It happens to every writer at some point in their careers. It’s almost an inevitable part of the job. Where it doesn’t happen very often, a writer knows when a block is about to set in – your prose ends up making no sense, there’s typos everywhere and you start to lack the motivation to keep tapping away at your keyboard, no matter how hard you try. So what is writer’s block, exactly, and how can you get over it so that you no longer think about throwing the towel in?
Writer’s block is a normal part of a writer’s life, especially if you’ve been doing it for a number of years. It’s essentially an overwhelming loss of inspiration and creative ideas. Every creative thought you’ve ever had has disappeared and you feel as though you’re left with nothing. Your mind has gone blank and, no matter what you do, you cannot relight that creative flame. It’s almost as if something in your mind has switched off and you’re no longer in the mood to write a single sentence.
For some writers, writer’s block can last for anywhere between a few hours and even a few years. Even the most successful fiction writers have encountered writer’s block at some point in their lives, but they’ve eventually managed to publish a best-selling book, often after several years.
However, content writers don’t have years to work on their material as we work to specific, sometimes very tight, deadlines, leaving no room for writer’s block and very little time to recover from it if it does hit us.
Where’s there’s not one specific or proven reason for why writer’s block occurs, there are several contributing factors that could explain why you’re feeling the wrath of the dreaded writer’s block, including:
It’s just not the right time – simply, it’s not the right time for you to write. It might be that you need to work on your ideas and develop them further before putting pen to paper, so to speak.
You could be afraid of putting your ideas out there – writer’s and the work they produce is heavily critiqued at times and where dealing with constructive criticism comes with experience, you cannot gain that experience without putting yourself and your work out there for everyone to see. Constructive criticism is extremely beneficial and will develop you as a writer in ways that other things cannot.
You’re looking for perfectionism – no writer is perfect and neither is the work they do. You cannot please everyone, the only people you should be aiming to please is your client and their specific audience. This is more of an issue when it comes to writing fiction, hence why writers can often spend years writing a single book. But when it comes to copywriting, there’s a specific deadline you’ll need to meet, leaving little room for perfectionism. Proofread your work twice over and, if you can, ask another copywriter to read what you’ve done. If they think it’s alright, then move on to the next stage in the process.
There are many ways in which writer’s block can be overcome, including the following:
In addition to the aforementioned methods, you could also try:
Generating ideas well in advance
Where this isn’t always the easiest thing to do while you’re experiencing writer’s block, it’s something you should definitely do while you’re in the creative flow. Planning and scheduling your ideas well in advance will help when you feel as though you’ve hit a brick wall with your creativity
Make sure that, when you’re feeling at your most productive, you’re jotting down any and all ideas you have, include notes and resources to help get you started further down the line and, even if you do encounter writer’s block, you’ll still be able to put pen to paper for an idea you came up with months earlier.
Content calendars are ideal for those who regularly encounter writer’s block. We wrote an article all about how to create a content calendar of your own and you can read that here if you aren’t sure about how to go about planning your ideas effectively.
Setting yourself a writing goal
You should set yourself a writing goal and try to stick to it as much as possible. Each writer will have very different goals for themselves, it really just depends on what it is you’re wanting to improve on.
Whether you’re giving yourself a word count to meet or wish to write an article within a certain time limit, each goal will be individual to each writer as we all have different strengths and weaknesses that need working on.
Trying morning pages
Morning pages are very useful for writers who aren’t sure how to get back into the swing of things. In order to do morning pages, you’ll need a notepad and a pen and a prompt. You’ll be able to Google “morning pages prompts” and, using those, write about 200-300 words surrounding the prompt that was given to you/the prompt you have chosen. This should help to get your creative juices flowing again.
There are some things every writer should avoid doing if they happen to experience writer’s block:
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As an experienced Copywriter, Lorna enjoys creating varied content for an abundance of different industries and sectors. From detailed, informative articles to creative infographics, she's always looking to inject originality into the work she produces. When she isn't working, Lorna runs her own lifestyle blog, plays the guitar and loves to take part in charity runs.