What Is Writer’s Block? A Simple Guide To Overcoming Creative Lapses9 min read

You want to write, but you can’t seem to get those words flowing.

Your brain is too cluttered to create new content.

It is a terrible feeling and can hold a person back from finishing their work.

Content marketing professionals often come across such scenarios in their day-to-day writing tasks. But it is nothing to be afraid of.

If you’re someone like me who sits down at the computer and can’t seem to get anything done, this blog is for you.

I’m going to give you a deep dive into this terrible phenomenon of creative lapse. Also, I will explain even the tiniest potatoes and help you with tips to overcome them (or at least, mitigate them to an extent).

What Is Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is a condition in which a writer is unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with his/her writing.

It is usually a temporary condition, lasting for a few minutes or a day or two. But it becomes a long-term problem if not done anything about it the right way at the right time.

Fact: Austrian psychiatrist, Dr. Edmund Bergler coined the term "Writer's Block" in 1947.

What Are the Causes of Writer’s Block?

While many associate writer’s blocks with procrastination, many believe it to be common among writers (even professional writers with years and years of experience).

But irrespective of anything that people believe, the problem is real.

Now, before we get down on how to deal with writer’s block, let’s start by befriending writer’s block.

How do we do that?

By recognizing it as a challenge and determining what causes writer’s block.

Here are some of the main reasons for this phenomenon:

Idea crunch

Personally, this is one of the prime reasons in my case. I often stumble upon writer’s block because I feel I will never have another good idea again. And as result, I go in circles, trying to figure out what and how to write. 

Overwhelmingness

This is the complete opposite of the previous cause. Sometimes, we gather and list so many ideas that we get overwhelmed.

Not just that. The amount of time and effort it takes to decide on an idea/topic is enough to tire us and leads to writing nothing.

Exhaustion

You have jobs to work, bills to pay, kids to raise, and thousands of decisions to make. And after all of it, when we find time to sit at the desk, it is normal to not have the energy to write.

Be it mental or physical, exhaustion can lead to burnout and eventually lead to writer’s block.

Anxiety

Lately, you have spent a lot of time reading various forms of writing. Or, maybe you have been with a lot of other successful writers.

And when you get back to your own work, the feeling of not being good enough hits you hard.

You start to self-doubt and mull over it for hours or days.

Perfectionism

Every writer wants his/her content piece to be perfect. They write, read it again, and if they don’t like it, they start editing it. And then it becomes a vicious loop, you keep on doing the same thing over and over again.

How to Deal with Writer’s Block?

Now that we know what causes writer’s block, it’s time to address the elephant in the room.

Here are some of the most practical and proven methods to deal with writer’s block:

Stop before it starts

It is always easier to stop something from happening in the first place than to repair the damage afterward.

And following are the two of the best ways to prevent writer’s block:

Productive self-talk or pretend you’re talking to your partner

This sounds a little weird, isn’t it?

But wait, it’s not that complicated.

What I mean by this is that before you go on and start writing, do some self-talk or pretend you’re speaking to your partner and you need to explain to them the content you’re working on.

How would you do that?

If you get it, you’re much more likely to bypass any sort of block.

Just to give you an example and make you smile, here’s how Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory explained Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock to his friends:

"Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and as it always has, rock crushes scissors."

Forming a writing habit

If you only write when you feel creative, you’re bound to get stuck in a rut.

American dancer, choreographer, and author, Twyla Tharp once said, “Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.”

And this almost sums it up.

Doesn’t matter whether you’re at work or off work, make it a habit or reprogram your brain to write (more) every day. The more you write, the more your brain gets used to it and helps you generate ideas every time you need them.

Spend a good amount of time on research

Let’s say I give you this topic — “How to get a content specialists job?”.

Would you get started right away? If so, then that’s a bad idea.

Before you put on your headphones and get into the writing mode, you need to have a crystal clear understanding of the topic.

