Feeling Stuck? How to Overcome the Challenges of Writer’s Block

By the Acrolinx Team

Writer’s block. It’s happened at one point or another to every person who crafts words for a living. You’re sitting at your desk, looking at the screen, willing the words to come. A deadline looms and you’ve got a lot of work to get done. But instead of the words flowing, you just can’t get started. And the more you try to force it, the harder it becomes.

Writer’s block isn’t a physical block, although it might seem like one. Many psychologists and writers agree that when you’re unable to write it’s often the result of fear and doubt. When these feelings arise, it can be difficult or even impossible to get any words down on the page. While what works for one person to overcome writer’s block may not work for another, there are a range of techniques you can use to break through the barrier.

Here are some options to consider:

Take a break

Sometimes, there’s no better cure for writer’s block than simply walking away from what you are working on for a while. Step away from the computer and spend some time doing something completely different. What you want to do is get your brain out of the paralysis loop. Exercising the creative part of your brain by doing something different is a great way to achieve this.

Even if you’re on a deadline, just giving yourself a short pause can work wonders. So spend 15 minutes doodling or daydreaming, go for a walk, reorganize your desk, or find some other creative project to work on for a while. Then jump back into writing and see what a difference taking a short break has made.

Brainstorm with someone

If you’re struggling with what you’re trying to say or how you’re trying to say it, ask for help. Brainstorm with a colleague or friend. Getting a fresh point of view or simply talking things through can be an invaluable way of getting back on track.

Try a new technique

If you’re struggling to express themes, arguments, and ideas, you might want to go back to the basics. Write a thorough outline so that all you have to do is, in effect, fill in the blanks. A good way to make it even easier is to break it down into statements such as “Twitter is useful for content marketers because ________” and fill in the blanks. It might be a bit like being back at school but it works.

Work in sprints

Often, breaking things down into smaller, more manageable tasks can stimulate motivation and help you achieve more. Instead of trying to write a long piece all in one go, try writing in short sprints. Time yourself and limit your writing time to 20 minutes or half an hour. It’s amazing what you can get done in a short space of time, when you aren’t overwhelmed by a big project.

Just write and don’t look back

Some writers swear by this. You sit down and write and write and don’t edit as you go. If you want to silence the self-criticism in your head, don’t try and second-guess every sentence as you go. Don’t worry about correcting grammar or spelling or mulling over the structure. Just write. The important thing is to get words down. They might not all be great to start, but as you get into the flow they will improve. You’ll get a sense of achievement, and it’s often much easier to edit what is there than to start creating from scratch.

The important thing to remember is that writer’s block happens to all writers, so don’t panic. The trick is to accept that it happens and to then concentrate on finding a personalized technique to overcome it. Your writing will thank you for it!