The Blinking White Dragon-Writer’s Block
No matter what your discipline, veteran or newcomer …..
- Website content writer
- Screenplay writer
At some point in our professions we all experience, and will have to learn to slay this beast of burden concerning
“How to fix Writers Block“
In this post, I would like to help shed some light and offer some tips and concepts so to overcome this issue…
Grab your weapon of choice and let’s make some ground.
What We Do As Writer’s Is A 4 Part Process
- Give shape to an idea– Brainstorm/researching and mapping out what you want to say with ideas and concepts
- Get it onto the page – This is the sloppy “first draft” writing and the ability to put ANYTHING on a blank page making sure those words express thoughts and ideas and ensuring you just free write.
- Effectively outlining with headings and subheadings that foreshadows what you are going to discuss.
- Edit, fine-tune the reader’s experience (with the help of the inner voice editor) and the polished end product.
Writer’s block happens when you try to “BLEND the 4 Parts.”
What Is Writer’s Block & The White Dragon?
Well like it sounds this “white dragon” is that “something” that blocks the ability to create, and in our world of being writers having to come up with quality content that offers value, create engagement and helps the end-user on a regular basis, not being able to produce and publish on a regular basis can be a game-changer.
You can have all the skill needed, all the SEO/marketing tech tools and knowledge etc, but if you cannot get your material out of your head and onto the paper NOTHING will move forward.
Tips And Concepts On How To Tame The Blinking White Lizard…
Tip 1: What Causes Writer’s Block?
Put it in a word it simply is the need for wanting “Perfection.“
Understand that “Perfection” doesn’t exist we are all a “work in progress” So embracing the mindset of “progress over perfection” will serve you much better.
All the great writers needed to start somewhere, if we would be privileged to read first drafts of some of our favourite writers we would all agree that it would be crap. (Different levels of crap based on who the writer is and based on there own higher standards..but crap even so.)
Know that going forward you are truly are in good company.
You know how our work becomes “like our babies” well understand that the first draft will be the UGLY ones.
So eliminate the wanting to create perfection and focus on progress.
“The First Draft Of Anything Is S@$#.” Ernest Hemingway
Tip 2: The Inner Voice Editor
This is the voice inside your head that is going
“This is awful” or…
- “That sentence is terrible”…
- “Why did you choose that idea”…
- “You are not good at this”….
- “Stop now you are going to look foolish”…
Now this need for perfection and the inner voice editor are nothing but a way to flatline our creativity if not used for what it has been intended for.
The inner voice editor is a necessary “quality control” mechanism that becomes our last line of defence before we press publish. Its help us become the greatest version of ourselves as writers
How To Silence That “Inner Voice Editor” When You DO NOT Need It.
Give it permission yes….. to work AFTER you get the first THREE process out on the page from the “writing 4 part process.”
Give it permission so to allow the inner voice editor off the chain and edit to its heart’s content.
Once this becomes you’re writing process that inner voice editor will silence and let go so to allow for creativity to flow because it knows that its “quality control” process can run amok AFTER the work of splashing the thoughts onto a blank screen and before you press “publish.”
Tip 3: Rapid Timed Writing-For”Your Eyes Only“
Try Writing for either 3-13 or 30 min in a stretch
Something about “timed writing” and focus that helps with the breaking down of the writer’s block, freelancers have to write using timers regularly so to accurately bill their clients for there time spent working and some writing platforms even have timers built into the platform.
Open up your favourite doc analysis and editing tool that you like to use
- Hemingway Editor
- Google Docs
- IA Writer
- Microsoft Word
Set a timer for either 3-13 or 30 minutes and give yourself permission to write ANYTHING and that includes GARBAGE.
You can use background sounds on a headset if that helps your focus (On my writing template I have a place where I can play sounds through my earbuds so to keep me engaged and focused on my writing)
This is one of the best ways to fight through the writer’s block and it is NOT easy.
Certain sometimes frustrating and feelings of foolishness creep out if you commit to putting words down on a page, “No matter what“you will see success and results.
Again do not worry about the content, quality/spelling or grammar only focus on getting words down on paper.
Something is always better than nothing you can always come back and edit on a page full of content but you cannot edit a blank screen.
What this does are set up your mind for writing and being creative. The more your access that creative space the easier it will be to access. But like a muscle, if you are not exercising that space it will take much longer to break the block.
But to tap this powerful tip you must do It EVERY DAY
Remember the worst that can happen is if all your printed is unusable …..DELETE IT……(God is good.)
Side Note To Self
This is NOT doing research or a fact-finding exercise for your writing, this is letting it ALL hang out and write for the simple sake of writing.
Tip 4: If You Are Feeling Stuck Should You Try Again Another Day?
Yes, but you should do something else:
“Men are of lofty genius when they are doing the least work and are the most active.” Leonardo Da Vinci
Watch a movie, go somewhere else, play guitar, listen to music, get inspiration from being around different people.
The concept here is that your oversaturated your mind with one task your keep trying to push yourself towards being a WEBMASTER and your basically maxed your brain with regard to this experience of the technical writing and/or marketing.
GO somewhere else, do something different and shift Gears. = getting inspired again. And bring it back to your writing your creativity and results will thank you.
Be Sure To Journal Ideas As Often As Possible.
Have a place to capture all your ideas when they come, so to add them to your work even when you are not working.
