Writer's block happens to all of us (trust me, I'm a writer). It's especially hard when you're under a deadline, self-imposed or not, to get something written. There are so many techniques that you can use to get unstuck, from taking a walk to meditating. But what happens the next time, the time after that, and the time after that? Sure, daily activity and meditation is important, but without a plan, you'll be feeling the block.
One of my favorite podcasters, Nicole Antoinette, mentioned a while ago that she has a “guide” to taking care of herself when she finds herself in a depressive spell. She’ll break out the guide, basically like “The Care and Keeping of Nicole,” so it makes the process of digging herself out of the hole really simple for her.
Many times, when we’re in it, we can’t easily get ourselves out of it. Having a guide, or a plan, in place the next time writer’s block strikes can make it easier for you to get out of this since you’ve done the work beforehand and you can just autopilot your way through it.
When it comes to being stuck for content, I like to ask myself a few questions to get the juices flowing again. Add some of these to your guide and get back to creating.
What have I been reading lately?
It's been said that to be a good writer, you have to be a prolific reader. I take a lot of writing inspiration from what I read. Many times, I’ll read something that I want to share because it’s a great topic and other people will probably benefit from it.
This happened after I read Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu (which you can read about here) I’ll also write a response, take the argument further, or use it to inform another topic I want to write (Quit or Make it Work, anyone?)
What do I want to learn more about?
Not a big reader? Ask yourself what you want to learn more about, then research that topic in a way you enjoy. Talk to someone who is an expert, try your hand at it yourself, listen to a podcast. All of these are informative while also being entertaining. Before you realize it, you’ll be flush with ideas simply because you got out and did something.
What am I good at that I can share with other people?
The hardest part of writer’s block is that your mind will tell you that all of your ideas are crap, even when they aren’t. Don’t listen to it!
Instead, ask yourself what you can talk about for ages that you know you’re an expert in or can at least write convincingly about.
Try recording yourself talking to someone about this topic instead of jumping into writing. Having a conversation is a great way both to use your words and get back into a creative flow state without feeling like you’re working too hard at it.
And then, you have ideas fresh in your mind because you were just talking about them. Add some structure to your conversation to turn it into a blog post, ebook, or website copy.
What's lacking in my life?
I find it hard to write as an authority when I don't have the evidence to back it up. It's hard to write a post called "Steal My Twitter Posting Strategy for Massive Success!!" if most of your leads come from Instagram.
In other words, I feel like When You Give a Mouse a Cookie; in order to feel like an authority writing that post, I feel like I have to have done it myself. And that requires me to setting aside the time to get my shit together, schedule some things for myself, do it consistently, then write the post....sometime later. Even if I have tons of evidence from my clients, because I haven't personally done it, I feel like a fraud guiding you to doing it. But I digress.
Knowing what's lacking helps you understand a) why it's important to write this post now and b) gives you a jumping off point to get active.
The most important part is to remember the rule Create Before You Consume. Dedicate some time to making something, even if it’s entirely unrelated to writing, before you reach for your phone and start scrolling through Instagram (I know, easier said than done!)
The act of doing is so beneficial. It gets things flowing for yourself without letting outside influences impose upon your ideas. Make something, anything, without judgement to get in a state of creation again, then break out your guide to getting unstuck and flow once more.