When it comes to creating and crafting a piece of content, more often than not the words will flow and before you know it you will have the base line of an article that you can begin to tweak and edit. But sometimes….nothing……Writers Block!
However, there are times when the blinking cursor on a blank page can cause the mind to go numb and all of a sudden, it is as if you have forgotten how to speak, yet alone type.
Writers Block can strike at any point. which is why its important we know how to beat it!
This is of course a more common occurrence than you might believe; yet those authors, bloggers and big names in your niche, never seem to suffer with that problem. Every week like clockwork, they manage to produce a piece of content that is not only on point and well worded, but makes you wonder how they do it week after week.
Well you might be surprised to learn that the answer to Writers Block is a rather simple one and as someone who has produced content week in week out on a varying number of topics, I have come up with five simple ways to beat that blinking cursor of death.
Before we can begin to beat the dreaded writers block we must first understand why it is happening. You see for the vast majority of content creators, writers block occurs when they sit down in front of a blank page and decide “right lets write an article”
This in its self is one of the major problems. There is not direction, no focus to their thought process. As far as they are concerned the task at hand is to write “an article or blog post”.
But what if the task at hand was to write an article or blog post on “the mounting homeless crisis in major European cities”. Well now we have a bit more purpose to our writing session and that leads us on to our first hack.
Beat Writers Block Hack #1: Prepare an idea in advance.
When it comes time to write that is exactly what it is “Time to Write”. It is not time to come up with a topic and bash the keyboard until we have come up with enough words on the page that slightly resembles an article.
So plan your writing time, know what topic you want to cover and have an outline of the points you want to cover before you sit down to write.
One of the best, and simplest ways to do this is merely with a pen and paper. Take some time the day before or however far in advance you can and spend five minutes writing everything you know about a selected topic. Don’t worry about editing it or thinking about it too much, simply write for five minutes.
Even if you get to the point that you cannot think of anything else keep writing, do not stop. While you may not be able to think of any valid points now, in 30 seconds you could have a brain wave and where you to stop short of that brain wave, you could be leaving out some invaluable ideas.
Once you have spent five minutes dumping everything you can think of about this topic onto the page, get up and walk away. Leave it there for while, before you come back to it, again this is all time dependent, but we recommend leaving it for at least 20 minutes before you go back and begin to look at what you have written.
Once you do go back to it, you can begin to pick out some of the key points that fit in well with your topic and begin to list them in a sequential order that you might like to cover them within your article.
Now, when it comes time to start writing, you have an outline of not only the topic, but the key points which you want to cover and I guarantee that will get you off to a flying start and will also help you stay on point and ensure you get your message across.
Of course as we have said before an Editorial Calendar is a great way not only to plan out your content and you can get your hands on our Editorial Calendar Template which will help you get on top of your content and help eradicate writers block forever!
Beat Writers Block Hack #2: Beg, Borrow and Steal
Of course I don’t really mean that you should steal, but as I am sure many of you are aware, the chances of you being the only one within your niche are slim to none, in fact I would argue that if you are the only one, then you need to stop and get out fast.
However, those other bloggers within your niche can be a great source of inspiration and I mean inspiration, not plagiarism. Why not go and check out what they are writing about?
Now this is where you need to be careful, we don’t suggest that you look at what they are doing and copy it. That would be disingenuous and while it may solve a short-term problem of creating an article, it could and probably will lead to bigger problems down the road.
Instead what you can do is read their thoughts on a topic that you might like to cover and use it as a reference point. So your article might then look something like this:
“ I recently read an article about X over at (website url) and I have to say it really got me thinking. In it the author spoke about (points made in article) and I couldn’t (agree/disagree) more, and here are the reasons why”
So from here you have told your audience that something has caught your attention on a selected topic and you want to give your take on it. So once again, we now have a solid starting point for an article and that blinking cursor goes away.
But always remember to sight the origins of the article and link to it, this will ensure complete transparency and ensure that you keep the original author happy and who knows, they may be willing to share your take on the topic with their audience, as you have with theirs.
Beat Writers Block Hack #3: Reach out to your tribe
Again this is a rather simple process that many content creators seem to over look. The premise is quite simple, yet effective and all you have to do is ask!