This can be done on a pen and paper notepad, or on a smartphone app. Just ensure to have the ability to capture ideas and or inspirations whenever they present themselves.
And speaking of Inspiration…
Tip 5: Get Inspiration Again
“You Cannot Wait For Inspiration …You Have To Go After It With A CLUB.” Jack London
If you think that writer’s block will fix itself and inspiration will come to you, truly you are optimistic but mistaken. (We all get in ruts.)
In fact, waiting to get inspired is a surefire way to get NOTHING accomplished AT ALL. This can come from the standpoint of sitting in the same room, in the same chair, at the same time sometimes not a lot of inspiration. Change something, change anything … This might be the thing you need to stimulate those creative juices that are lacking.
- A change of location
- A change of scenery
- A change of time in the day
All these are the benefits of a laptop lifestyle…
Tip 6: Consistency IS Your Friend
If, you want to make writing a career do NOT WAIT for inspiration, write CONSISTENTLY.
Make writing a HABIT and a pivotal part of your routine. It takes a lot of reputation to get activity into a habit but once this happens you will feel compelled to write (like a musical instrument, art or gym training) and writer’s block will become a rare occurrence.
This will make you more productive and greatly decrease the frequency of writer’s block. Train the mind to focus on your writing every single day, it will not matter if you are unmotivated or insecure, adding something to the work of writing daily sharpens skills which in turn will allow Writers Block to fade away.
So if you have not reached the point where not writing for a day or two feels very unnatural, you are not being consistent enough.
At the end of the day if there is no discipline to write you will never get out of you’re writing slump.
Tip 7: Avoid Distractions And Interruptions
I know this might sound cliche but…
The distractions can pull you out of the flow and disrupt our ability to create some good content and or copy. Find a place that you can work, shut off all distractions.
- Social media
- Tabs on your browser
This will avoid writer’s block because you are not being continuously side railed.
Place value on you’re writing even if other people around do not understand or see that value ..YET.
So ask for that respect when you need to go to battle
Tip 8: Set Writing Goals
This involves shooting for x-amount of words a day, or games like “do not break the chain”
Break The Chain
Set some words per day to reach with you’re writing, and every day you reach that goal place and “X” on the calendar, and see how long you can keep it moving without “breaking the chain.”
Rewarding yourself with something as a treat that you can indulge in IF the writing goals are met, a favourite food, or a tech toy or new book etc.
Word Count Goals On Your Writing Platform
A lot of the writing platform’s have word count goal sections where you can set how many words you would like to create daily, weekly, monthly etc this is a nice way of holding yourself accountable.
Tip 9: Creating An Outline
First off outlining is an ESSENTIAL “tool” for writing.
Helps in the efficiency and effectiveness of work behind the keys.
If you can get to a point where you do any type of outlines at all you are already miles ahead of most writers, who in my experience do not do any type of outlining.
So outlining is a GOOD THING.
An outline is a PLAN of how you are going to structure this content. Just like a plan before you travel on a trip from point A to point B, same concept.
If, you are struggling with part’s of content that cannot be breached and are dealing with writer’s block, go back to the outline it’s probably not been flushed out enough with ideas.
- Step back and make some notes
- Do a new outline so to figure out where you need to go next
- Foreshadowing the content you want to write about in your headings and subheadings
- Ensure you reestablish flow so to make the read enjoyable
You have to know where you’re going if you want to get to a destination effectively or efficiently.
So an outline and flushing out those ideas will make writer’s block a lot less stressful.
Tip 10: Fill Up Your Bucket-Read Something!!
It helps the mindset and creatively if you are trying to “absorb not push out.”
Pick a book and read ONE chapter a day.
You have not put enough into your head so for content to emerge from your fingertips you have to put something In.
Writers are getting work done as much when they are not writing as when they are.
As long as you are working on skills even walking and capturing ideas all Counts.
You want to be a good writer READ…A LOT.
If something is not going as it should in you’re writing READ or look at other people’s work, and see how the successful ones carry out what they do…get inspired (like watching guitar players play) and then add that knowledge to your own writing.
By reading so to get inspiration can get ideas, techniques and confidence to work on the weaknesses you are trying to overcome.
Reading is some of the best tools, a writer can have in there tools box… Period
And this works for any writers issue….
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You Are NOT Allowed To Use Writers Block As An Excuse.
Do you know the term “fighters fight.“
Well “writers’ write.“
You simply are not allowed to use this as a limiting belief to prevent you from reaching goals.
Imagine if a surgeon going into surgery is saying “oh man I cannot do surgery today for I have a block.”
At the end of the day if you are going to be a professional the luxury of having writer’s block is not an option …
“All Writing Is Difficult But Amazing With What You Do IF You Refuse To Give Up.” Octavia E Butler
So To Review
- Progress over perfection
- Unleash the “Inner voice editor” only when needed
- Rapid timed writing
- Go and DO anything else but come back to the writing
- Find your inspiration again
- Be consistent
- Avoid distractions
- Set goals
- Create an outline and a plan to base your writing on
- Fill your bucket-read
Now if all else fails… drink something before you start, it has a way of relaxing that anxiety of the whole saturation.
A glass of whiskey does wonders for my writer’s block.
Let me know if you have another way to slay this beast.
Please share, would love to hear your questions and or comments.
Thanks for the moment.