I sat and sat in front of a white screen for longer than I care to admit. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. It’s not that I’m not prepared. I have an outline a mile long for crying out loud. I’ve moved and moved and erased until I thought I was there and ready to shoot for the moon and all that jazz.
Instead, I sat there, overthinking everything I’d written down. Pages and pages of funny, witty, and honest direction were suddenly useless – not good enough for my ghostwriting course.
Am I distracted? Um, yeah.
Can I dedicate blocks of time to writing? Sure.
Have I constructed an outline that lets me jump in and type? And how!
This isn’t like me, people! Like the Count on Sesame Street I, too, number each of my 99 problems. Trust me, a lack of words isn’t one!
So here are my tried and true ways to beat the block.
How to Fix Writer’s Block
Read Your Old Stuff
So, what to do? What to do in the here and now to fix it? Rather than hop on Facebook and laugh at cat memes and Trump gaffs, I decided to read my old blog posts.
My “Greatest Hits” remind me of why I’m doing this in the first place, why I’m even in a position to teach others how to do what I’ve done. No, you won’t find immediate inspiration, and you might find yourself biting down on a leather strap to keep yourself from editing your mistakes. But it helped me think about what’s important.
Google Your Topic
Yep, I’m advocating for squirreling around. Don’t tell anyone!
Limit your searches to your topic. For example, I’m stuck on writing an introduction, so I googled, “Killer introductions.” Loads came up. I had to travel all the way over to the second page to find useful results I could incorporate into my course, but it helped!
Don’t limit yourself to your topic if you’re not finding anything useful. Instead, click on the “News” tab and read through trending articles related to your piece.
Write Something Else
All else fails, write something else. (Like I just did here!) Move your mind away from the task at hand by opening it up to doing something similar. You’ll end up giving it an unintended break you might not have known you needed.
Opening up some brain real estate lets the more congested parts work out what needs to be worked out and without you meddling in the process. Try it. You’ll see how from seemingly nowhere you’ll have an epiphany.
I’m supposed to be focusing on my course right now. But since I’m mentally knotted up at the moment, I’m here entertaining you fine folks with methods I’ve used to overcome my problem. Kinda meta.
Talk It Out
Your network of support is there for way more than just cheering you on and sobbing with heaving shoulders when you fubar. They’re your sounding board.
Stop what you’re doing and reach out to them. Take time to explain what’s keeping you stymied and hear them out. This one usually works for me. My sounding board/support person is Sheri.
I run wild at times with more words to type than I have fingers to type them. But she understands that teaching others by writing a course is new ground for me.
You want someone who gets the minutiae of what you’re dealing with and your vision.
Most often writer’s block happens because you’re simply not prepared. You think you are but you haven’t thought of the material long enough or aren’t one to favor an outline or sticky notes. Despite all your prep, I’ve found anyone can be held prisoner by the ominous blinking cursor on rare occasion.
I read some old stuff. It almost worked. I googled and found some examples of killer intros. Printed off a few I could repurpose. Then, I sat down to knock this puppy out. And while penning it, I figured out what I want to write in that intro. But you’re darn tootin’ I would’ve bugged my girl Sheri next!
Now that I’m at the ending of this thing, I’m almost sure of what should go at the beginning of the course. That’s not to say that it won’t completely change once I get it done, but at least I’ll be on my way there.
What are some of your tricks for fighting the block?