Writer’s block is a problem that even the most talented and active writers experience. And it’s more difficult to shake than you might expect.
We’ve all been there. You sit, ready to get some content down on the page in front of you, but nothing happens. The idea feels dead, the words aren’t flowing and your content just isn’t being produced at any speed.
At this point, you have two options. You can either give up and try another time, or you can apply some simple tactics and get the ball rolling again.
Here, we explore a number of ideas that can help you get writing and put block behind you.
Start with a question
Whatever the subject matter of the piece of content you’re producing, it’s aiming to answer some sort of question. It may be a question about what’s next for your industry, how customers can be helped by your business, or just a simple ‘what if’ around an idea you’ve had.
To answer your question effectively, you first need to define exactly what it is.
The best way to do this is to note down ideas around the subject you’re writing about, and then think about how best to phrase the point you’re trying to make. If you arrive at a statement rather than a question, try and justify your statement in your piece of content.
If you have one clear idea to aim for as a north star, the content should be more forthcoming.
What do you actually care about?
It’s hard to write about something that you have little or no interest in. Although from time-to-time it might be required to create content around something you don’t love, there should always be a way to spin the editorial in a more exciting way.
It’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your reader by asking yourself if you’d read this piece of content is if had already been produced. If the answer is no, you probably need to reposition the content to make it more interesting.
If you’re engaged, your content will be engaging.
Think of the end result
Another common reason for writer’s block amongst bloggers and those who produce content for smaller niche audiences is the feeling that you’re wasting your time.
It can be difficult to sustain content production if you feel like no matter how hard you work and how many pieces you produce, they’re just not getting the results you’re hoping for.
The best way to approach this problem is to think about your business in a 3-5 year window, rather than a short-term piece-by-piece way. Even the biggest content companies in the world produce content that doesn’t perform well. The reason they succeed is that it’s a numbers game.
If for a whole year, none of your content gets the recognition you feel it deserves and isn’t driving you any new business, it only takes one piece to turn that all around. Should you eventually have a highly successful piece of content, readers from that piece are likely to dive into the library of content you’ve worked so hard to produce in the past.
The more interesting, engaging and relatable content they see, the more of a relationship they’ll build with your company.
And the better that relationship, the higher the chance of a sale.
One final reason why content production often feels like a chore is that we’re too hard on ourselves.
Unlike when drafting an email or sending a tweet, editorial content is often long and often covers several separate ideas. This means that there are more chances for things to go wrong, and it often only takes one stumble for us to give up completely and stop writing.
The best way to overcome this feeling is to forget about everything, remove the pressure and just start typing.
Rather than trying to work out each point you’re making in real time, it’s helpful to make an ordered bullet point list of each point you’d like to make. Type out the point without worrying about how they currently relate to one-and-other.
Finally, once all of the key content is drafted, work on connecting each point so that your editorial flows.
If all of these tactics fail, give yourself a break. Step away from your screen, distract yourself, and come back to try again when you’re feeling refreshed.
Forced, frustrated content is as painful to read as it is to produce.