Are you suffering from writer’s block? Most professional writers and even non-writers, struggle with finding ideas at some point in their career.
Writer’s block is annoying enough when you’re not a professional writer. But if you depend on writing for your livelihood, it’s more than annoying. It can be a career-breaker.
Writers block (or creative block) doesn’t have to slow you down. You can overcome it.
In my experience writer’s block usually means one of several things:
- You’re stuck. You don’t know what to say next. You may be in the middle of a project or trying to get started. It doesn’t matter. You have no ideas.
- You don’t feel like writing. No matter what words you put down, they don’t seem to work.
Both types of writer’s block can be equally frustrating if you don’t know how to deal with them.
In this post, I’ll tackle each of these problems. Then I’ll share some more resources to help you overcome writer’s block. For even more types of writer’s block and ideas on how to fix them, review my earlier post on Creative Block.
This post is part of my series on What Is the Worst Problem Freelance Writers Face?
What to Do When You’re Out of Ideas
When you start freelance writing it’s perfectly normal to think you’ll never run out of ideas. There are so many things to write about. And you feel so strongly about your niche. You just know that writer’s block will never happen to you.
And then it does.
You’ll know it’s hit when you can’t think of anything to write about that you haven’t already talked about. Many freelance writers quit at this point. It doesn’t have to be that way.
If it seems like you’re out of ideas, it helps to change your idea generation strategy. There are lots of places to look for writing inspiration. Here are three resources to help you get started:
- Never Run Out of Blog Post Ideas: 25 Content Marketing Resources from Kristi Hines on KristiHines. Kristi has created a great list of 25 resources you can turn to for blogging ideas and inspiration. Even if you don’t have writer’s block right now, it’s worth bookmarking this list for later.
- Never Run Out of Blog Post Ideas: 25 Content Marketing Resources from Digital Marketer via Maddie Grant on Social Media Today. This infographic takes a different approach. It lists over 50 different types of posts you can create under eight categories, such as Be Useful and Be Human.
- The Easiest Way Ever to Beat Writer’s Block
from Gretchen Rubin on Inc. This method is simple, yet effective. Yet I never would have thought of it on my own. Gretchen shares a writing tip from Annie Dillard. You’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself.
Why Don’t You Feel Like Writing?
The other cause of writer’s block is, in my opinion, harder to deal with. That’s because not feeling like writing can sometimes signal a more serious problem such as depression or illness. Especially when you’re a writer.
Important note: If you have continuing problems, for example a depression that won’t go away no matter what you do, you may need to seek professional medical advice.
Sometimes if you don’t feel like writing it just means it’s time to take a break, though. This can be as simple as taking an hour off, or it may mean you’re ready for a vacation. If a shorter break doesn’t work, try taking a few does off.
Not feeling like writing can also mean it’s time for a change. Maybe you need to change niches. Or maybe you need to tackle a different type of writing-related position. That’s one of the beauties of freelance writing–you can change the type of projects you work on.
Here are two more resources on what could be causing your writer’s block:
- 6 Reasons You’re Struggling to Overcome Writer’s Block from Jes Gonzalez at The Write Life. Jess lists a variety of reasons for writer’s block, including pressure and being too hard on yourself.
- How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 14 Tricks That Work from Jeff Goines at Goins, Writer. Jeff identifies several common causes of writer’s block, including perfectionism and timing.
Since stress can also be a cause of writer’s block, take a look at my earlier post on handling stress, http://www.writingthoughts.com/how-stressful-is-freelance-writing/#more-4584.
A key point to remember about writer’s block is that it’s rarely permanent. If you can figure out how to address the cause, you can usually move past it.
What do you do when you’re struggling with writer’s block? Share your tips and stories in the comments.