that creativity’s pool in our minds wasn’t built on a bottomless pit. Writing four or five articles a day, or one new chapter of a book may come easy at first. In the long run, it will get more and more difficult because coming up with new ideas on the same topic requires a great deal of ingenuity, dedication and self-confidence as a writer. This brings us to the second cause for a writer’s block. Sometimes the author may have plenty of ideas to write about and possess enough creativity to forge even five or ten articles out of those initial concepts. A writer’s block can occur under these cicumstances too when there is a lack of motivation or enthusiasm for the job at hand. The reasons for the second type of writer’s block are usually psychological. They may stem from boredom, fatigue or a lack of self-confidence, which can be caused from a previous job being rejected or harshly criticized by the audience. In both cases, there are a few tips that can help authors, bloggers and aspiring novelists alike to get the best from their time and produce the possible highest quality work.
You are sitting on your PC connected to the Internet while writing your book or article. Although the World Wide Web can be an infinite source of information and additional resources that help you out enhancing the quality and accuracy of your writings, I have found out that the best way to overcome a writer’s block is to turn off the Internet completely. If possible, buy a second computer or laptop and use that one to write your articles. Facebook, email, YouTube, websites and whatever else are too much of a temptation when you are sitting frustrated in front of a computer. If you can’t turn off completely your Internet connection, exit Outlook and Firefox or whatever mail and browser clients you use, and make it a point to not “check them out” until you have finished writing. Don’t look for references, spelling errors, idioms and other resources while you are writing. Instead, write down your article in the best way you can, and don’t stop until you have completed the introduction, body and conclusion. Only after the article is one solid piece, turn on your browser and search for additional information, quotes and technical data to complement it. If possible turn off your mobile phone and ask your relatives or house mates to avoid interrupting you while you are writing. This tip can be summarized as follows: once you start writing, don’t stop for any reason. Even if you are not sure about what you’re doing, just write and don’t stop writing. In the worst case, you will end up with a bunch of nonsense on your computer screen, but that can be revised and refined later into a great article.
2. Start Writing
When you are suffering from a writer’s block, starting an article can be the most traumatizing part of the job. For me, it is. Once I start writing, things become a lot easier, but opening up Microsoft Word and writing the title and the first two or three lines of the article can be quite stressful. I often stare at the screen for an hour and sometimes even two, when I feel completely blocked as a writer. The best way to overcome this problem is to proceed as follows:
- Imagine yourself writing the article and the exact words that you will use for the first paragraph before you go to sleep, the day before you plan to produce your piece. You can also do this in the morning while having breakfast or preparing yourself for the day. My old readers from the Money Earning Sites Blog will remember the many jokes I used to make to that regard on the old site. 🙂
- Set a time when you want to start writing your article and stick to it. For example, decide to start working at 10:00am and stick to your schedule. Make sure you have the title typed-up in your word processor by 10:00am and not by 10:01am.
Once you have written down your first few sentences, things will become a lot easier. Don’t play the part of a child who has to do his homework and does everything, including playing baseball, video games, watching TV, etc. before finally starting to work. Be a responsible adult and watch over yourself just like our parents used to do when we were young kids. Employers and editors tend to be a lot less understanding than teachers when the dog eats our work!
This may sound like a contradiction to what I stated above, but it helps when your writer’s block is the result of a lack of creativity. Do not watch TV, while writing, of course. Instead do it during your free time, the day before you plan to write the article. It may inspire you to create some exceptional content. Make sure you watch some program that will shake you up, in other words one that will make you stick to the TV screen and yell when they go for commercials. Even if you plan to write a business article such as this one, a good TV show can still do the trick. I will give you an example, which you shouldn’t read if you haven’t watched the finale of Dexter. In the last episode of the show, all the people who have murdered someone end up either in jail or dead. The death that impressed me the most was Debra’s. At the beginning of the show, she was an honest, trusted and upright member of the Miami police. By season six she was promoted to lieutenant despite the fact that she was only a detective, as a reward her heroism. Her downfall began on season seven when she discovered that her brother was a serial killer and decided to help him conceal his double life. By the end of that season, she turned into a murderer herself and killed her boss Captain La Guerta to protect Dexter. In season eight, she became suicidal, but, thanks to the help of a (somewhat crazy) psychologist, she came back to her senses, and, by the end of the show, she was ready to begin a new life after finally convincing her brother to quit his murderous hobby. However, she got killed by Dexter’s final victim, a few moments after he decided to spare him and have him arrested.
