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Beat the Blank Page: 5 Ways to Work Through Writer’s Block

Reading Time: 3 minutes

blank page on laptop with woman's hand resting on the keyboardIt happens to the best of us… You’re sitting at your computer, staring at a blank page… and somehow every word you have ever known disappears. You wouldn’t be able to type anything even with the dictionary in front of you. Writer’s block has completely taken your content hostage.

Before you throw in the towel, try to remember this: Writer’s block is simply a hurdle you can jump. The key is to simply begin. Need help with those first few words and sentences? See if one of the following five ways to work through writer’s block works for you.

1. Remove All Distractions

When you sit down at your computer, how many tabs do you have open? It’s okay… You can be honest here. We won’t tell!

But here’s the deal… The more time you spend scrolling through social media or “listening” to Netflix while you write, the less time you will have dedicated to your writing. As the clock keeps ticking, you might find yourself becoming stressed by a deadline or crushed by other projects you should be working on as well. This can cause your creative juices to stop flowing, succumbing to distraction.

The truth is, the best way to write is to remove all distractions and focus on the task at hand. Any time you allow your mind to wander, your productivity will suffer.

Need help staying on track and avoiding those oh-so-tempting distractions? Try any one of these distraction-free writing tools:

  • Use a full-screen text-only app, like q10 or WriteRoom.
  • Wear noise-cancelling headphones and listen to ambient or classical music channels on Pandora or Spotify.
  • Download an app and website blocker, like FocusMe or StayFocusd. Run it for a set amount of time to keep your social media addiction at bay, even if only for a little while.
  • Turn off all notifications. This includes email notifications, Facebook notifications, and game or app notifications. If turning your phone to silent doesn’t work, consider apps like Focus Lock for Android that blocks notifications for 25 minutes at a time. The fewer buzzes and dings you hear, the less time you’ll have to spend getting back into your writing project.

2. Try a New Environment

Writer’s block can occur anywhere. So, a simple change of scenery can help inspire you to think outside the box. Head down to the new neighborhood coffee shop or take your laptop to your backyard.

If a new location isn’t quite right, consider instead changing the medium. Just because you’re writing a blog post doesn’t mean you have to write it on an electronic device. Pull out your favorite journal or grab that legal notebook and get writing.

You’ll find that even changing your routine slightly can energize your brain, loosening the block’s hold.

3. Take Some Time to Just Write

Take a few minutes to just put the words on the page. Write down what comes to mind, instead of what you have been trying to force. Also called freewriting, writing in this way may help you become inspired or pinpoint an emotion that is keeping you from working productively at that moment.

This is also a great time to set aside your perfectionism and simply begin. Save your editing and proofing for a later date. Just get writing.

4. Do Something Else

When all else fails, just take a break. This doesn’t mean you give up. Instead, you take 30 minutes or an hour to do something that you enjoy. Read a book, take a walk or run an errand.

Simply taking yourself away from the screen—and your mind away from the task at hand—can help ease the tension of writing, allowing you to see the project from a new perspective.

Then come right back to your project once your allotted break time is over. If you wait until you feel inspired, you may never get back to it. Forge ahead, friend! You can do this!

5. Remember Your Why

Why are you writing that blog post? Why are you writing that website content? Take a moment to reflect on why you do what you do. What is the bigger picture? It is important to remember that there is an overarching goal for your writing, further than simply getting a new blog up for the week.

If you have your goals written down, take a breath and review them. Take some time to reflect on the importance of these tasks and how they will benefit your business. Looking at the bigger picture will help put this moment into perspective… and often get you writing again.

Still Stuck? Reach Out for Help!

Writer’s block isn’t the end of the line of your content. Just like these other website content roadblocks, writer’s block can be overcome.

But if you find you are struggling with your content and you can’t simply spend another minute doing this alone… Know you aren’t alone. We’re a simple call or email away. We want to help. Reach out today!

Cari O'Brien

Founder & Chief Word Nerd
Cari has been providing content marketing services to businesses for over 15 years. She writes and speaks frequently about brand messaging, SEO copywriting and audience-focused copy. She’s the creator of the Connection Copywriting Method and the online writing course, Write that Site®.

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