What is writer’s block?
Do you need to have that article written by 5pm today? Do you need to hit that precise word count but you’re still several sentences short? Has your writing come to a complete standstill?
We all get a mental block from time to time – and this imaginative barrier can be a real drag when it comes to writing. This is known, in the creative world at least, as ‘writer’s block’.
Most of the time, writer’s block is just a small bump in the road. But every now and then it can significantly inhibit the development, progression or the idea generation part of your writing.
Many companies struggle with finding the right tone of voice for their brand. They know they need to communicate and connect with their target audience, but the words just won’t come out. This can become increasingly stressful and frustrating the longer it goes on.
A memorable, if extreme, example of writer’s block is depicted in the film The Shining. And whilst we hope you don’t have a Jack Nicholson-style “Here’s Johnny…” moment, it can be tremendously exasperating.
We decided to look at what causes writer’s block, how to overcome it and the ways in which On Point Copywriting can help you break the cycle.
What causes writer’s block?
Although it is unclear what the exact reasons for writer’s block are, it is likely that the following factors contribute to its arrival:
- Tiredness – A lack of sleep or a long day can cloud your thinking, whilst also slowing down your thought process. This leaves you not feeling as sharp as you usually would and therefore can mean trouble when generating fresh ideas.
- Stress – Many find that pressure and stress inhibit their creativity. When we are distracted by the stress of an external situation, we often dwell on it and have difficulty focusing on anything else. On the other hand, however, some people find that ‘good’ pressure, e.g. having to work to a deadline, can stimulate their creativity and increase productivity.
How to overcome writer’s block
Take a break – Simply getting some exercise and going for a stroll can clear your head. It will often give you a fresh perspective and when it comes to having another stab at your writing, you’ll see things differently.
Change your surroundings – Rather than restricting yourself to the confines of a desk, take your laptop outside in the sun or visit your favourite café for the afternoon. A change in scenery is a fantastic way to generate new ideas.
Read more – Other people’s writing is an excellent source of inspiration. Being stimulated by other people’s work can only be a positive thing. The more varied the content you read, the more creative and interesting your own writing will be.
Write with others – Collaborating with other writers, or with a creative team (e.g. designers, art directors, etc.), often generates the best ideas. Great minds thinking in unison can produce powerful results.
Remove distractions – These can be the biggest culprit when it comes to developing writer’s block. That funny YouTube video you’ve been meaning to watch, commenting on your friend’s Facebook status, or ‘just checking’ Twitter might all seem like a welcome break, but they are just another form of procrastination.
Alternatively, if you feel that none of the above work for you, you can always try Roald Dahl’s technique – cocooning. To unleash his inner child, he would climb into a sleeping bag before writing. We wouldn’t recommend doing this in a busy office though!
Set yourself targets to beat writer’s block
In the long run, you must set yourself realistic goals and ambitions. There is no point in writing a certain number of words if the quality of your content is diluted.
Aim to write about a certain topic – the one that you were planning to write about, rather than just a target of two pages of copy. By doing so, you are ensuring that you are focusing on the quality of the content rather than the quantity.
The importance of structure to overcome writer’s block
We recently wrote about the importance of using subheadings to structure your writing.
Not only do headings and subheadings allow the content to flow better, they also give you a clear understanding and blueprint of how you should approach the writing. In turn, this allows you to focus on specific aspects little by little, rather than becoming overwhelmed by the idea of writing the whole piece in one go.
Building a framework means that you do not get side-tracked and your content always stays on topic.
How On Point Copywriting can help
On Point Copywriting is here to assist you at any stage of the creative process. We can help you generate new ideas, find inspiration, or just be a fresh set of eyes to look over your latest piece of content.
If you regularly suffer from writer’s block or feel that your writing is stifled, get in touch with our copywriting team on 0117 244 0116 and we can help you overcome this creative barrier.