If you are a regular writer, you will have at some point faced the dreaded writers block. Thankfully there are plenty of tools and tips that you can use to get inspiration, no matter what you are writing about. In this post I thought I’d go over some of these that you can use to finally cure your writers block for good!
We’ve All Been There
Whether you’re a blogger, journalist, fiction or non-fiction writer, you will inevitably hit a brick wall where you can’t for the life of you think of anything to write. It can be extremely frustrating, especially when you end up losing a big part of the day when you seem to have made no progress what-so-ever.
We have all been there (believe me!), but nowadays inspiration can just be a click away. The internet has revolutionised how we get information. The secret is knowing how to find what you are looking for from all the white noise online.
There are plenty of tools online that you can use to help you out when suffering from writers block. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Tools To Help Cure Your Writers Block
I have been spending a LOT of time on Google Trends recently, as it is such a great way to research what people are looking for online. This is very useful, as if you know what people are searching for, you can create something specifically for them.
New announcements and scientific discoveries can be good for this. Take the recently announced Chromecast from Google. Nobody was searching for that before, but now it’s getting a LOT of interest. That could be a good subject to write about.
Similarly, you can see what people aren’t searching for. Take MySpace for example, it was incredibly popular before Facebook rose to prominence, but now, it’s barely got any interest. This would probably be something not to write about.
Science fiction writers could search for new scientific discoveries and try to find something new to write about, such as Graphene. Here we can see that increasing numbers of people are searching for Graphene online.
The possibilities are endless. The fact that you can also check ‘related terms’ against what you have searched, ‘regional interest’ of how popular that search is in a given country and category/yearly searches, and you can begin to see how much inspiration you can find with Google Trends.
Google Keyword Tool / Google Keyword Planner
Whilst Google Trends will show you what “sort” of things people are searching for online, the Google Keyword tool will let you search for what people are “actually” searching for, as in what they are physically typing in to Google search.
If we take the previous example and search for “Graphene”, we will be presented will lots of related terms that people are searching for. The one that stands out is “What is Graphene”, as lots of people are wanting to learn more about it. That or any of the other hundreds of related results could inspire you to write something.
Think about your own area of interest. What subjects could you search for to find other related terms to write about.
The best way is to use this in conjunction with Google Trends. Find an area of interest on Trends, then search for individual search queries within that with the Keyword Tool. This is a gold mine of ideas for us bloggers, but many other writers will also find this approach very useful.
Just note that Google are planning to replace the Keyword Tool with Keyword Planner shortly, but they both do a similar job.
If you are like me, you get inspired when seeing something visually. Flickr, or any photo site (Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) for that matter, can be great to browse through to find some inspiration.
Say you were writing a short story, but didn’t have a clue where to set it. Have a look online at some images and begin to piece together a landscape for your story to take place in. You could even save a bunch of photos that you like and make up a kind of mood board that you can keep referring to.
When trying to write articles for this site, it can sometimes be tricky to think up a good idea. I have in the past seen images on Flickr that have inspired me to write something, and then use it within the image as a ‘featured image’ (just like this post).
Keep A Pad and Pen Handy
Inspiration can hit us at any time, so it’s good to be able to note down ideas when you have them fresh in your mind. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas when at the supermarket or whilst heading to the swimming pool (why then, I don’t know).
In fact, one of the worst places to get inspiration is when sat in front of your laptop staring at a blank page. That flashing cursor can be a nightmare!
Instead of a traditional pad and pen, you can be all “modern” and use Evernote. Evernote is a great app that you can install on your phone, tablet and laptop, that allows you to make notes wherever you are. That way, when inspiration does hit, you can jot it down and it will be waiting for you on your laptop when you come to write something.
Broaden Your Horizons
OK, so this isn’t a tool, but it’s a good tip that deserves to be mentioned.
If you write on a particular subject, you can tend to stick to that subject and end up only reading what’s going on around you. This can be bad, as you can get tunnel vision and only end up repeating the same old stuff.
It’s amazing how many ideas you can get just from broadening your horizons. Think about the films and TV you watch, the books you read, the news you watch/read, what websites you visit, the hobbies you do, the music you listen to, etc. Try to broaden your horizons a little and try something a bit different. They say “Travel broadens the mind“, but so can everyday things if you give it a chance.
It may sound daft, but the more ideas you get from life in general, the better. Your brain will naturally filter things out and throw up ideas when you aren’t expecting it (which is why it’s good to have a pad & pen).
These are just some of the ways you can help cure your writers block. Next time you are stuck for ideas, check out the online tools that I have mentioned above, or better yet refer back to your pad (which should be full of ideas by now)!
What other things do you do to overcome writers block? Where do you find you get inspired the most? We want to hear from you, so please let us know your views in the comments section below!
Image by ‘Jonno Witts’ [Source]