This is how to fight the war on writer’s block

Writer’s block is all in your mind. Just saying the phrase messes with your head.

It’s a term we give to something when our brain is temporarily paralyzed. Our brain hits a metaphorical wall. Our mind  doesn’t want to do anything.

We show up in front of the computer screen, uninspired and frustrated.

There are excuses for why we can’t write. We can’t afford to be stuck; we tell ourselves.

But we all have something to write. We can push through the wall.

It can be as simple as writing an email, drafting a blog post, or starting a presentation. We write every day — whether or not we realize it.

Writer’s block is a lame excuse that’s holding us back. Giving it a name makes it unhelpful. We can avoid adding writer’s block to our vocabulary if we know the steps for fighting it.

How to overcome writer’s block

We have complete control over writer’s block. It doesn’t have to be a short-term or long-term disability that keeps you from writing. You don’t have to become a victim.

Here are 5 of the best ways to get unstuck and fight the war on writer’s block.

1. Make a list

The best place to start is to create a list. This helps me because after you make a list, you can fill in the details of the list. For example, you could list out the reasons why someone should know this specific topic.

Making a list clears out your head and re-energizes you. You could list places you want to visit or things you need at the grocery store. Make a list of 20 celebrities you want to meet, 15 foods you want to try, or 25 things you want to do before you die.

“Rename your “to-do” list to your “opportunities” list. Each day is a treasure chest filled with limitless opportunities; take joy in checking many off your list.”

Steve Maraboli, a speaker, author, and behavioral scientist

2. Allow for imperfections

Perfection is evil. It is a great way to freeze you in your tracks. Permit yourself to write a sh&*ty first draft. Get some words on the page and let your mind flow out onto the page.

Allow yourself to write something poorly and get it out of your system. 

 does this all the time. It helps him get into the flow state. Lower your expectations for specific articles you write, so you can let the writing take over for you.

“Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.”

Kim Collins, a former track and field sprinter

3. Hunt for good documents

When you lose confidence in your writing, you should go on a trip down memory lane and look at your old documents for words you have already written. Go back and find your best presentation, email you wrote, notes you wrote at a meeting, proposal you created, social media post you made, or comment you posted to someone else’s brilliant piece of writing.

When you feel stuck, break the negative cycle by starting a positive one. You know how to write. You need to build up your confidence. When you look for good documents, the writing spark is re-ignited in your head.

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.”

Joe Namath, a former American football quarterback

4. Set a time limit

Set a time of three minutes and see how much you can write. Just free flow. How many sentences can you write about nothing? You can suffer through anything for a couple of minutes.

When you put a time limit on something, and you have a certain amount of time to do something, you’ll give the activity more focus. That’s why entrepreneurs Bill Gates and Elon Musk use the technique of time blocking to be successful. You become more productive and improve your daily performance, including your writing.

“Time is the wisest counselor of all.” 

Pericles, a Greek statesman and general of Athens during its golden age

5. Break your writing down into smaller parts

Don’t think about all the writing you have to do. Break your work down into smaller parts. Commit to one blog post a day. If that doesn’t work, commit to one headline or an introduction. If that doesn’t work, commit to one sentence.

When you write enough, you can do many of these things with your eyes closed and hands tied behind your back. Breaking your writing down into tiny parts helps you build momentum. It’s the key to success because momentum drives you to the bigger and more complicated things you want to accomplish.

Instead of writing a blog post, write a paragraph. Don’t write an entire book, write a chapter. Instead of creating a presentation, compose the meeting agenda. Breaking up writing into smaller chunks works wonders.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” — 

Mark Twain, an American writer

Bringing It All Together

You know how to write — writer’s block is just your mind procrastinating. To overcome it, follow these five tips: make a list, allow for imperfections, hunt for good documents, set a time limit, and break your writing down into smaller parts. You know how to write. You just need to fight your mental block and get your juices flowing again.

“There is no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.” 

William Stafford, an American poet

One thought on “This is how to fight the war on writer’s block

  1. I never thought of writers block as procrastination; but it does fit – maybe looking at it in that way will make a difference. Thanks for the tips.

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