Five Quick Cures for Writer’s Block

Posted on: July 28, 2014 by: DedePerkins

Blue pencil knot

It’s time to write a new blog post, content for your website, or copy for your latest ad, but instead of writing, you’re staring at your screen or notebook page with a blank mind and a clenched jaw. You’ve got nothing. Not a single word comes to mind except the thought that you really, really don’t want to be doing this. What to do? Take a deep breath and try one of the following tried and true cures for writer’s block.

Cure #1 Write the first thing that comes to mind, even if it’s an expletive. It’s totally okay to be off-topic, boring, silly, or a little nuts. Give yourself permission to write poorly. Don’t worry about sentence structure or grammar. Now write the second thing that comes to mind. And the third. The act of writing is freeing, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way.

Cure #2 If you’re staring at a blank computer screen, shut it down. Get a notebook and pen or pencil, or even a pink sharpie if that distracts and pleases your inner non-writer. Find a comfy chair and relax. Take a deep breath and write the first thing that comes to mind per the instructions in Cure #1. If you’re tired of sitting and you have a mounted white board or an easel with a big pad of paper, stand up and start writing. Write on a napkin or the back of an envelope if you prefer. The idea is to relax, make this writing thing no big deal. Trick the part of you that doesn’t want to write so that the part of you that does can get to work.

Cure #3 Set a timer for 5 minutes and brainstorm first lines until the buzzer sounds. If one of your lines inspires you to keep writing, go for it. If not, after 5 minutes of writing first lines, stand up and walk around. Give yourself 10 minutes to do something you like and then come back to your writing project. Set the timer for 5 minutes and repeat the process until you’ve reached your writing goal (# of words, # of pages, # of articles). Sometimes breaking big projects into little pieces is all it takes to get them completed.

Cure #4 Forget the article or website content, write a letter to your favorite client or customer. Imagine he or she has a question about your topic and then answer that question. Consider other questions your customer or client may have and answer them. The answers to those questions may form the basis of a new blog post, a page of your website, and at the very least, should get you writing. When it’s comfortable, pivot and start writing the project on your to-do list.

Cure #5 Instead of pressuring yourself to write in a certain tone – authoritative, engaging, edgy, whatever – give yourself permission to just “talk” through your keyboard, pencil or pen. When you’re finished, put the piece aside for a day or two. When you reread, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that your tone came through after all. If not, at least you’ll have a piece to edit rather than having to start from scratch

My timer just went off so that’s it for now. Hope one of these techniques helps jumpstart your writing. If not, I hate to say it (okay, I don’t hate it that much), consider saving yourself the time and aggravation by hiring a professional copywriter to write your content.

P.S. These techniques work for any type of writing, even fiction!

Dede Perkins has over 25 years of writing, branding and marketing experience with businesses and non-profit organizations. When she’s not writing for her clients, she likes to work on her novels-in-progress or read/critique/chat with her fellow writing group members. #writinggeek #nerdwriter

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