Overcoming writer’s block when the writing fairies never come

Don't wait for inspiration

Maybe you run an absurdly successful business and keep an immaculate home, all while raising a pack of future astrophysicists who can also dance and sing. Perhaps you write newsletters in your sleep and eat distractions for breakfast. Or maybe you’re like the rest of us and overcoming writer’s block is a real problem for you. Perhaps you’re a hard-working person with entirely too much on your plate and an unfortunate ratio of ambition (gobs) to time (sobs).

If you’re in the latter camp, you might relate to the following confession: I sometimes struggle to create content. Yes, I sometimes have no idea what to write — on the blog, for the newsletter, as my Twitter status. Or I don’t have time.

Barring a sudden infiltration of my office by writing fairies (which would be swell), this problem will probably haunt me forever. So, the question is: How can I — and you — learn to overcome writer’s block and create excellent content ANYWAY?

Overcoming Writer's Block Tips

Establish a regular schedule

I used to struggle with what to fix for dinner — until I started meal planning. Every Sunday, I write down five meals and the necessary ingredients. Then I go shopping and stock my kitchen accordingly. I know that I’ll cook five times, do leftovers once, and splurge on takeout once. Week planned.

I like this system because it isn’t too Planny McPlannerson. But it works. And a similar system can apply to your content creation efforts:

  • Decide how often you will blog or send an email newsletter.
  • At the beginning of each content cycle, whether it’s a week or a month, choose some topics that will be useful to your audience and write them down.
  • Deliver the content as planned, even if you don’t feel inspired.

Set some simple goals for each piece of content

OK, let’s say you’ve decided to write an email on an amazing new service your company offers. Answer these questions:

  • What do you want your audience to know about the service? Are there any important facts or distinguishing features?
  • How do you want to your audience to feel about you, your business, and the new service? Do you want to be seen as an expert? A warm and inviting business?
  • What do you want your audience to do? What’s your call to action?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you have a basic recipe for your content.

Overcoming writer’s block: Don’t wait for inspiration

Friends, if you wait for inspiration — or the writing fairies — you (and your audience) are going to be waiting for a long time. Sure, inspiration sometimes strikes, but most of the time, it’s just you and a blank screen. And that can feel pretty lonely.

Years ago, I read something in a positive psychology book that stuck with me. It went something like this: action leads to motivation, which in turn leads to more action.

ACTION ⇒ INSPIRATION ⇒ ACTION

In other words, if you pound out a draft (and maybe sleep on it), you’ll probably feel inspired to make improvements. Heck, you may even throw out the first draft and create something amazing. Then won’t you be pleased with yourself?


Also published on Medium.

Image by: Lulu_Sunset via Visual Hunt / CC BY