Writer’s Block Sucks: Always Win With These 3 Simple Tips11 min read

Content Marketing October 22, 2021 7 min read

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Writer’s Block Sucks: Always Win With These 3 Simple Tips11 min read

Reading Time: 7 minutes

“Once upon a time, something happened. The end.”

A story by the dude who gave in to writer’s block.

Are you a content marketing writer? A screenwriter? An occasional blogger? 

If you’re any kind of writer, you’ll have been there.

The irony of this blog post is that I had major writer’s block writing it. I usually start my writing routine with the intro, but it was not happening this time.

Because of that, I had to use all 3 of these tips to test them out. And let me tell you, they really do work!

Lucky, eh?

Source: GIPHY

As tested by myself, here’s how you overcome writer’s block:

  1. Step away from the screen
  2. Freewrite about any topic
  3. Read other people’s content

What is writer’s block, and why does it happen?

If you’re Googling it, you’re probably in the middle of it.

Maybe you’re stuck on a blank page. Or you’re struggling to finish the first draft. 

Either way, you’ve got a creative block. The words aren’t flowing.

Anyone in a creative writing role will experience it at some stage. It could be a blog post or short story – you try to brainstorm, but nothing comes to you.

So, why does writer’s block happen?

Well, there are lots of reasons. 

Some of the most common causes of writer’s block are:

  1. External pressure and deadlines
  2. Too much self-criticism
  3. Striving for perfection
  4. Low motivation

You might be thinking, “yeah, that’s me!” 

But you’re not here to relate. You’re here to learn how to beat it.

Beating writer’s block isn’t as hard as you think

You may have planned it all out so well. 

You’ve been revising your topic using your favorite learning style. Mind mapping. You have a writing schedule. But the writer’s block still gets ya.

Staring into the creative abyss can feel like it’ll never end. But it can be pretty easy to switch your brain back to being productive.

There are plenty of how-to guides to overcome writer’s block that list tons of tips.

Source: ConvertKit

That’s great and all, but you’ve got a deadline! And most of those tips are pretty much variations of the same thing.

In reality, you only need these 3:

  1. Step away from the screen
  2. Freewrite about any topic
  3. Read other people’s content

Each can take as much or as little time as you need to get the creative juices flowing again.

Let’s get started!

1. Step away from the screen to beat writer’s block

This is an easy one: Just. Stop. Writing. 

For now, anyway.

If you’ve been constantly flicking between Google Docs and social media for the past hour, this means you. Step away from the screen, my friend.

Source: GIPHY

It’s well known that staring at a screen for too long can give you headaches and eye strain. But did you know it can cause fatigue too?

When we look at screens, it’s harder for our eyes to focus. The tiny muscles get tired way quicker.

We also blink less, according to this Optometry professor:

“When we read a book, our average for blinking is 16 times per minute, but when we look at a screen we do not blink as frequently…”

Dry eyes, too, huh? That doesn’t set you up for creativity.

So, what can be done?

Firstly, keep the 20-20-20 rule in mind. 

Every 20 minutes, take a break from your screen. Then look at something for 20 seconds that’s 20 feet away.

If that doesn’t help, you need to step away for longer.

Writer’s block = take a walk

Remember this rhyme: writer’s block = take a walk.

Professional writers are usually masters of procrastination. The internet makes it even easier to be.

It’s a way of putting off whatever task you have ahead of you.

Going for a walk might sound like you’re doing just that. But get this – Stanford University found that walking increased a person’s creative output by 60%. 

Indoors or outdoors, it doesn’t matter!

Of course, fresh air and nature are always beneficial. But Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple) was known for his walking meetings indoors.

The study found that creative thinking improves while (and shortly after) a person is walking.

So, turn off your screen, take a walk, and get those creative thoughts flowing again.

2. Freewrite about any topic you like

This next tip is a method a lot of great writers use. But it might seem a bit strange at first.

Freewriting is a writing strategy created by Peter Elbow in the ‘70s. It’s similar to brainstorming, but it’s written in sentence and paragraph form without stopping.

