The Blinking White Dragon-Writer’s Block
No matter what your discipline…
- 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.
In this post, I would like to help shed some light and offer some tips and concepts to overcome this issue of how to fix Writers Block.
So 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 the content you were able to draw out from your chosen topic.
- Get it onto the page – This is the sloppy “first draft.” The ability to put anything on a blank page that expresses thoughts, ideas and concepts.
- Effectively outlining -Create headings and subheadings that foreshadows what you are going to discuss and start to place them in some orderly fashion.
- Edit, fine-tune the reader’s experience-Creating a 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.
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 skills 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, 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 on there own standards..but crap even so.
Just know that going forward you are truly are in good company.
You know how our writing becomes “like our babies” well understand that the first draft will be the UGLY ones, 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 is nothing but a way to flatline our creativity if not used for what it was intended for.
The inner voice editor is a necessary quality control mechanism that becomes our last line of defence before we press publish, it helps us become the greatest version of ourselves as writers.
Give the inner voice editor permission to work only after you get the first 3 steps out on the page from the writing 4 part process.
Once this becomes how you write, the inner editor will silence and let go to allow for creativity and flow.
It knows you will allow the inner editor off the chain once the work of splashing the thoughts onto a blank screen is done, and before you press publish.
Tip 3: Rapid Timed Writing-For Your Eyes Only.
Try writing for 10-30 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-in.
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 between 10-30 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 as to keep me engaged and focused on my writing. There are a number of APPs that you can download to your phone that have this service and its free.
Sometimes frustrating and feelings of foolishness creep out, but 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 is set up your mind for writing and being creative. Like a muscle, the more your access that creative space the easier it will get. If you are not exercising that creativity it will take much longer to break the block in your writing. To tap this powerful tool you must do It every day.
Remember the worst that can happen is if all your content is unusable simply, delete it!
Side Note To Self…
This is not a research or a fact-finding exercise, this is letting it all hang out and simply free write.
Tip 4: Feeling Stuck?
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 and trying to push, basically the brain gets maxed.
Go somewhere else, do something different and shift gears. this equals getting inspired again, by bringing it back to your writing the results will thank you.
Be sure to journal 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 with pen and paper, or on a smartphone app, just ensure you have the ability to capture ideas or inspirations whenever they present themselves.
“Men are of lofty genius when they are doing the least work and are the most active.” Leonardo Da Vinci
Tip 5: Get Inspiration Again.
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.
“You Cannot Wait For Inspiration …You Have To Go After It With A CLUB.” Jack London
Tip 6: Consistency Is Your Friend.
If, you want to make a writing career do not wait for inspiration, write consistently.
Make writing a habit and a pivotal part of your daily routine. Like a musical instrument, art or physical training it takes a lot of repetition. Once this happens you will feel compelled to write 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 Interruptions And Distractions.
Interruptions and distractions can pull you out of the flow and disrupt our ability to create good content and or copy.
Find a place to work, shut off all…
- Access to email and social media
- Tabs on your browser
This will avoid writer’s block because you are not being continuously side railed.
Place value on writing, 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
A lot of the writing platforms 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.
It 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 the content, like a plan before you travel on a trip from point A to point B.
If you are struggling with parts of the content that cannot be bridged and are dealing with writer’s block, go back to the outline and look to see if you can…
- Step back and make some new notes and flush out new ideas.
- Based on your outline figure out where you need to go next.
- Look at your headings and subheadings.
You have to know where you’re going if you want to get to a destination effectively or efficiently.
So an outline will make writer’s block a lot less stressful.
Tip 10: Fill Up Your Bucket.
You want to be a good writer…. read a lot!
It helps the mindset and creatively if you are trying to absorb not push out.
Pick a book and read one chapter a day.
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, it all counts.
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 and then add that knowledge to your own writing.
By reading to get the inspiration you can get ideas, techniques and confidence to work on the weaknesses you are trying to overcome.
Reading is one of the best resource tools a writer can have, and this works for any writer 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 writer’s block as a limiting belief to prevent you from reaching goals.
At the end of the day, if you are going to be a professional writer 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 interruptions and distractions.
- Set goals.
- Create an outline and a plan to base your writing on.
- Fill your bucket and read.
Now if all else fails…
Drink something before you start, it has a way of relaxing the anxiety of the whole situation.
A glass of whiskey or wine does wonder for my writer’s block.
Let me know if you have another way to slay this beast.
Please share, I would love to hear your questions and or comments.
Thanks for the moment.