Content Marketing Hack: 5 Tips For Dealing With Writer’s Block

November 8, 2013 Shanna Mallon

If you’re like most writers, you know what it’s like to stare at an empty page, wishing for words to come. Everybody faces writer’s block from time to time, but the difference between those who get past it and those who quit is this: knowing what to do when you’re stuck. With that in mind, here are a few secrets to pushing through a lack of inspiration. Follow these tips the next time you’re blocked!

Keep a Running List of Topics

According to Mark Twain, “The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” When it comes to writer’s block, the first task is coming up with topics. Writing tomorrow’s blog post is ten times easier when you’ve come up with 20 topic ideas today. So make it a habit to jot down ideas when they hit you—wherever you are, whatever you’re working on—and you’ll have ideas when you need them. If you’re not the type to generate ideas on the go, budget time specifically for brainstorming ideas.

Set a Routine

If you wait for inspiration to hit you over the head, you could be waiting a while. Be instead like William Faulkner, who said, “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.” Set a specific routine for forcing yourself to write, and stick to that discipline, whether or not you feel like it.

Change Your Environment

While keeping a routine is important, mixing up aspects of that routine is, too. When you start to feel like you’re in a rut, change your work environment. Take your computer to a new coffee shop, or move your writing outside to the backyard. Light a candle, put on mood music, wear more comfortable clothing, or switch chairs. Simply switching up your environment may invite inspiration.

Seek Out Inspiration Elsewhere

Some of the best ideas come when you’re away from your computer screen. So go for a run, meet a friend for coffee, bake something, make something, or try any another non-writing activity to get your creative juices flowing. You might be surprised how stepping away from your work ends up fueling it.

Try an App

Proof that there is truly an app for everything, today’s mobile world is filled with apps that cater specifically to writers who are stumped. Try one of the following:

  • Prompts: For $2.99, Prompts gives you more than 1,000 starting lines and writing prompts, along with writing reminders and more.
  • Evernote: Track that running list of topics you’re building with Evernote, an easy, free, on-the-go way to organize everything. Evernote integrates seamlessly with your laptop, tablet, and smartphone too, so when you jot down an idea on the train that morning, it’s there waiting for you when you log into your laptop that night.
  • SelfControl: Set aside five minutes to do nothing but come up with topic ideas or to freewrite, and keep yourself accountable while you do with the free Mac app SelfControl. Simply punch in your time limit (24 hours or less) and set the timer where you can see it.

Your Thoughts

What inspiration-seeking tactics do you employ to get your creative juices flowing? Did you find this list helpful?

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About the Author

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web design firm providing specialized SEO, Web development, and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.

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