Writer’s Block can be one of the most frustrating things a writer (blogger, author, whatever!) can experience. It’s already hard enough to be a writer, but when you are totally devoid of ideas it can feel almost insurmountable. I’ve been there which is exactly why I’ve written this article on the best writer’s block cures.
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In this post, I share specific writing tips to get you writing again. You will be able to get back on track in no time with the writer’s block cures I introduce here. So let’s dig in.
PS…I am a travel blogger – specifically focused on business travel. But, I also write about blogging in general, and writing, overall. Feel free to poke around the rest of my blog and find some great travel hacks for your next trip, or some blog tips!
Definition of Writer’s Block
According to Wikipedia.com, Writer’s Block is “a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history, writer’s block has been a documented problem.”
Or in other words…you are stuck. You’ve got nothin’ to say. No breakthroughs. Just a big fat case of nuthin’.
As a fellow writer, I’ve been effected by writer’s block at times. It’s incredibly frustrating. Discouraging, really. All writers experience it at some point – even the greats! For example, in Daniel Kolitz’s “10 Cases of Extreme Writer’s Block” he describes the ineffable Truman Capote as having “…spent the last ten years of his life pretending to write a novel that was never there.”
Writer’s Block Cures – the 2 Biggies
It’s been my personal experience that there are 2 primary cures to writer’s block:
- Read More
- Start Writing
I will also share a few extra (6 to be precise) writer’s block cures after these 2, but let’s jump into the two biggies, first.
Writer’s Block Cure #1: Read More
The first writer’s block cure is deceptively simple, but incredibly powerful. Start reading.
Yes, that’s it. Start reading.
When I am stuck, I start to read.
I will consume incredible amounts of text. From magazines, to blogs, to books, you name it. Fiction, non-fiction, and more. Get your hands on everything you can.
While reading content in your particular genre (e.g. travel blogging, which is what I focus on presently), don’t be afraid to expand your interests. For example, in my favorite book series of all time, The Lord of Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien…guess what the main characters do? They travel…
They stay in inns, they camp. They have travel problems and more. All fodder for more articles in my genre.
All kinds of inspiration there. It’s funny how the brain works, and by simply reading you activate your imagination.
Of course, reading your competitors is great too. If you run a travel adventure blog (I don’t, btw), then find someone like Nomadic Matt (a famous travel blogger) and see what and how he does what he does. Inspiration will start to creep in.
If you run a mommy blog, go check out famous mommy blogger’s like Scary Mommy…and start to get inspired.
From a purely blogging perspective, there’s a side benefit to researching and reading your competitors. One of the key blog tips experts often espouse is to find something your competitor did…and do it better.
My mom writes children’s books and at her house you will find stacks and stacks of children’s book she checked out from the library. She’s doing research. Getting the idea mill churning.
So…the single most important writer’s block cure is that simple…start reading.
By the way, if you are looking for inspiration on what to read, here’s a few ideas that I’ve written about in the past:
- 47 Best Travel Books of all Time – the Ultimate List of Books to Read while Traveling
- The Ultimate List of the Best Travel Blogs – 2018 Edition
Writer’s Block Cure #2: Start Writing
The 2nd most important writer’s block cure is far more daunting because it’s the thing that you are blocked from doing. Start–to–write.
Think about it. You are not blocked from actually, physically writing. You can do that. You just don’t have any good ideas.
Immediately on the heels of reading, I will start to write. Whatever comes to mind.
It’s usually shite…but that’s ok. I am just writing. I am physically starting the process. I may not get far. I may ultimately toss it, but I am doing it.
Take a break, read some more, then start back at it again. Keep writing. Push the keyboard keys, or make your wrist tired with your inkwell.
Pro Tip: Try to write about something outside of your core niche or genre. Maybe try your hand at poetry. You see the trick here is to kick start that artistic inspirational lever in your brain. Then, once it’s started, swing it back over to your preferred niche.
Soon, the combination of reading more and starting to write will gel. You will have a breakthrough. Something will come.
It may not be the next Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Capote, again), but it could be enough to get you to the NEXT thing.
Are you interested in improving your writing style and techniques? If you are a non-fiction writer, there is a book that will change your writing life. In William Zinsser’s seminal work, On Writing Well, you get a frank, direct and break taking brilliant kick in the teeth on how to be a better writer. If you read no other writing book, read this one. You can get it here.
Additional Writer’s Block Cures
Ok, let’s lay out a few more writer’s block cures for you. If you are still stuck and reading and actually writing still aren’t getting it done, here’s a few more cures to writer’s block you might find helpful:
- Go search for some memes related to your genre. Humor is a big source of inspiration and memes are instantly related pop culture connections between the universe and your pain. For example, I often create travel memes and blog memes, both of which share the funny agony of life on the road and the life of blogger, both of which are far less glamorous than I’d like. Go find some memes…or maybe create some!
- Write about your writer’s block. Lean into that pain, man! Like a journal almost, put your pain on paper and memorialize it. Who knows…you may even get inspired to write an article about writer’s block. Ahem… 😉
- Exercise – I personally do not find this helpful (as a writer’s block cure), but many others report that it can be helpful in stimulating the brain which can help you access the creative nerve center you are trying to find.
- Fire up your Music. I personally DO find this cure helpful. Again, it’s about accessing the artistic parts of your brain and then harnessing them towards your niche. Music can be powerful and evoke memories, inspire and more. So go crank up your favorite Metallica album (my fav…nothing like a little death metal to get you ready to write an article about Kid’s Travel Tips) or some Stevie Wonder.
- Smoke some…nevermind. 🙂
- Go hang out with a buddy – especially someone who gets your niche. I had a friend who was as weird as I was. We’d stay up late in the night drinking coffee, smoking (cigs!) and talking about philosophy. It was incredibly inspirational (and expensive).
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Final Thoughts on Writer’s Block Cures
If you were suffering from a major writer’s blockage before you started this article I hope you now see a glimmer of hope. I have no doubt you will get through this bout of writer’s block if you employ the writer’s block cures I’ve laid out here. Good luck…and go pick up a book!
Also…since you are obviously a writer, here are some other great blog tips and blog tricks that you might find helpful:
- 3 Critical Blog Tips for Greater Blogging Success
- Blogging for Beginners – The 9 Biggest Blogging Mistakes I Made When Starting a Blog
- Blogging Memes – funny memes about the blogging life
- A Daily Blogging Checklist – 10 Things to Do Every Day for your Blog (in 2 hours)
- Travel Blog Tips: 6 Ways for Travel Bloggers to Drive More Blog Traffic
- 7 Practical Gifts for Travel Bloggers
And, yes, I am serious, you need to buy Zinsser’s book, On Writing Well. I am telling you, it will change your life.