How Freelance Writers Can Overcome Writer’s Block

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writer's block

Image by ‘Sharon Drummond’

Writer’s block is something every freelance writer (myself included) has experienced from time to time. This has a tendency to appear at any time, but somehow is especially prevalent when there is a deadline that must be met.

It seems that writer’s block is the patron saint of an empty page. I often think I have a plan for my writing, but when that blank screen appears on my computer my mind suddenly goes blank. At the same time every possible conceivable distraction seems to want to take priority to my writing. If the deadline for writing is tight, I often find that my writer’s block seems to increase just that much more.

I’ve spent some time analysing writer’s block and I have decided that the terrifying empty page syndrome is a combination of several things all working together with the secret goal of slowing down my writing effectiveness. These conditions that cause writer’s block are identifies as follow:

  1. Procrastination – Procrastination consistently rears its ugly head in the form of a million and one mindless distractions that seem to take priority to the writing that needs to be done.
  2. Lack of Concentration – This is often caused by thinking or worrying about something completely unrelated to the task at hand.
  3. Perfectionism – A common thing for many writers is the urge or feeling that when you type, it must be perfect and not just a first draft.
  4. Trouble Starting – Many writers feel that the start of their work must be so good that it just grabs the reader attention. As a result they have trouble coming up with the first sentence.

While I still suffer from time to time with these conditions that give me writer’s block, I have developed several methods and techniques to get past the dreaded empty page syndrome and get my words written down. They are as follows:

5 Ways To Prevent Writer’s Block

1. Don’t Be A Perfectionist!

You can always make a masterpiece out of a rough draft. The main thing is that you get your thoughts written down. Don’t worry about perfect sentence structure on your first draft – just get all your thoughts down on the page. Once your rough draft is completed it is much easier to then edit it and make it perfect.

2. Don’t Edit As You Write

There is nothing worse than losing your creative train of thought when you are worrying about spelling and grammar. If something does not sound right to you, just continue writing so as not to break your train of thought and disrupt your creative juices. You can come back to edit your article afterwards.

3. Concentrate

Obviously, this is much easy to talk about that actually do.  If you can, try to concentrate on the task ahead and remove all the distractions that are around you. Turn off the TV, don’t check your emails or Facebook page, switch off your phone, etc.  Whatever it is that distracts you, try to get away from it so that you can concentrate easier.   Try to find a spot where you are sitting comfortably and can work at the task in front of you.

4. Avoid Procrastination

Writer's Block

Image by ‘Dave Peake’

Many writers, just like me, are fine once they get started, but getting started is what we find most difficult. Preparing an outline helps beat procrastination as it provides a detailed guide of what needs to be done. Using your outline allows you to focus on writing smaller more manageable sections. Divide a big job into smaller easier to manage tasks that won’t overwhelm you.

5. Reward Yourself

It’s important to reward yourself when you achieve certain goals.  Set a goal of completing a section of writing and then reward yourself by taking a break when you have completed a block of work.  Perhaps you could go treat yourself to a nice lunch if you finish an article in the morning.  Whatever it is, rewards help you work to and achieve your goals.

Writer’s block is not easy to beat, but with a little self-discipline and the use of the techniques described above it is possible to beat it and produce some great work. So, don’t let your creative juices waste away. Get in front of the keyboard and let’s get some writing done!

Do you get writer’s block?  If you do, what other methods do you use to overcome it when writing yourself?  Let us know your views and opinions by leaving a comment below.

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Thank you to my Guest Post Author: Yuliya

This article is written by a group of authors at HappyHealth.Net

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  • Andi the Minion

    I agree with the ‘don’t edit as you type’, Sometimes I do when I am in a good mind otherwise I normally tend to write down as much as I can, get out everything I can think of associated with the post and then edit when I read back. Stopping to edit when writing can soon make you forget what you wanted to write down. It isn’t worth risking. As I said I at times can edit as I go along but that usually is small quick edits. It is rare and I do avoid it.

    Getting started is the hardest part, sometimes 5 minutes of quite times with a note pad is far more productive and motivating than 20 minutes of staring at a screen trying to think where to start. A pen and a paper is a great place to start.

    Great post Yuliya

    • I find jotting down a few ideas on a pad helps to organize my thoughts before I start writing. In fact, just having a pad and pen close at hand can allow me to jot down post ideas when I think of them. Often, these ideas come at the most unexpected time, so I need to make a not eof them before I forget.

  • Walter

    Great post. Distractions are bad for any writer’s professional “health”. Thanks Yuliya.

    • Hi Walter! Yes, distractions can be very bad for writers, especially the ones which could be easily avoided like the TV.

      Of course, everybody works differently. I couldn’t work with the TV on, but I do tend to have the radio on as I find it hard to work in complete silence.

  • I definitely think that coming up with an outline is one of the best ways to avoid procrastination and to help get your ideas flowing. I do it most of the time for new posts on my blog.

    Thomas

    • Hi Thomas! Yes, outlines can make it much easier to write out posts. I try to write all my headings and sub-headings out first for each of my posts. That way, I know how my posts will pan out as I write them.

  • Derrick

    Great post!!!

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