Writer's block. We've all suffered it. Whether we write once in a while or every day, love creating content or absolutely hate it, we've all experienced this productivity killer.
And it's not just a mild frustration we can brush off, either. As inbound marketers, we're all used to the pressure of having to create content at a moment's notice. Sometimes, our jobs even depend on it.
Yikes. So what do we do when plagued by this debilitating malady?
You get really meta and create a SlideShare about it. (At least that's what we did.) If you suffer from writer's block, check out these 10 common causes for the problem, and their simple solutions. It should help lift you out of that writing rut in no time!
The 10 Most Debilitating Sources of Writer's Block, and How to Overcome Them
Problem #1: I don't know what to write about.
Fall back on your editorial calendar, where you keep a backlog of topics to write about. You can also reach out to people in Sales or Services and ask them to share some FAQs.
Problem #2: I don't know how to approach this topic.
Your topic isn't specific enough. Refine your working title to say what you really mean. It doesn't have to sound good now; you can finesse it later. Just ensure it's clear, specific, and tells you exactly what the content is about.
Problem #3: I'm just not in the mood to write.
Use the laptop trick. Unplug your laptop and go into a quiet room, free of distractions. Your challenge is to complete your blog post before your battery runs out. See if a little competition with yourself can kick things up a notch.
Problem #4: I can't find the words.
Write like you speak. Content should be free of jargon and business babble, anyway. If you write like you speak, it will be an easier writing and reading experience. Do not, however, write like you think. Our brains are jumbled messes. We filter ourselves for a reason.
Problem #5: I can’t write an intro.
There’s nothing more intimidating than a blank screen. If the introduction is tripping you up, start writing or outlining your content, and fill in the introduction later. And remember the formula for a good introduction: Identify the problem, build pain around it, and explain how the content will address it.
Problem #6: I can’t come up with examples to support my content.
Crowdsource it, leveraging other people’s knowledge and experience to inform your content. A different perspective can open up, as Aladdin taught us, a whole new world.
Problem #7: I keep getting distracted.
You don’t need to “turn off” the internet, but do sign out of social media, instant message clients, and email. The internet is important for research and the occasional break, but the real-time nature of the other tools make distraction too easy.
Problem #8: Someone interrupted me, and now I can’t get back on track.
No one comes barging into your meetings uninvited, right? Block off writing time like you block off meetings. If you treat content creation as important as a closed-door meeting, others will begin to respect your boundaries. If possible, try to find some private working space with less foot-traffic, too.
Problem #9: I don’t even know where to start.
Break huge content creation projects into chunks that are smaller and more manageable. Then figure out how much time each portion will take, and in what order you have to complete them. Try to complete a few small portions first to get your rhythm going and feel the satisfaction of crossing items off your list.
Problem #10: I’m not qualified to write this.
There are readers of all skill levels, so use your knowledge to teach others who are just starting out. If you want to step it up a notch, interview and quote experts in your field. Just be humble and honest about what you do know, and what you don’t. Remember: You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!
How do you get past writer's block when it hits? Share your tips in the comments!
Originally published Apr 4, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017