So I’m going to be 100% honest with you: sometimes I struggle with my writing. It’s not always easy to figure out what to write, and sometimes even sitting down and putting pen to paper can be difficult. As a copywriter, I do a lot of writing behind the scenes, and the work requires a lot of creativity. And since I’ve been working completely from home this week, my writer’s block has been real.
While I’ve been dealing with this trouble, I’ve had to figure out how to get my work done on time. Because, as everyone who works knows, the work still has to get done. And, as someone who works in a creative field, finding a creative solution to my writer’s block seemed like a good idea.
As a side note: if you’re a writer in Ontario, we have a grant listed on GrantWatch for writers creating new works.
So, I thought, why don’t I write about it? After all, writing can often lead to more writing.
In facing writer’s block, I’ve rediscovered strategies that helped me overcome writer’s block in the past. So I thought I’d share these with our readers here. After all, writing is part of so many professionals’ daily work. Whether you’re a small business owner, an educator, or work for a nonprofit, you probably are tasked to write during your day.
So, here at the five best tips I use to overcome writer’s block. These mostly apply to people who are currently working at home, but they can help even if you’re back in the office, too.
5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Overcome Your Writer’s Block
So let me start off by reminding you that everybody struggles sometimes and it’s normal. It happens to all of us.
1. Just Start
First, one of the best ways to overcome writer’s block is to do what I’m doing now: start writing. Quite often, just starting can be a major success. If you don’t start writing, you’ll never continue. People often struggle to start writing when they feel stuck, because they’re worried their writing won’t be excellent. But, as one of my mentors says all the time, “Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.” You can always edit later, so start writing now. Also, by just starting to writing, you may discover little things about your writing you didn’t notice before.
2. Take a Walk Outside
I know we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and this may depend on the lockdown rules where you live. But if you can, going for a walk after staring at your screen for too long is incredible. First, this will allow you to get away from technology for a little bit and clear your head. It will also help to lower the stress you’re probably putting yourself through. While you’re out, hopefully in the sunshine, you will be able to think more clearly. This may also help you to come up with new ideas.
Overall, taking a walk can really let you return to your computer, fresh and ready to work on your project. I have to say taking a walk is one of my favorite things to do when I need a break. I actually took a walk today before writing this, and it’s been incredibly helpful.
3. Eliminate All Possible Distractions
This is important. One of the reasons that it may be difficult working from home is that there are so many possible distractions. Now, of course, there are limits to what you can stop. However, one of the best ways to start your writing day well is to ensure that you have the time and space to focus.
So, designate a place in your house to be able to work consistently. Put in your headphones to block out noise. Make sure your work-space is organized. And, if you can, turn off the notifications on your phone. Make it possible to work without interruption for enough time to get your work done for the length of time it takes. And, have everything you need to do your work-at-hand so you don’t have to keep getting up. This can be key, especially if you’re easily distracted like I am.
4. Brainstorm Ideas in a Notebook or Online
Now, this tip goes somewhat along with starting. Sometimes one of the ways to lay information out is to first lay out ideas. This can mean writing a list of your ideas, using bullet points, or creating a flexible outline. The reason this helps is that it allows you to clearly organize your ideas. Too many discombobulated ideas trapped in your brain may be part of the problem. Plus, you may also discover new points or ideas you didn’t think of before. I use a notebook almost every day to organize my ideas and my writing. In fact, I keep a notebook with me no matter where I go so I can write down ideas.
However, it also is conducive when you’re working on a difficult project. An example of this: when I’m writing a news story, I write out the different points I want to take. I also write out data points I want to use and cite. And if you don’t have a notebook, you can use Google Docs or even the notes app on your phone.
5. Use Timers to Keep You on Track
So, this tip is not only applicable to writing work. Once you’ve started writing and are focused on freewriting or creating lists, this can really help with that work. When you’re not feeling all that creative and trying to stay free from distractions, time can drag on. Having a specific goal that’s based on time can actually push you to power through your work. Now, I have to tell you, there is this: the Pomodoro method. It involves a five-step process:
- Pick a task.
- Set a 25-minute timer.
- Work on the task until the timer is up.
- Take a 5-minute break.
- Every 4 cycles take a longer 15 to 30 minute break
I’ve tried this method, and it really does work. I’ve also just set a timer for a task, worked through it, stood up to stretch, and set another timer. Find what works for you. But using timers can help you to activate the competitive and focusing part of your brain. It may also help you to avoid overthinking. For me, I’ll be working on writing for a copy project, and setting a timer allows me to see what I can get done in that amount of time. It also allows you to figure out how long any task takes without any distractions.
So, these are the tips and tricks that have helped me overcome writer’s block! Using these will allow me to work on more articles to share with our readers today. And, while you’re here, make sure to check out all of our grant categories over at GrantWatch.com. We have a wide array of grant categories, including an Arts & Culture grants category, available so that you can find the grant you’re looking for!
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