writer's blockIf you’re a small business owner, marketer, entrepreneur, blogger or creative writer, you know what writer’s block feels like. You stare at the screen, struggling for words, but the ad copy/blog post/short story/etc. that you’re working on doesn’t spring easily to your mind. How do you deal with the perils of writer’s block, maintain your creativity and stay on track to get your writing done on time? Here are some tips that might help you beat writer’s block; give them a try next time you find yourself facing down the blank page.

1. Make a schedule, and STICK TO IT. Many writers write only when they feel like it, but this isn’t the most productive method. Schedule some time every day to write. When that time arrives, even if you’re feeling uncreative or blocked, sit down at the computer anyway. Try to get used to writing at a certain time, or for a certain length of time, each day; eventually, your body and brain will get used to the schedule. Even if you’re suffering from writer’s block, pretend that you’re not.

Along the same topic is the need for deadlines. If you set yourself deadlines, you’ll be more inclined to stay on schedule. Even if there’s no editor breathing down your neck, make your deadlines count. Be realistic in how you set them, but once they’re on the calendar, do everything you can to hit them. You might want to join forces with other writers and set deadlines for each other, or take a class that has solid deadlines for story submissions, if you need help creating and keeping a deadline for yourself.

2. Try to think of writing as a job. This is similar to keeping a schedule, but it also involves how you see yourself and your tools. If you picture yourself as a regular worker instead of an artist, you might more easily be able to produce words as needed. Think of it this way: construction workers build houses, and you build blog posts or stories. The materials being used are different (bricks versus words), but the end result is the same: a solid creation made from the tools at hand. Don’t get too caught up in the drama and mystery of the art… Just write!

3. Go easy on yourself, both during and after writing. Many writers beat themselves up from the minute they put pen to paper because they worry that every word isn’t perfect. Every word doesn’t HAVE to be perfect; it just has to be present. You can tweak your phrasing, alter word choice and make your creation “perfect” during the editing process. For now, just get the words down.

If you’re facing writer’s block when you’ve just finished an article or post, take a break before starting another. Let your ideas simmer a bit before diving into the next big thing. Use your idle time to get new ideas, take in new perspectives and have some new experiences. THEN put what you’ve just acquired into your next project.

4. Get comfortable, but not TOO comfortable. If you’re hungry, thirsty, exhausted or uncomfortable, writer’s block is more likely to hit you. Make sure you eat regularly, keep some water handy, and get enough sleep at night. Check out your workspace to make sure your chair is suitable and the lighting is good. Be sure the temperature isn’t too hot or cold in the room, and try to keep your space uncluttered so your mind can stay clear. If there are any items that help stimulate your thoughts (photographs of loved ones, for example), put them nearby. Be careful, as it’s easy to fall into the procrastination trap of “I can’t write until this area is PERFECT.” Make your area comfortable, but don’t use it as an excuse to scrub the floors instead of writing.

If your regular writing area is becoming too familiar, try a change of scenery every so often by going to a coffee shop or bookstore to write. A new place can sometimes jolt you out of writer’s block and into a creative mindset.

5. Get up, stretch and take a deep breath. I sometimes get blocked if I’ve been sitting too long in one place. So I stand up, reach up to the ceiling, bend over and touch my toes, and then bounce in place a bit to get the circulation flowing. I might take a quick walk around the block, breathing in the fresh air, or do ten minutes of yoga. Deep breaths are great for sending fresh flows of oxygen to the brain, and moving around will help you avoid feeling sluggish and stagnant.

6. Examine yourself. If nothing is helping you beat your writer’s block, try to look deeper inside yourself. What issues might be keeping you from writing? Do you have anxieties that are blocking you? Write about those, if you can. Talk to other writers, or read books about writing (Stephen King’s “On Writing” is a good one). If all else fails, talking to a counselor might help remove some of the blocks you’re dealing with.

Think about why you want to write in the first place. Do you actually ENJOY writing? You should, or your writing won’t be as good as it could be. Try to write about what you love and what you know, since that is the writing that will come easiest to you and will also be the most entertaining and engaging to others. Find the joy in what you’re doing and focus on it when things get tough. You might discover inner sources of inspiration that you didn’t know you had.

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Source: About.com