We’ve all been there, struggling to get started with an essay, a new article, even the simple things like a creative Instagram caption.
This is what most refer to as “writer’s block”.
Writer’s block usually attacks at the most inopportune moment. If there is a chance that writer’s block will hit you, it’s usually when you actually decide to sit down to write.
This can be an inconvenient barrier to overcome when you are up against a deadline and just can’t figure out how to get started.
Luckily, these 4 unique tips for overcoming writer’s block can help!
1. Avoid Distractions
Distractions can ultimately be the deciding factor in whether you write or not. There are many different temptations (especially if your not keen on writing in the first place) that you will need to overcome.
Friends may be bugging you to head out for dinner. Maybe there’s some type of event that you really want to go to and putting off writing would be easy enough, besides you still have one more day before you REALLY have to start.
Maybe you’re just a chronic procrastinator and you look for anything else to do than write.
In today’s society, getting distracted from writing is easier than ever.
There is a constant stream of media coming at you from all directions. Even Google Searching “overcoming writer’s block” was probably a way to avoid writing and ultimately you are here reading this article rather than putting words on the page.
That’s okay, because by the end of this article hopefully you will be ready to rock.
Some things you have to watch out for are the blatant distraction mechanisms like Netflix, Hulu, other streaming services, social media, and even food.
In order to start writing you have to tune all of these things out and be aware that they are simply distractions.
Here are a couple tools that can help tremendously with avoiding distractions.
The Self Control App for Macbook Pro (it may be available online for Windows users also) can be a simple way to block different URLs for a set period of time.
Self Control is free to use and allows you to lock yourself out of a large majority of social media that usually steals your attention from writing.
After a certain time that you set, you will be able to access this site once again.
So lock yourself out for a set period of time so that you successfully avoiding spending 2 hours browsing Facebook.
If you are interested in learning more about how to use Self Control click here.
Headphones are the second great distraction eraser.
Using noise cancelling headphones can keep you away from the streaming services alluded to earlier. You are also less likely to seek out the source of different noises happening in your office or home.
A key tip is to listen to music or calming noises that drown out the background but don’t distract from your overall thought process.
It is important that the headphones you choose are noise cancelling. If not they may do more harm than good.
So you might be able to manage avoiding distractions. This was listed first because it is perhaps the most important tip to STARTING your writing.
Once you start your writing, however, it’s easy to get stuck if you don’t have anything to strive for.
That is why tip #2 is so important.
2. Establish Goals For Your Writing
Establishing goals for your writing can be a huge driver in whether or not you get started and even more so whether or not you continue writing to meet these goals.
Most writers create a goal in there head, yet they never truly write them down.
A great strategy is to establish SMART goals for your writing as you would with paying down debt, savings, or building a business.
These goals need to be:
Specific: Goals that are lacking specification often go unaccomplished.
You may create a very general goal, however, this will likely not see any results because the guidelines for accomplishment are very loose.
To establish a specific goal you need to define what it is you want to accomplish with a bit of detail.
An example of a specific goal would be writing a new article related to writer’s block. Instead of establishing the goal “write a new article” you have specified what the article will be about (writer’s block).
Measurable: A goal must be measurable. If your plan is to write two articles or ten pages you need to outline that.
Your goal would then transform from “write a new article related to writer’s block” to “write one new 2,000+ word article on overcoming writer’s block”.
As you can see, there is now a specified quantity associated with the new article. Both the word count and number of articles are established. If you fall short of these numbers you can hold your self accountable.
Achievable: Never make a goal that is completely unrealistic or unattainable.
Knowing your limits is different than doubting yourself. When it comes to writing it would be unreasonable to write 15,000 words in 15 minutes.
This goal would not be realistically achievable and quality of your writing would suffer as a result. In order to make a goal achievable you want to establish a system of checks and balances for yourself.
The goal outlined above on overcoming writer’s block is achievable because one article that is 2,000+ words in length is something that many writers and web developers accomplish frequently.
The key point is to make sure that you set your goals to generate above average performance but not out of reach.
Relevant: Goals should be relevant to what you truly want to accomplish.
If your goal is to research 15 keywords related to overcoming writer’s block, that would be relevant to your overall goal of writing your new article.
However, if you are distracting yourself by creating a goal that says “learn how to overcome writer’s block” then you may be selling yourself short or deviating from your final goal which is to drive sales and conversions if you run an online business, or finish your essay and receive an A+ grade if you are a student.
