“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Writer’s block. It happens to all writers, I imagine. Not knowing where or how to begin, or how to continue. When you are writing something that must be turned over quickly (blogging, for example), it can be difficult to have the patience to work the process of figuring out where to start or how to keep going. Here are some methods that have worked for me.
Deciding What to Write About:
- READ – especially current events related to your industry
- Observe what is going on around you. Sounds simple, but that’s where you can be inspired to write your most genuine content.
- Look inside instead of looking out. What is happening in your daily life that may be relevant to other people? If you’re having the problem, chances are at least part of your audience is having it, too.
- Don’t be self-indulgent. Specifically when blogging, remember that the goal is to offer something of value, not just go on about yourself.
- Follow other blogs. These are great places to get ideas for topics or counterpoints. As I’ve said before, the intent is not to copy someone else’s ideas, but help jump start your own thinking.
- Blog topic tools can be helpful. I have used HubSpot’s in the past, and Build You Own Blog’s post generator can be helpful to just get your mind going.
How I Get Inspired and Ready to Write:
- Write it down. Frequently, I do better drafting ideas and taking notes by hand rather than on my laptop.
- Go “old school.” I fall back on the trusty outline model I learned in junior high for pulling the pieces of my work together.
- Accept the block as part of the process. Then you won’t fight it as much.
- Change location. I’ll move from my desk to the couch in our central meeting spot, or even the community kitchen. New scenery and background noise are helpful. Speaking of which, sometimes music is too distracting for me to listen to while I’m writing, but I recently discovered Coffitivity. I really like it for breaking up the silence without distracting me or the people around me.
- When ideas come to you, record them as soon as possible, or you could lose them. Just the other day I had some thoughts for a possible post, but I didn’t get them down anywhere. When I went back to write, I could not remember my ideas. I hate when that happens.
- Step away from it for a while. I recently read that if you are having trouble creating, take a break from it and do something else, but try to maintain your solitude, as it allows space for ideas to form. I thought this was good advice.
- Just start writing. Most of the time, I start writing with the knowledge that I likely will not keep everything. I begin by writing bullet points for ideas I want to express, and then figuring out how to tie them together. Introductions are usually the last piece I write.
What does your creative process look like? Are there methods that work for you that you don’t see here? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!