Source: UIS

It can be about anything. 

Been to New York recently? Write about that.

The key is to keep your pen or fingers moving and don’t go back to change anything.

If that still doesn’t make sense, here are some dos and don’ts that should help.

Do Don’t
Write down every idea about your topic as it comes into your head Edit anything (no matter how weird!)
Write in sentence and paragraph form Worry about spelling or grammar
Keep your hands moving Stop until you hit your time limit
Around 20 minutes writing Expect results every time

How does freewriting help with writer’s block?

As author Ray Bradbury said:

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t ‘try’ to do things. You simply ‘must’ do things.”

Freewriting is one of the most popular writing exercises for beating the block. Purely because it involves writing without judgment.

You’re opening yourself up to loads of new ideas that you might be too self-critical to include otherwise.

You end up focusing on the writing itself, not what other people will think of it.

Some of the benefits of freewriting are:

  • It focuses your attention
  • There will be tons of writing prompts that you can develop after
  • You’ll feel more organized and inspired by the end
  • It can jump-start creativity
  • It’s awesome for new writers to learn copywriting
  • You’ll find your flow and improve over time

It’s all about getting whatever is in your brain on paper or screen. Even if you’re starting with, “I really don’t know what to write.”

Out with the old thoughts and in with the new.

Who knows? You might even get inspired for a whole new writing project!

3. How to overcome writer’s block by reading other people’s content

The last of our writing tips involves switching from creating to absorbing.

Did you know that reading has been proven to help you relax?

A recent study found that reading a book or newspaper for just 6 minutes lowered people’s stress levels by 68%. That’s pretty awesome.

A lot of the time, writer’s block comes from stress.

Things like:

  • Upcoming deadlines
  • Worrying that this could be the worst thing you’ve ever written
  • Thinking you have nothing in the fridge for dinner

By moving away from your work, you’re immediately removing the pressure on you.

When we’re relaxed, our brain produces a specific type of brain wave called “alpha” waves. In 2015, a study found that these brain waves could trigger a surge in creativity!

So, when we’re more relaxed, we’re more creative.

No such thing as reader’s block

For most of us, images appear in our heads when we read. Or it sparks thought and ideas. Or both.

Pretty much what’s missing and what all writers struggle with during writer’s block.

This Medium article agrees:

“Unshackle yourself from the chains of writer’s block. Pick up a book. Start inhaling the words. Feel the language and meaning replenish your writing tank.”

Some people use it as a writing tool for thinking of new ideas. Why not try highlighting certain sections that interest you and make some notes on potential topics?

As a bonus, the more you read, the bigger your vocabulary gets. 

Think of how much easier it would be to get through the writing process if you knew more words?

Pick up a book. Read an article. Find an interesting blog post.

Add it to your creative process.

Don’t have time to trawl through Google? That’s ok.

That’s why we created Quuu Discover – to put all the interesting content in one place. 

Choose categories that interest you the most and find a ton of high-quality content to read, watch, and listen to right now.

Here’s the ad, so you get the gist:

Still a tad unsure? Here’s a blog post with 10 things one of our content managers learned from reviewing Quuu content to inspire you.

Don’t say we’re not good to you!

Conclusion

Well, kids. Maybe you’ve gotten to the end of this post, and you’ve already snapped out of it.

You’ve been inspired by the witty remarks and clever quotes. (It is tip #3, after all!)

If not, that’s ok too. You’ve made it to the conclusion, which means you haven’t tried the first 2 tips – yet!

Time to take a screen break. Maybe have a go at some old-school freewriting with a pen and paper while you’re at it. 

The main takeaway in all this? Don’t fret if you’re struggling to be creative.

Inspiration is usually just around the corner.

When was the last time you had writer’s block? Do you have any methods to beat it? We’d love to learn more!

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Writer’s Block Sucks: Always Win With These 3 Simple Tips
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Writer’s Block Sucks: Always Win With These 3 Simple Tips
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Writer's block can feel like it’ll never end. But it's pretty easy to switch your brain back to being productive with these 3 tips.
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Quuu
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