Whatever your reason for writing, you need to make sure that your goal is relevant to the results you would ultimately like to see.
Time-Based: Your goals need to have a time limit.
Anyone can eventually write a 2000+ word article with all of the elements discussed above. Your goal could include the first letters of SMART but be lacking a time frame.
If there is no deadline, you will likely never accomplish the goal. The goal that I have outlined above would now sound a little more like this “write one new 2,000+ word article on overcoming writer’s block by Friday”.
As you can see, this goal now has a deadline. If the goal is not accomplished by Friday the goal would technically not be classified as accomplished. This helps drive you to complete the goal within the allotted time frame.
Now, you have a SMART goal but what do you do with it?
Put it on paper. Read it daily. Accomplish it.
Studies show that goals that are written down are more likely to be accomplished because you are more likely to hold yourself accountable.
If the idea is in your head you have not physically established the goal and you may manipulate it to meet your changing needs. Often times this can lead to further distraction which should be avoided at all cost.
Personally, I believe that anyone developing their own online business that requires content output should check out the SiteContent platform from Wealthy Affiliate.
Within SiteContent you can create your very own keyword list, establish word or article goals that are specifically quantified, and hold yourself accountable with goal tracking as you write.
This brings up an important tip #3.
3. Plan Or Outline Your Content
You’ve been told a million times to outline your essay or content. There’s a reason that the same theme keeps popping up and a large majority of successful writers plan what they are going to write.
This practice establishes direction for your content. It will ultimately drive your research into whatever topic you are writing on.
It helps avoid distraction, set goals, and ultimately accomplish those goals.
If you establish a plan prior to sitting down to write content, you will not longer be distracted by trailing thoughts that might deviate you from writing.
In addiiton, you will not get sidetracked and have to rewrite content to fit within an ever changing structure.
Since your content structure is already established, you know what to include in that essay or article.
For example, the development of this particular article was broken out into sections prior to writing.
Each tip was analyzed and implemented in an outline. The meat of the content was then further developed when I actually decided to sit down and write.
Outlining your content is key to development of full bodied paragraphs and analytical, important, well keyworded content.
If you want to successfully get started with writing and defeat writer’s block once and for all, it’s important that you plan and outline content prior to sitting down to write.
So now that you have done all the preliminary work to successfully overcome writer’s block and start writing, you need to set aside the time to sit down… distraction free, with SMART goals and a detailed outline and do what you set out to do in the beginning…WRITE!
4. Create a Writing Window
Usually this can be done simply by starting up a speed session.
Speed sessions are periods of time where you decide you will write whatever you are thinking without stopping for a set duration.
Prior to entering your speed session you will want to have all research for the essay or article completed. You will want to establish your SMART goals and stick to them.
When you are ready to begin your speed session, pull out a stopwatch or set a timer on your computer (I usually try and shoot for 30 minutes to an hour for article development).
The speed session should be all about putting words on the page, nothing else.
If you are an online business owner you will want to save your photo integration, charting, analysis, and formatting of your articles for after your speed session.
Speed sessions have allowed me to pump out over 3,000 word articles in just under 45 minutes on multiple occasions.
Speed sessions not only help you get started writing, they help you with getting your thoughts out naturally. Nothing is forced as you don’t have time to overthink what you are writing.
The importance of writing naturally can be seen repeatedly with online content (articles) and essays. If you read something that is written very mechanically, not conversationally, it usually loses your attention pretty quickly.
Even if you are a student developing an essay that will ultimately be graded, focus on writing naturally and incorporating your well thought out ideas. Return to it later to make sure it follows whatever structure your professor is looking for.
Writer’s block can affect anyone.
Whether you are an online business owner, a student writing an essay, or an Instagram Influencer thinking up your next big caption writer’s block can sneak up on you.
However, you don’t have to remain a victim and there are simple ways to beat writer’s block and become a successful writer.
As we outlined above, the main 4 tips for overcoming writers block are:
- Avoiding Distractions
- Establishing Goals
- Plan and Outline Your Content
- Creat a Writing Window
These steps, if followed, will allow you to write effectively and efficiently.
If you have followed these steps and they’ve helped you with your writing, please comment below! If you have experience with any other tips for overcoming writer’s block please offer any additional input you might have in the comments.
If you want to learn more about the writing platforms I use to develop my content and ultimately publish high converting articles, check out my review on Wealthy Affiliate and scroll to the SiteContent section by clicking here.