There are days when I am prolific. The words flow from my brain to my fingertips and onto the paper (or screen). Those are the days when the ideas are rolling out almost fully formed and the descriptive words come easily. Though I write every day, I also have frustrating days, even weeks, of writer’s block.
I have some huge advantages; I don’t depend on my writing for my income. I can allow myself some grace and if I don’t have a post for a week or two, it isn’t the end of my blog. It’s still frustrating to feel like the writing ideas well is dry (and sprinkled with too many cliches). What do I do to combat writer’s block?
I now embrace it.
How do I embrace the soul-crushing thing that is writer’s block?
Being blocked feels like your soul was temporarily sucked out of your body. Everything feels off. I may want to create, but I cannot. If I force myself to write, everything sounds stunted and boring. I do it anyway. Why?
Writing daily helps me stay in the habit of writing, even if the words sound forced. I want to stay in the habit because there are also days where I don’t want to write, but the writing is great. Sometimes those terrible sentences spark an idea later that turns into a wonderful post.
Once I’ve written something terrible, I turn my attention elsewhere.
After I write
If I a really struggling, I’ll veg out after I write. I’ll read other blogs, watch a movie, or binge watch a tv show. Often, I’ll look for blog posts on blog topics and read articles with helpful writing tips. Or I will work on something else, like learning Spanish. If my kids are home, I’ll take them to the park. Or play. Basically, I’ll do anything but write. If my brain doesn’t want to cooperate, I give it something different to feast on.
Embracing the dry spell and choosing to do something different is a great way to relax your brain. I am constantly thinking about my blog and what I can do to improve it. So, if I start concentrating on something else, like a beloved TV show, my brain doesn’t start spiraling into a trap of anxiety. Anxiety will make the writing problem worse. I give myself permission to stop writing and stop thinking about writing.
I can do hard things
Sometimes when I’m feeling blocked, I’ll do something that is quite unlike myself: I’ll submit pitches and posts to big name websites. It’s a difficult thing for me to do, but I do it anyway. The worst that can happen is that they never respond. The other worst thing is that they do publish it and I gain some small fame and notoriety. Oh wait, the latter is a good thing!
If I really want to write, but the block is still there, I research ways to come up with blog content. Anything from flow of conscience writing to “how to come up with 101 topics to write about in 15 minutes.” In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve read an article with that exact title. I’ll brainstorm titles and I keep them in a file to refer to later. Perusing my titles list is fun, too. I’ll even leave in some ridiculous and funny titles, since laughing can reduce tension and anxiety.
When things are dire in my writing world, I will connect with my blogging friends. If they need help, brainstorming about their problems makes me lose focus on mine. This is a wonderful thing! I’ll offer to proofread their unpublished content or bounce ideas off them. It seems like a sure way to unblock yourself is to help someone else.
I don’t know why that works so effectively, but it really does. Giving to others restores confidence and love for ourselves.
What do you do to combat writer’s block? Do you embrace it and do something else? Do you push through and write anyway?