If you don’t have that, then you might google about it after every 2-3 sentences. And that, my friend, will eventually put you in a writer’s block.

So, spend enough time researching the topic at hand and try to gather as much information as possible.

Create an outline

Once you’re done gathering all the information you require, it’s time to create an outline for the piece of content you’re going to write.

Outlining helps in constructing and organizing ideas in a manner that promotes thoughtful flow. Doing so allows you to pick relevant information from your research to write that amazing piece of content.

Not to mention, even if your outline is rough, it’s always good to know the path you’re going to walk.

Take a break or do something else

Everyone thinks they are superhuman. They love their work so much that they feel it’s okay to have burnout.

I even read an article about “how to write when you’re really tired?”

And it mentioned that one way to get through it is by saying to yourself, “Just do the work, darn it! Push through.

If you think this works, then let’s state it outright. IT’s PURE BS.

Don’t be so hard on yourself.  

Writing requires a free, fresh, and open mind. If you’ve hit writer’s block or if you’re simply exhausted, please TAKE A BREAK.

Or, at least divert your mind to something else.

Maybe get your other pending work done. Or, take a walk.

Or, how about watching The Big Bang Theory?

I am sure, Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj are going to bring a smile to your face and make you feel a bit relaxed.

It works. Should work for you as well.  

Stuck? Leave it and move ahead

I could have revealed this in my “Paid Online Course” but I am generous enough to giving away this information for free.

Buzzinga!

Okay, here’s the deal.

For instance, you’re writing a blog on “how crypto can make you go bankrupt” but there’s this section where you just can’t think of anything to write. You’re confused, overwhelmed, anxious, and whatnot. 

What do you do in that case?

One, you can follow the previous advice. Take a break.

Or, if you know what to write going forward, you can skip this section for now. And when you’re done with all the other parts, come back to this and complete it.

Yes, it is that simple.

Give yourself a deadline

Let’s not say deadline; rather, go with the word “goal”.

Setting goals is considered to be a good practice among content writing professionals.

I have had various conversations with several top content ninjas and one thing that’s common in all of them is that they set a goal to complete a piece of article.

For example, I will complete the first draft of this blog in 2 days.

The basic idea behind setting a goal is to identify what you want to write and create a plan to achieve it, and this ultimately helps you stay on track or stay focused.

Word to the wise: Set realistic goals. Otherwise, it’ll be overwhelming. And there’s no point in letting your passion for writing cause you to push yourself too hard and get exhausted.

Follow the Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro technique is my favorite when it comes to writing and making the most of my time.

Invented by Francesco Cirillo in the 90s, the Pomodoro technique is a time management system that encourages people to work in short, intense sprints.

When you start writing, go for 25 minutes straight and then take a five-minute break. Repeat it for as long as needed. However, for every fourth round, take a longer break – half an hour is ideal.

For writers who often stumble onto writer’s block, this technique is considered to be of great help.

But again, if you want this technique to work, you must ensure that the time you spend working isn’t broken. Or else, you have to give it a fresh start.

Don’t chase perfection

This used to be one of my major mistakes back in the day. And it took me years to realize this.

Every time I would start writing, I would want it to be PERFECT. I would read it over and over again and keep on editing it.

Later, a friend of mine suggested I let my words and phrases flow. Let it flow naturally and not fix anything even if it’s bad.

Rather, once you complete the first draft, give it thorough proofreading or ask a friend to do that.  Ask her to leave comments and mark mistakes in the draft so that you can fix them accordingly.

Trust me, this works wonders.

The Outlook

Writer’s block is as normal as typos.

If you often suffer from it, then don’t beat yourself up.

Rather, follow the tips given in this article. The methods mentioned aren’t’ any hokum — they are legitimate.

At first, all of them might seem a little overwhelming. But don’t worry, you can make it work by trying one at a time.

Analyze your current situation — considering the kind of block you’ve hit, pick the method that’s more likely to help you get through. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything I missed out on. I would love to add it to the article.


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