3 Super Actionable Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block
A strategy you can apply right now to get back into the flow after a writing slump.
The simple strategy that helped me write 300+ articles in 8 months.
Have you ever sat down to write, stared at a blank screen for hours, then just given up?
Have you felt demotivated, feeling that nothing you ever write is going to be good enough, so why even bother
Have you spent days and weeks without writing, feeling guilty about not writing, and feeling bad about yourself for something outside of your control?
Welcome to writer’s block, my dear friend. Every writer has faced it. And every writer hates it. But how to truly overcome it to the extent that you stop believing it even exists?
“Writer’s block is a phony, made-up BS excuse for not doing your work.”
— Jerry Seinfeld
I have a three-step strategy I’ve been following that has allowed me to write 300+ articles in the past 8 months. This isn’t magic or some secret superpower. I have a full-time job and a part-time Ph.D. in civil engineering. Despite that, I’ve managed to keep up this writing streak. And the only reason I’ve come so far is this super actionable strategy I’m going to discuss in this article.
Watch the more candid version in video format here:
1. Never Run Out of Ideas
As I’ve already mentioned in a previous article, idea generation is the first step towards building a writing habit. Here’s how you can go about becoming an Idea Machine (a concept I learned from James Altucher):
- Take a journal and a pen and set aside a fixed time each day.
- Write ten possible article ideas.
- Repeat every day without fail.
The important part here is that these 10 ideas don’t have to be something you’re definitely going to write about someday. It can be any random idea that suddenly piqued your interest.
When you take away the pressure of having to produce value all the time, your brain gets into that zone where it can churn out ideas without any added effort.
Another important point here is consistency. Even if you forget to carry your idea journal while traveling or feel too exhausted to put pen to paper, send yourself a voice note on WhatsApp. Daily ideation is a wonderful way to exercise the “idea muscle” in your brain.
Don’t let excuses like “I’m too tired today” get the better of you.
2. Outline Before You Write
If you keep writing 10 ideas every day for 50 days, you’ll have a journal filled with 500 possible article ideas. That’s a shit ton of backlog to fall back upon on the days you feel assailed by Writer’s Block.
On such days, leaf through your idea journal and pick the idea that speaks the loudest to your soul. Then, write it again on a fresh page. This simple exercise will reinforce the idea in your head and help your brain adjust to the fact that this is all it’s going to be thinking about for the next few hours.
Then, flesh out the idea into simple sub-ideas. These sub-ideas can act as section headers when you write your article. They will help you pre-determine the flow of your story, so you don’t get lost half-way through. They’ll also make sure your brain doesn’t wander even if you fall into the rabbit hole of too much research.
3. Just START!
Clear away any distractions. Keep your phone on Zen mode and log out of all social media profiles on your computer, so you don’t feel to keep checking them from time to time.
Then, no matter how much your brain protests, just start writing. After a few hundred words, you’ll find yourself immersed in your story. All it takes is that first push, those first 200 words, and your writer’s block will be forgotten.
Of course, to get here, the first two steps are important. Your idea journal and the outlined article will help you stay on track.
“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘’just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”
— Napoleon Hill
Writer’s Block is perhaps the most dreaded foe of all writers. And that’s why it’s so important to equip yourself with the necessary tools to fight it. Here’s the strategy that has worked like magic for me so far:
- Maintain an idea journal where you write ten ideas each day. Do this consistently without fail.
- Before you sit to write, leaf through your idea journal and pick the idea that speaks the loudest to your soul. Flesh it out and write an outline adding as many sub-headings as needed.
- Clear away all distractions and just write. Often, the first step is always the hardest.
But you’re a writer. You are stronger than your excuses. You can do this. With these steps in your arsenal, you can beat writer’s block. I believe in you.
I create content in many different forms related to self-improvement, body-positivity, and feminism on several other platforms. Join my email list to make sure you don’t miss out on anything new.