Overcoming Writers Block – Causes and Cures

Writers block – arghhhh! This frustrating mental block is an inspiration zapper that we all experience every once in a while.

You get up in the morning, or start after lunch thinking you’re going to write something awesome to satisfy the days literary deadlines. You sit down, pen or keyboard in hand …. and wait for the starting intro to arrive … then … NOTHING, NADA. That bolt of inspiration you had the day before, often right before bed or a meeting, has evaporated into the ether. You’re stuck there, staring at paper or screen, sitting in the middle of a big pool of writers impotence!

Happens to us all and it sucks – it just sucks even more when it happens the day you’re rushing to meet a deadline, you are behind the ball and need to get that writing DONE!

It’s usually BECAUSE you are pushing yourself, the left side of your brain is telling you “you need to get this done ok” but your left, creative side is saying “hey I am artist dude, I need time and space to let the creative juices flow”.

Usually the left sides’ bullying tactics leave your creative side whimpering in the corner feeling beaten and abused! And the result is … well … nothing!

But there is a way past it – a way to de-incapacitate you when a mental block strikes. A temporarily uncooperative creative mind can be sparked into action again. I’ve had times that a mental block has rendered me useless for months (when writing a book).

I thought I was suffering from an lack of motivation, but really what I need was structure – a way to keep my left side happy and let loose the creative right brain side again.

Lost Motivation

Common reasons for writers block are:

  • Fear of sounding “cheap” or “unprofessional” (confidence)
  • Fear of failure ( insecurity)
  • Burnout (brain too busy and pre-occupied with too many things)
  • Perfectionism (who will judge me for this)

Worrying about what other people will think is inward focused. You can become outword and solution focused again by thinking about how you can help or serve people by writing the piece you want to create.

Make it about your reader, as if you were sitting next them, answering questions or telling them a story. If you can make it feel like a conversation, rather than an essay, you’ll release some of the pressure you feel.

How to fix Writer’s Block in a few easy steps:

  • Accept that the draft won’t be perfect
  • Use the chunk it method, write key points and/or bullets first, then fill in the explanation of what these are.
  • Just start – even if you think it sucks. You can go back to it later
  • Come back to your draft after a break. Preferably the next day. It is much easier to proof read your text when you have had some time away from it. Often if you do this, you’ll come back with a whole lot more inspiration and content to add. Sometimes I rewrite a whole article I wrote the day before, because I read the draft and that inspires me to clarify what I previously wrote. The second version is usually a lot better than the first
  • Create a list of questions your reader might ask you, what do they want, and what do they want to avoid?
  • Pose questions, then answer them

Confidence in your capability comes from experience, but it can also come from the response you get from your readers. If you help them and deliver value through your content, people don’t care so much about how well you write technically, but how they feel as a result of reading your content.

It’s all about how many ways you can offer value to your readers through your content.

About Mia Gordon

Mad marketing scientist, experimenter & tracking/analytics nut since 2003. Author of Copywriting Essentials For Content Marketing. See my full list of software, apps & tools that make online marketing life fun & easy!

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