You’ve got a nice big mug of coffee. You sit down at your computer. Maybe you have some mellow background music going. You’ve got your fingers ready to start pecking away at your keyboard. You’re all ready to start writing.
Maybe you’re a lawyer drafting a blog article. You could be an aspiring author who wants to write a specific number of words toward their first book. Possibly you’re working for a company that needs you to draft a compelling article describing the business services you provide.
But nothing happens. Nothing at all. Your mind is blank. You just sit there staring off into space. You have no idea what to write. Not even a single word is coming out. You just can’t come up with any good ideas and material to write about.
- Writer’s Block
That’s a bad case of writer’s block. It happens to all of us. I certainly know the feeling. Writer’s block can be a huge impediment to your productivity.
What can we do to defeat writer’s block? Is there some way around it? Or is it just a part of writing that we will always have to suffer through?
You can, of course, just suffer through it. You can sit there for a long, painful period and just stare at your screen with nothing coming out. Maybe eventually you’ll think of something to write about. Maybe it takes 10, 15, or 30 minutes to get through this dead space. Maybe it takes an hour or longer. But however long it takes, you’re still wasting time during that period and getting nothing accomplished. It’s also not much fun to suffer through this process.
The good news is that you don’t need to suffer like that! We can defeat writer’s block! There is a way to start writing without all of the misery.
- How to Defeat Writer’s Block
In order to defeat writer’s block, we need to completely reverse the standard writing process. What most writers do is they sit down to write, then try to think of something to write about. Reverse that. You need to think of something to write about, then sit down to write.
If you sit down at your computer with a blank screen and try to think of something to write about, there’s a very good chance that you’re going to get hit with writer’s block. It’s just the way the mind works. Your mind has a tremendous number of ideas and material lurking inside of it. But your mind is not always cooperative in bringing up that material just because you ask for it. Your mind will pop out ideas on its own time, whenever it feels like it. Ever notice how you have totally random thoughts come to you at completely unexpected times? Thoughts will come out any time of day or night. You have to work with your mind, not against it. You need to start paying attention when these ideas show up.
What would happen if you had a great idea pop up and then started writing about it right then and there? That idea is fresh, it’s interesting, it just percolated up to your conscious mind. It’s what your mind wants to think about at that moment. This is when you need to pay attention and catch these great ideas. These are the ideas that are usually not going to come up when you’re suffering through a case of writer’s block.
What should you do when you have a random idea pop into your head at some random time of day or night that might have some future value to you or others? You have two options.
- Defeating Writer’s Block – Method 1
The first method is to take some notes and record the idea. You don’t want good ideas to slip away, never to be heard from again. You need to capture your ideas. Don’t just try to remember them, your mind will move onto something else and you’ll never remember it.
You need to jot down the idea in written form. This can be done in digital format, which is what I prefer, or if you’re old school, you can write it down on a piece of paper. I like to take some notes in a digital note taking platform. These days I’m using Google Keep, mostly because of its simplicity, but there are plenty of other note taking apps out there. Find a method that works best for you.
When I’m struck with an idea, I’ll whip out my smart phone, pull up my note taking app, turn on the voice to text translator, and start talking. Just start flapping your lips and get some notes taken down. Keep it simple, rough, and quick. Crank out a few sentences on the topic, just enough to capture the idea so that you will have it available for later use.
- Defeating Writer’s Block – Method 2
The second method is to actually sit down and start writing. Instead of just taking a few quick notes and moving on to something else, you can just sit down in front of your computer and spend some time writing. This way you will take the idea, write to your heart’s content about it, and you’ll have a substantial written product in front of you. This works well if you have the time to do some writing and you think it’s a topic that deserves some immediate attention. This is also pretty efficient because you have the idea, crank out the written material, and you’re done.
Both of these methods work great. Whether you want to just take some quick notes or sit down to write for a while, it’s your choice. Do whatever works best for you.
- My Preferred Method
Personally, I prefer the first method. I like to take some rough notes on the idea. I capture the idea for later use. What I’m doing is building a library of ideas and material for future use. My Google Keep is packed with fresh ideas that have been canned in water and salt for future use. These canned ideas will be there whenever I want to pull them off the shelf and use them. I have built up a huge library of material, some of it good, some of it bad, some of it ugly.
But when I’m taking notes and adding it to my library, I don’t censor it. Just brainstorm and get the idea down. You’ll have plenty of time to figure out whether to write about it later. The vast majority of material that I’ve written down will never see the light of day. But some of it will become the source material for my writing, maybe a blog post for example.
Whenever I do have the time to write, I will go through the regular routine of fixing my mug of coffee, turning on the computer, and getting ready to write. Except now, I don’t have writer’s block. I have a ton of ideas just sitting in my notes, ready to be written about. I just start perusing my notes and see what strikes my fancy. The ideas are all ready to go, I just need to pick one out. I pick an idea that seems like it would be fun to write about. I start writing and keep writing. No writer’s block. It has been defeated.
That’s how I defeat writer’s block. Give it a shot and see if it works for you. I hope it helps you kick writer’s block to the curb.
We do a lot of writing here at Suits Litigation, Inc. to help our clients achieve successful results in their personal injury cases. If you would like to discuss your personal injury case (or need help getting through a bad case of writer’s block), feel free to call our San Jose, California office at (408) 637-5413 to schedule a complimentary consultation.