OK, how can we turn this mess into a business article? Do you feel that it’s an impossible task? You would be wrong. Let’s focus on ethics. The morale of Dexter’s story is that crime doesn’t pay, and, once one lets one’s inner instincts take the upper hand on one’s reason, one is doomed to face the consequences of that choice. This can be applied to business too. How about an article that deals with selling guru products (useless IM info products) to people who are in need of money to feed their families and who don’t have enough experience to distinguish a valid product from a hoax. Can they get away with that? Can they sleep at night? What effect does engaging in such a business have on their self-esteem? Do they live in the delusion that, since the folks who buy their rubbish are stupid enough to pay for it, then they deserve it? Can they really become rich with this sort of stuff? Again, thinking about Debra’s story: What are their motives for promoting such a shady business? In Debra’s case she committed those crimes because she became sexually attracted to her own brother. Hopefully the gurus have less perverted motivations. Do they believe that they can break the rules to get a capital to work with and then convert into honest marketers? If they do, will they get caught like Dexter? These are just a few ideas that came into my head in four minutes from a show that I watched on TV yesterday and that has absolutely nothing to do with Internet Marketing. As you see, it works! And if you have enough imagination, any show can become a source of inspiration for any kind of article or book.
4. Post on Forums and Comment on Blogs
These days, Many people post on forums and blogs to get links from as many sites as possible. Most marketers are aware that even no-follow links, which Google says have no effect on the SERPs of a Web page, are valuable and can make the difference between page ten and page one of Google, provided that the site has a good domain authority. If you want to learn more about this, check out this article here. My point is that these comments are posted with the aim of sneaking in links on as many domains as possible; they usually add little or no value to the conversation. What you need to do is find an interesting article or forum topic about a subject that you want to write about. Read it carefully, think about it and post your perspective on the article that will hopefully generate a conversation. Use the conversation as a source inspiration to get new ideas for your own article.
For example, a while ago I wanted to write an article on Penguin, the Google algorithm that penalizes websites for spammy backlinks. I found an article that discussed the subject in an almost paranoid way. The author advised his readers to be careful with any link they put on their site, and to not even think about linking to a website unless it has a domain authority of 40 or so. I challenged his view in a comment, and, during the conversation that followed, we started discussing other motives other than bad links which may cause a website to lose its rank. We ended up talking about links that are lost in a most natural way, such as being pushed off from a high PR page by newer content. The conversation resulted in my (as yet, unpublished) article about lost links and ways in which an efficient SEO should deal with them.
This is an awesome method to get inspired to write some great content!
5. Just Live Your Life
Go hiking, go to clubs, interact with people, get involved in politics, help out others…all of these can enrich you as a human being, but they can also bring in the experience you need to write amazing content for your blog, and, even more so, for a novel or fiction. Even a negative experience can help you out create a masterpiece. By staying indoors, you will not help out your writer’s block. The frustration will likely increase and you will start feeling depressed and doubtful about your skills. Go out and relax; enjoy life even if you don’t get directly inspired, this will put you in the right state of mind to focus back on your work once you’re at your keyboard again.
Some time ago, as the readers of my blog may already know, I realized how aggressive people can become when they are forced to face an inconvenient truth. Suppose I want to write an article about web hosting. There it goes! I can focus on how many neophyte webmasters expect to have a fully-featured, truly-unlimited hosting account for a few bucks, and then get aggressive and spiteful when they are told that this is just not possible. Why do they react like that? Is the way in which modern webhosts advertise their services to blame? How can we explain this in a way they may understand it without alienating them as possible customers? etc. As you see, it is very easy!
6. Do Yoga, Meditation and Hypnosis
This will help if your writer’s block is caused by stress and a diminished self-esteem of yourself as a writer. All three of these can make you relax and put things into the right perspective. Staring at the computer for days or weeks seeking inspiration everywhere without never taking a break will not help you. You need to take care of your body, as well as your psychological well-being in order to be a productive writer, who creates effective pieces.
Another recreational activity that may help is joining groups of other writers, both on Facebook or in real life. Discussing your issues with others can make you look at a problem from a whole new point of view. Sometimes, it suffices to take a break and do something (other than writing) that brings a smile onto your face. Spending some time with your significant other or your kids may be enough to bring back that sparkle of inspiration. In short, do things that make you feel good about yourself.
I bet an arm and a leg that if you follow these six neat tips you will overcome your block and start writing again. If not, drop a comment below and talk about it with us! Incidentally you would be following tip number four. If you have more tips on how to overcome writer’s block, or, if you disagree with any of the ones I suggested, don’t hesitate to post too.