Sometimes we just don’t feel like writing.
(I know, right?)
What are you supposed to do when the siren calls of Instagram, a tasty snack charcuterie board or organizing a messy zone are louder than that blank Google doc?
Enter: the dreaded case of writer’s block.
As a dietitian copywriter, I have had my own struggles with writer’s block. And let me tell you: it isn’t fun.
But I also know that you can work through it. It isn’t about being mean to yourself, but rather finding what emotional issue is in the way of your brain being able to connect with the right words.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through some common causes of writer’s block and my suggestions to work through it (and to get that writing done!).
First off: let’s do a quick definition of what writer’s block is.
What is writer’s block?
If you’re new to the term, you might be wondering what writer’s block is.
Writer’s block is when you’re stuck and can’t write.
It’s not about a lack of skill, but about feeling unable to share your thoughts or come up with any ideas.
It can happen because of stress, doubting yourself, or wanting to be perfect. It can last for a few hours or days and the closer you are to a deadline, the harder it can be. It’s something all of us writers face at some point.
The right solution for how to fix writer’s block depends on what the actual hold-up is.
Time for a bit of detective work.
Problem: You’re feeling hella overwhelmed. Not good for writing!
Solution: Get clarity on exactly what you have to do today so that you can make a list.
Write some really easy things on the list, even if you’ve already done them so that you can cross them off and get that boost of confidence. (Brushed those teeth girl? Woot! Cross it off!)
It can also be helpful to redirect your brain away from overwhelm. Write down three things that you’re grateful for and give yourself a reminder of all of the cool and difficult things that you’ve done in the past. You figured out those things, you can figure out new things too!
Having a reminder of those accomplishments can help to squash the overwhelm//imposter syndrome combo.
Problem: Your brain isn’t ready to work (yet).
Solution: Give her a boost!
Take a walk, drink a big glass of water (not just coffee, y’all), and turn on the right music. This ADHD music has been so helpful for my brain lately.
Having a morning routine can really help your brain and body transition into real work mode, which is especially important when you work from home.
It is also important to pay attention to when your mind feels the most able to work. Some of us are early birds, some of us are night owls. Protect the time that your brain feels the most alive and schedule your writing blocks in those windows.
Problem: You don’t know what to do first
Solution: decide ahead of time.
It is worth building the habit of having your schedule of tasks and priorities decided before the workday begins.
If you start your day with the workflow already in mind, that precious morning focus and energy goes into doing the work instead of deciding what to do.
Problem: You’re feeling stuck in the mud.
Solution: Limit your time to work on something so you have to get going.
Set a timer, put on music that helps you to focus, close those other tabs, and dive in.
I also sometimes use voice-to-text to write instead of typing things out. It can be faster to get work done, and that progress is a great mental boost. In Chrome, when you have a Google Doc open, you can find the free voice-to-text in the tools drop-down menu. It isn’t perfect, but it is free. If you really like this kind of tool, there are paid tools that are a bit more accurate.
You don’t know where to start
Solution: start in the middle!
Sometimes the beginning of a piece can feel like the most challenging. So don’t start there! Pick the section that feels the easiest and flush that out. Once you’re more warmed up, you can jump to another section and finish that more easily. You can always finish the intro, and the title, later.
Problem: You’ve been through it.
Solution: Give yourself grace.
Your best right now, in this messy season, might just look different than what your best looks like another time when you’re better rested, you’ve had time to recharge and your kiddo is in daycare more often than he’s home sick with yet another plague…speak to yourself kindly and be gentle with your expectations.
Problem: Your Mindset
Solution: Keep growing.
Our brain is trying to protect itself from anything that might hurt us…and getting outside of our comfort zone can feel really scary.
Keeping us safe might sound like the way to go, 100% of the time but in actuality, never taking any risks is a recipe for leading a life that is pretty darn small. You’re capable of great things with some practice, and making mistakes along the way is totally normal.
Approach writing with curiosity more than set expectations and the whole process will be a lot more fun (and probably faster, to boot).
Problem: You’re studying too much
Hear me out: we need to be evidence-based in our writing. But…sometimes we spend so much time researching that it is actually a stalling technique because we’re afraid to click publish.
The truth is that we can never be 100% accurate so this over-zealous researching and reworking a blog article is our brain trying to protect us from internet trolls, but it won’t actually work.
Better to get that blog out there helping the folks you’re trying to help.
Problem: You’re writing for the wrong client (or the wrong price)
Solution: Listen to your gut.
Great writing happens when you’re working with clients you love at prices that feel great. I don’t want to get too crunchy granola with you, but I think of money more in the vein of energy. When things are right, the exchange of energy feels great! Your client is ever-so-grateful for your hard work and their payment to you makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
If you discover that you’re undercharging, you’ll feel resentful as you write (or stall on Instagram). Take note of these feelings and change what you can as soon as you can. We all tend to undercharge at the beginning but you’re the boss of your business and can learn to be your own best advocate.
Problem: You need accountability
Solution: Get support!
No one has judgment about an athlete investing in coaching to expand their skills or a person hiring a personal trainer for accountability as they develop the skills and confidence to exercise more independently.
…why would an entrepreneur be any different?
Coaches help us to get where we’re going faster, through inspiration, skill building, and accountability. With coaching, we can make our journey more efficient (and even more fun).
If you’re ready to build your writing skills and to be able to blow through writer’s block, you’re invited to join the waitlist for when the doors open again to The RD Blog Club. As a member of The RD Blog Club, you’ll have the support and accountability to publish one good blog post, each and every month.