Finding out Why You’re Stuck
This post is based on Episode 83 of the ProBlogger podcast.
This week I want to talk about the writer’s block.
I will actually be talking about it in the next few weeks. It’s such a common problem for bloggers, and it can really mess up your plans for a successful blog if you don’t learn how to hit it.
Note that I said “hit it” and not “avoid it” because I’m not sure if it is you can avoid it. Every writer will face this at some point, including myself. And so I would like to share some tips over the next few weeks and help you tackle it from different directions.
Some time ago I received an email from Sally asking:
“Do you have any tips for bloggers with a blogger block? I really want to take my blog to the next level, but I’m completely stuck. Every time I sit down to write, nothing comes. And the more it happens, the more I get more stress and the less the words seem to flow. “
I could almost feel Sally’s frustration when I read her email because, as I said, the writer’s block eventually hits us all. So I want to talk more about the subject and how you can get the words flowing again.
You have no idea
Over the years I have learned that there are different types of writer’s block. And the first step to beating it is to find out what type you’re actually dealing with.
The first type of writer’s block is what I call as Ideas obstacle. You sit at the keyboard ready to write, but have no idea what to write about.
I think this is the kind of writer’s block that Sally experienced when she wrote her email. She wants to write, but has trouble finding ideas about what to write about.
And this struggle can be extremely frustrating.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, it can be extremely difficult to think of something new to write about. You may even reach the point where you are convinced that you have written about any topic that you could possibly deal with in your niche. I’ve been blogging since 2004 and photography since 2007. So believe me when I say I know how you feel.
(Next week I’ll talk about different ways to break out of this mindset.)
The writing Not on the wall
The second type of writer’s block I’ve suffered from is hit the wallwhere you have a lot of ideas but can’t get into the rhythm of actually writing content.
And often it happens because you have too many ideas.
This is something I struggled with a lot when I started ProBlogger. I had so many ideas that I could write about that I couldn’t get into the river long enough to write about one of them.
It also happened when I tried to write all of my content at night. I know some of you think it’s the best time to write, but it’s a terrible time for me. I produce much better content in the morning.
Fortunately, the solution in this case was relatively simple. I simply reorganized my schedule so that I had more time to write in the morning. And depending on when you’re most productive, you may be able to overcome this type of writer’s block by doing the same.
I also started setting deadlines because I actually work pretty well when I have one.
I also tried to create an environment where you don’t get distracted so much. Instead of using my main computer, which keeps bombarding me with Skype and Slack messages, I used my other computer in a coffee shop where there was no internet. And although you might think a cafe is the last place to avoid distractions, the work there really helped me get into the river.
Of course it doesn’t have to be a café. Your local library may be ideal. You may even find that simply pulling the plug on your internet connection wherever you are doing the trick. You may also need to turn your phone off or into silent mode.
(I’ll talk more about this in the next week or two.)
The last type of writer’s block I want to talk about this week is what I call “Completion of constipation’, Where you’ll always start new posts but never end them.
And I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve struggled with it over the years.
I once logged into ProBlogger’s WordPress dashboard and found 93 design posts that I obviously started but never ended. I also had a notebook full of ideas I wanted to write about and documents on my computer that contained bullets from posts.
I had no problems developing ideas, outlines or titles for blog posts, which seems to be an enviable position. But for some reason, I was really struggling to finish one of my ideas.
When I talk about it, I ask my audience to share how many blog post drafts they are in her WordPress installation. And I’m always amazed at how many people admit to having 50, 100, or even 200 semi-written blog posts. The problem seems to be that we all have so many ideas that we keep giving up on what we’re doing and moving on to the next one.
For me, the solution was to spend a little more time each week filling out, polishing, and publishing all of these half-written posts. (I’ll talk more about that in the next week or two.)
What’s stopping you?
Where are she to get stuck? Do you have problems developing ideas? Do you find it difficult to get into the flow of writing? Or do you have a long list of unfinished posts? Let us know in the comments.
And if you have any further suggestions on how to overcome the writer’s block, please let us know.
Photo by Aubrey Rose Odom on Unsplash