Wield Your Mighty Pen (Or Keyboard) and Slay the Great Beast of Writer’s Block!

By on October 31, 2012

You sit down at your computer fully armed. You’ve got a cup of coffee to your right, your brainstorming notebook to your left, and your browser is opened to your favorite online dictionary. You place your hands on the keyboard and take a breath, ready to let the great ideas flow from the ether to your brain to your computer screen. But wait! What’s this? Nothing is happening. No torrents of inspiration are springing forth. You type some gibberish just to hear the familiar clicks of the keyboard. You backspace them out of existence. You chew on your pen. You tap on your desk. Oh well, maybe it’s just not going to happen today. You open your favorite game and begin to play. Maybe the writer’s block will just work itself out.

Don’t Give Up

Don’t let writer’s block boss you around. As a dedicated writer/blogger, you have a responsibility to create quality content for your readers. More importantly, you’ve made a commitment to yourself and your vision. Consistent writing can seem daunting, but remember that you’ve done it successfully before. Writer’s block is temporary and it will pass. Keep fighting and writing, even if the words are only slowly dribbling out of your fingertips.

You Are Not Alone

Every writer suffers from blocks. It’s hard to imagine your favorite blogger or author sitting quietly in their office, struggling to find the perfect idea or concept. It must be easy for the best and brightest, right? Not at all. Even extremely prolific, professional writers have regular battles with their brains and word processers. Realize that you’re in good company. Remember, every writer gets blocked occasionally. The best writers know that it’s normal and don’t become dismayed.

Habit

Write every day. There is no other way. Write for pay and write for play. Avoid excessive rhyming. If you want to consistently produce quality writing, be it in the form of a weekly blog or the new e-book you’re working on, you’ve got to get into the habit. If you opened a coffee shop in your neighborhood and were determined to make it successful, would you only show up a couple of days a week and hope for the best? Likewise, if you wanted to learn to play the saxophone, could you really expect any success by practicing for an hour once a week? Writing is a business, an art, and a craft, and if you wish to do battle with the writer’s block beast, the best way is with strict, daily habits. Sit down during your designated time and don’t get up until your time is up. Even if you don’t write a single, effective sentence, stay at your desk and stare at the screen. Your body and brain will start to recognize that they have direct orders, and they will start to cooperate.

Don’t Fear Bad Ideas

Get out of your comfort zone and don’t limit yourself creatively. Even if an idea seems unimpressive or uninspired, get it down on the page and let it speak for itself. You never know where that next sentence is going to lead. You never know what doors that bad idea is going to open. Besides, when you’re faced with writer’s block, sometimes you just need to feel those clicks beneath your fingers. Fleshing out a concept you’re not particularly excited about is like warming up before strenuous exercise.

Take a Break

This may seem contradictory to the suggestion to keep strict, daily habits. It is and it isn’t. A faithful routine is indispensable for a writer, but every hard working person needs to take a break. Ten or twenty minutes away from your computer screen can be an effective way to get those creative juices flowing. The emphasis here is on stepping away from your computer screen. A break checking your Facebook wall doesn’t count as a break. Go for a walk outside or do some exercise. A pleasant walk is a great time to head-write, or brainstorm with yourself. Short, vigorous exercise can have profound psychological effects. Fill your body with a rush of endorphins that induce a relaxed mental state and sit back down at your desk both calm and invigorated.

Don’t fear the beast of writer’s block. He is no match for your dedication and creativity. Keep a routine, explore areas outside of your traditional boundaries, and never surrender. What works for you when you’re struggling to find the appropriate words or concepts? Let us know with a comment.

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Matthew Toren

About Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.