Updated: 4 days ago
When you create content for a living, writer's block not only stifles your productivity, but also messes with your paycheck. Here's how I tackle the block and get to work.
As a freelance writer, the process of writing an article is pretty straightforward. With my current clients, it typically goes like this:
I'm assigned a topic.
I conduct research on said topic.
I build an article outline.
I start writing.
This system is highly effective for me. Unfortunately, it has yet to do anything to ease my daily case of writer's block. I still wake up in the morning and sit at my desk, only to stare at the blank Google document for a long stretch of time.
If I allowed it, I would sit in that chair for hours.
Luckily, I've been at this for long enough to figure out three steps that always help me break through the block and start writing.
Hopefully, these tips will help you as much as they help me, so you can get back to writing the content that only you can.
Write whatever comes to mind
The first thing I do when I notice myself zoning off into the land of no productivity is freewrite. The difference here is that I write nothing related to the article. Instead, I write random words.
The early drafts of many of my articles look like this:
Words. Words. Words. Words. Words. I am writing sentences down because I'm not sure what else to say. Writing words on paper. Words. Thinking of words and writing them down.
The idea is not to inspire myself to get started, but to get reacquainted with my keyboard.
I write on a daily basis, but those 6-8 hours of sleep can hinder my flow. By writing random words, I'm putting myself back into that state of flow where words come naturally.
Ask relevant questions
If the previous technique doesn't work (though it usually does), I ask myself important questions about the article.
The first question is: What point am I trying to make?
The second question is: Why should the reader care?
I try to be as detailed as possible with my answers. What I write might not make it into the article, and that's okay.
By asking and answering these questions I re-familiarize myself with my intent for the article. This helps me get ready to turn my thoughts into a cohesive piece of writing.
Go back to the drawing board
The more content I create, the more I notice that a terrible case of writer's block is usually related to my understanding of the topic.
This means that is the previous two techniques didn't work, it's time to do more research.
I may also reach out to my client and ask them questions about the assignment. My goal is to ensure that I fully understand what the client wants and deliver it.
Once I'm about the assignment and the topic, I go back to my outline and make the necessary changes.
Then I start writing.
These techniques are fairly simple, but they can be substantial source of help whenever your writing process is interrupted by writer's block. Try them out and let me know their effectiveness at getting back on the right track!