When you start blogging, ideas and words flow like magic. After all, you’re probably blogging about something you’ve found fascinating for months or years, and you have lots to say about it. But sooner or later, the words slow to a trickle, and the blank page becomes more intimidating than exciting. When this happens, you need to learn how to overcome writer’s block.
📚 In this guide, I’ll share some of the best strategies for how to overcome writer’s block that I’ve used myself, from understanding the source of your writer’s block to creating a reward system.
Let’s get you back on the road to writing! ✍️
How to overcome writer’s block: 10 key strategies 📈
Consider the source of your writer’s block
Build a creative routine
Move to a new space
Consider background noise
Take inspiration from other blogs
Work on multiple projects
Unplug from the internet
Switch to a different writing tool
Plan a reward for when you finish
1. Consider the source of your writer’s block 🔏
Before you start radically altering your creative processes, it’s important to understand that “writer’s block” is rarely the core problem. More often, it’s a symptom of something else.
Sometimes that something else can be dealt with by using one of the tips on this list. For example, if you feel like you’ve talked about everything related to your topic, you might be able to solve that with our tip about finding sources of inspiration in other media.
Other times, however, writer’s block is caused by a much deeper problem like burnout or depression. In these cases, you may need more extreme interventions, like a month off and/or therapy.
When I’m suffering from writer’s block, I like to do a freewriting journaling exercise. I sit down with a notebook and pen (you can journal on your phone if you prefer digital mediums), set a timer for five to ten minutes, and write about my writer’s block. By the end of the exercise, I usually know what the root cause is.
If you’ve found that your writer’s block is caused by depression or burnout, please seek therapy or other professional help. If the problem is more superficial, explore this list of tips on how to overcome writer’s block to find something that works for you.
2. Build a creative routine ⌚️
My next suggestion for how to overcome writer’s block is to build a creative routine.
A routine is a great way to signal to your brain that it’s time to do something. For example, the nighttime routine of changing into pajamas and brushing your teeth tells your brain it’s time to go to bed.
👉 You can also build a routine that tells your brain it’s time to be creative. For example, you might:
Schedule your writing sessions at the same time every day. If you don’t have time for writing every day, you can schedule a writing session at the same time every week, such as 1-3 PM every Sunday
Write in the same place every day
Use the same device and/or software for every writing session
Do a specific set of stretches and/or exercises before every writing session
The key to success with these routines is to implement them consistently over a period of several weeks. Over time, your brain will come to correlate these practices with writing time, making it easier to get into a creative headspace.
3. Move to a new space 🌌
Routine is a great tool for reducing how often writer’s block happens, but it takes several weeks to build one and sometimes you need a quicker fix. Moreover, if you maintain the exact same routine for months or years at a time, you’re not giving your brain the novelty it needs to build the new pathways that are essential to learning and creativity.
This isn’t just my opinion, either; research shows that novelty helps you learn better. And moving to a new workspace, such as a coffee shop or a public library, is a great way to get that novelty. You may even find specific elements of the new space inherently inspiring. For example, if you write a fitness blog and decide to spend a day writing in a park where people are playing Frisbee, you might be inspired to write about its merits as a form of exercise.
You don’t necessarily have to leave your home to take advantage of this tip, either. Something as simple as moving from the kitchen table to your living room, or from your home office to your kitchen table, can give your brain the change it needs to restart the creative gears.
4. Consider background noise 🚨
Science has shown that a certain level of background noise – similar to what you might hear in the coffee shop I mentioned in the last tip – can stimulate concentration and creativity .
👉 There are a few types of background noise you can experiment with:
Familiar and/or low-intensity TV shows like sitcoms
Music, especially music without lyrics
White noise machines
You may even find that you prefer different types of background noise for different tasks. For example, I like to play conversational podcasts when I write blog posts, but I switch to music (often movie soundtracks) when writing fiction.
5. Take inspiration from other blogs (or other media) 💡
An important part of how to overcome writer’s block is to make space in your life for inspiration, and one of the best ways to get inspired is to learn about your topic. The more you learn, the more you’ll find yourself motivated to pass that knowledge on to your readers.
The most obvious way to do this is to subscribe to top-quality blogs in your niche. This will give you a steady stream of new lessons delivered directly to your inbox. And you can find the right blogs to follow easily with lists like our collections of the best sustainability blogs, the best UX blogs, the best craft blogs, and so on.
