by Laura Brown
Originally Published Nov 9, 2012
Over 85% of the clients I’ve worked with report experiencing writer’s block. It’s a very widespread phenomenon—and an absolutely miserable feeling. There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting in front of your computer, the minutes ticking by, and not getting any writing done. The good news is that writer’s block is a completely curable condition. Here are a few tricks to help you get started writing when you’re feeling stuck:
Reward yourself. Instead of procrastinating by getting a cup of coffee or checking Facebook, why not use those distractions as rewards once you’ve done your writing? Set yourself a modest goal—say, writing for 15 minutes—and then give yourself a little reward once it’s done. You’ll enjoy the treat that much more if you’ve accomplished something you’re proud of.
Try freewriting. If you’re having trouble warming to your topic, try writing about something else instead. Set a timer, and spend 10 minutes or so writing about anything you want. Don’t pressure yourself to write about any particular topic—just write. You can write about your morning commute, you can write about last night’s game, you can write about the thing that’s worrying you the most, or you can pick another topic that appeals to you. The point is just to start writing somewhere. Once you’re warmed up, you can focus on the topic you need to write about.
Write it badly. Writer’s block often results from anxiety about the quality of our writing. Somewhere deep down, we feel that our writing product isn’t going to be very good, so we hesitate even to begin. Defuse this problem by deliberately writing badly. Focus on your content, and then write it out ungrammatically, colloquially…as badly as you possibly can. By writing out your content badly, you’ve tricked yourself into writing a first draft. Once you have it all written down, you can set about revising your draft and making it more presentable.
I’ll be sharing more tricks for overcoming writer’s block in future posts. With one or two of these techniques in your arsenal, you’ll soon be writing freely and comfortably.