Send out a quick email to your subscribers or post an update on your social media platforms and ask your audience what they are struggling with when it comes to a topic.
If for example you are creating a piece of content about “Copy Writing” then ask your audience what they would like you to cover. So the email or the status update might look like this:
“Hey gang I am currently putting together a piece for you about “Copy Writing” and I want to make sure that it covers all the things you would like to know.
So tell me, what is it that you struggle with when it comes to copy writing”
This simple exercise will yield surprising results, you see one of the big things we as “authorities” within our niche forget, is that not everyone knows what we know.
So while we might assume that our readers know the basics, the fact of the matter is that many will not, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them what they want to know.
Then of course when it comes to promoting the piece, it is very easy for you to reach out once again and tell them it is now ready for them to read.
With your audience having had an active part in the collation of the main points of the article, they will feel as if they have been involved in the writing process and that the article was written for them and that can only help endear you to your audience, after all you took the time to ask them what they wanted to know and delivered.
Beat Writers Block Hack #4: Procrasta-cleaning
This may sound like an odd one, yet it is something that I have found has worked time and time again. Quite often when it comes time to sit down in front of the computer and write my mind will go blank and those creative juices that I have come to rely on fail to materialise.
So what do I do when this happens, I get up and clean.
Yes you read that right, I clean. You see there is something about getting up and doing a task that needs to be done that primes the brain to get into work mode, and when that happens you will be surprised to find that when you return to the computer, the juices start to flow and the words begin to find their way onto the page.
I don’t claim to fully understand exactly how it works, yet it would seem that I am not the only one who finds this method of brain hacking useful, just ask Sam Nordberg who was a recent guest on the Content Academy Podcast, she too is familiar with this practice.
So the next time you sit down to write or create and you just can’t seem to get going, turn off the computer, stand up, leave the room and start to clean, you will be amazed at what just ten minutes of cleaning can do for your creativity.
Beat Writers Block Hack #5: Ritual and Routine
The final of our five steps to defeating writers block is one that some of the most successful writers and entrepreneurs use and it is decidedly simple. They have all developed a ritual or a routine.
Quite often we have heard from many online business experts that a big change in their ability to not only get more work done, but the ease at which it was being done, came once they developed a habit or routine for writing.
Most authors will tell you that they write everyday and now have their brain trained to be able to do so with a minimal amount of effort and it no longer feels like a chore. Some will have a set time period, others will use a word count, but the idea is the same. They all have a goal and routine that they go through when it comes to creating content.
What do I do?
Well I like to get my writing done early in the morning while my brain is power is at its optimum, even as I am writing this it is 9am and I am sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee to my left and the morning news on in the background and I do this every morning that I have scheduled to write.
Does it work?
Well the answer has to be yes, at least for me it does anyway!
One final thing to mention is that when it comes to creating content or working on your business, a place to work is almost as important as how long you work. For some business owners and start-ups in particular that workspace is hard to come by, as many will start from home.
I remember back in the early days spending hours sitting at my kitchen table trying to get work done, with family life going on around me and constantly being distracted by questions, phone calls, knocks at the door or calls of “Daddy, daddy, I can’t find my doll”. However that all changed once I converted my spare room into an office.
Now I have somewhere to go that is out of the way, where I can close the door and not only do my family understand that when I am in there and the door is closed that I am working, but for me mentally I now have a place to work. I have trained myself to realise that when it is time to work, I go into the office, close the door, plug in and do what needs to be done.
This has had an unprecedented impact on my work and while some of you reading this will be thinking that, yeah that’s all well and good, but I don’t have the space for an office, I think you are missing the objective, the office is not the point. It is having a place to go to work. Somewhere separate, where the brain can kick in and realise that “oh we are here, so it must be time to work”.
This can be a coffee shop, a library, or even a small desk in the corner of the bedroom, but once you begin to define that area as a work area, it will help you get into “work mode” much quicker and that will ultimately help you get to it and defeat that dreaded writers block.
So there you have it five exercises that can help you get rid of that dreaded blinking cursor on the blank page. Next time you find yourself stuck for ideas, try one and let us know how you got on with it.
Of course I am sure there are plenty of other ways in which you like to defeat writers block and what works for one person my not work for another, so leave a comment below with your top tips to defeat writers block and hopefully we can help some people out along the way.