Blogs aren’t the only place to find inspiration, though. You can look for inspiration in books, documentaries, and even fictional movies or TV shows that are relevant to your topic. You can even find inspiration from media that isn’t immediately related to your topic – after all, everything is connected.
6. Work on multiple projects 🧑💻
An important thing to understand when you’re learning how to overcome writer’s block is that writer’s block doesn’t always mean you can’t write anything at all. In fact, writer’s block is often a creative block on a specific project. When this happens, it’s helpful to have other projects you can switch to.
👉 This is one of my favorite methods for overcoming writer’s block for a few reasons:
Switching projects gives you a break from the frustration of trying to focus on something that isn’t working for you in this moment. Moreover, if you switch projects instead of staring anxiously at a blank page, you can finish your writing session with a sense of accomplishment. This helps combat the sense of dread you can start to feel about writing if you’ve been blocked for a while.
If you have multiple projects in various stages of completion, e.g., one in the drafting stage and one in the editing stage, you can work on them when you’re in the right headspace for a specific part of the writing process. For example, sometimes I don’t have the creative energy to work on a whole new draft, but I do have the energy to proofread something.
This technique can help you make sure you always have something to publish on your blog. For example, if you have one blog post that requires weeks of research, you can alternate between working on that research and drafting less intensive posts to schedule while you’re working on the bigger project.
With all of that said, you do want to limit the number of projects you’re working on at any given time. Research shows that having more than five projects on the go can harm productivity . Your limit might be different, too, especially if you have a full-time job, children, or other significant life duties, so it’s worth experimenting to find your own ideal project number.
7. Unplug from the internet 🛑
It’s no secret that the internet, especially social media, can be incredibly distracting. Scrolling can also ruin your mood if you encounter bad news, making it difficult to do anything, even non-creative tasks. This makes unplugging from the internet a powerful way to reclaim your mental space and encourage focused creative work.
You can do this by literally unplugging a desktop computer from the internet or turning off the wifi on your laptop and/or phone. Or, if you don’t have the discipline to stop yourself from turning the internet back on before you’re done, you can restrict your internet with an app like Freedom.
Need internet access to do research for your articles? You can use a tool like AppBlock to specifically block social media during your writing sessions.
8. Switch to a different writing tool 🧰
Like moving to a new space, switching to a different writing tool can be a way to give your brain the novelty it craves.
Some writing tools also come with specific advantages. For example, an AlphaSmart removes distractions. There’s no internet, and the small amount of text visible on the screen reduces your ability to get distracted by the urge to edit, forcing you to focus on drafting.
Writing by hand is also powerful because it activates your brain in different ways , making both learning and creativity easier. Yes, you’ll have to type it up after, but at least you’ll have something to type up!
9. Use mindmapping 🤯
Mindmaps are visual tools for capturing your thoughts on a specific subject. You write a subject in the center of a page, then create branches linking it to sub-topics, then create more branches linking relevant ideas to those sub-topics, and so on.
👉 Here’s an example of what a mindmap looks like:
You can create mindmaps using pen and paper or, if you prefer digital, through a tool like MindMeister.
10. Plan a reward for when you finish 🏆
My final tip on how to overcome writer’s block is to reward yourself at the end of a tough writing session and/or the end of a project.
👉 In fact, I like to have tiered rewards for different writing milestones:
After my writing session, I get to cuddle one of my cats for half an hour
When I complete a blog post, I get to watch something fun
When I reach the halfway point in a long-form project like a novel, I buy myself a nice treat – sometimes food, but more often a book I want to read
When I finish a long-form project like a novel, I throw myself a little party with drinks and good food
For some people, the sense of accomplishment is enough to keep them motivated, but for me, this reward system is essential for helping me look forward to the end of a writing session or project.
Final thoughts on how to overcome writer’s block 🏁
Something I like to say is, “there are as many ways to write as there are writers.” In a similar vein, there are as many ways to overcome writer’s block as there are content creators.
So if the first tip in this guide on how to overcome writer’s block doesn’t help you, try the next one, then the next one, then the next one. If you keep trying, you’ll eventually find something that works for you.
Need more help getting inspired? Check out our list of 21 unique blog post ideas to help skyrocket your blog!
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