9 Ways to Overcome Writer's Block (I’ll Bet You Do #4 in Your Shower)
Here it is again.
You’re staring at your laptop, fingers gently laying on the keyboard, waiting to start typing. Or you're holding your favorite pen, eager for those words to flow effortlessly out of your brain and onto the paper.
Your mind is racing with a million thoughts a second and yet somehow, none of it’s making its way down to the page.
Yes, it’s a thing that you hate to admit you get, but it’s all a part of the creative process. I’m talking about…
(Full disclosure: I’m writing this blog about writer’s block because I was suffering from it as I was writing a completely different piece for a client.)
Hey, we’re all human here, aren’t we? 🤷♀️
Truth be told — when it comes to running your holistic health business, there's a good amount of writing involved. Whether it's for your website, newsletters, flyers, or what have you.
And when you sit down to get it done (maybe even when you have 30 minutes to spare between teaching yoga classes) sometimes the words just don't come...
This article is all about what to do when that happens and how you can find your creative spark.
What actually is writer’s block?
A tale as old as time… and not nearly as beautiful as Belle… writer’s block is something that everyone experiences at least once in their lifetime — regardless of if they’re a professional writer or not.
If you want a more technical definition of the term, Merriam Websters defines writer’s block as, “a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece.”
*VHS tape rewinding noise*
Let’s explore that a little bit more.
Have you ever had a fear of failure, or rejection, about something you were working on?
Did the thought of someone hating your work paralyze you before you even started?
Or, maybe you weren’t afraid of showing your quality of work, but you were worried that other peoples’ opinions would shape your level of worthiness?
That is a psychological inhibition, and you, my friend, have experienced your own version of writer’s block.
More often than not, the reason you procrastinate writing or feel as though you can’t write (or do the thing that you’re wanting to do), is because of some internal limiting belief. Whether that be:
Lack of self-worth
Lack of self-love
It’s going to be different for everyone — completely dependent on your past experiences, mindset, and how you perceive yourself and the world around you.
And remember Urban Dictionary? Yeah — the site you used to look up such profanity when you were a teenager — well it says that writer’s block is also typically more severe and heightened when the writer is writing about a topic that they’re not interested in.
From personal experience, I can 100% resonate with that.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to write about things we love 24/7. Sometimes there are going to be situations where for one reason or another, you’ll be writing about something that you just frankly don’t care about.
And alas, duty calls. *raises hand in salute to my laptop*
The good news is that finding ways around writer’s block is actually much easier than you’d think. I’ll bet that you’re already doing a lot of these, not realizing the potential they have to impact your writing and clear your headspace.
Here are some of the tips I’ve gathered over my years as a writer that help me to find inspiration when it feels low, even in-between meeting with clients.
Ways of overcoming writer’s block (that involve writing)
Yup, you guessed it. The very first thing that I’m going to suggest you do when dealing with writer’s block is…
1. Start writing.
Write anything. It doesn't have to be work related, it doesn’t even have to be a complete sentence. You just want to get into the practice of putting words to paper.
You could try:
Journaling – using prompts or writing from the heart, using your journal is an effective way to get your thoughts in the mental headspace you need.
Writing another piece – not the one you’re currently trying to write.
Freewriting – when you just write whatever words come to your mind. No order, no specificity.
There are an infinite number of topics to write about, try to let your ego take a back seat and see what wants to come through, not forcing anything.
Remember, nothing has to be perfect. In fact, it shouldn’t be.
Wanna know what else you can do when you’re feeling writer’s block coming in full swing?
Ways of overcoming writer’s block that don’t involve writing
2. Limit the amount of time on your phone
This sounds like a no brainer… and easy to do… but your screen time would beg to differ.
Putting your phone on “do not disturb” or airplane mode for a certain amount of time will allow your brain the opportunity to focus on one task at a time.
When you’re able to more clearly focus on the task at hand, you’ll see problems that need solving more clearly.
Frankly, the reason this trick works is because you’re actually giving yourself enough time to enter into a flow state without any external distractions.
And living in a world where there’s endless stimulation, who wouldn’t benefit from some intentional presence in their workday?
3. Eat a nourishing meal
Sounds like it would have nothing to do with writing, but when you’re properly fueled, your body has the energy and capacity to handle so much more than you’d realize.
Our main jobs as a species are to eat, survive, and reproduce. Fast forward from the beginning of our time to now, where we’re the safest we’ve been and yet have the highest levels of anxiety and stress. The power of a healthy meal can be just the game changer you need.
Making sure that you’re staying properly nourished and hydrated is critical when it comes to healthy brain function.
4. Listen to music or your favorite podcast
Some people are able to work with background noise and music, some people prefer natural sounds, and others work best in total silence.
Music helps you get out of your head and truly tune into your body — every sensation and feeling. It helps you to move in a way that you cathartically need, instead of how your mind “thinks you should be moving.”
Music and dance are a flow state, in yoga we call it kriya or an effortless flow, it’s basically the process of being in alignment with the universe.
Spotify has some really introspective playlists, especially instrumental ones (I write best when listening to music with no words), check out my favorite ones here.
And, if you’re looking for more of a conversation to listen to, then podcasts are the way to go.
Again, this one may be more as a way to find inspiration, and not something that you do when actually writing, but it’s still incredibly helpful.
5. Read a life-changing book
Notice how I didn’t say “read any ole book,” because what you consume you become. In Jeff Olson’s The Slight Edge, one of the main principles he talks about is reading 10 pages of a good book a day.
Why 10 pages?
Because it’s simple and it’s easy to do. Ten pages won’t take up hours of your time, and you’ll be absorbing life-transforming knowledge every single day.
And, to his point, if you kept this up for an entire year, you’d have read 3,650 pages worth of invaluable knowledge, and that’s sure to change your life in one way or another.
6. Get your ass outside and in nature
This sass isn’t personal — it’s been proven by science that we are a part of nature, so why are we not fully embracing it? We are a part of nature! Letting your skin soak in sunshine for 20-30 min a day is proven to enhance your bodys’ ability to fight disease.2
And when your body is healthy and full of vitality, you then have more disposable energy to put towards other tasks — say, writing perhaps.
7. Move your body
Being someone that worked in retail before working for myself, I so blissfully took advantage of being in constant movement all day everyday for work.
Once I switched to navigating a biz from just my laptop, well, my hips and lower back paid the price.
With 71% of Americans currently working from home, and even more so working from a computer, we are amidst a sedentary pandemic.1
Our bodies aren’t meant to be squished into a desk chair for 8-10 hours a day. Taking the time for regular movement breaks throughout your work day has been proven to dramatically increase productivity and overall wellbeing.1
Dance, shake, run, walk, do yoga in your living room, or run up and down the stairs — just do something that elevates your heart rate (bonus points if you sweat!).
8. Explore a way new to acknowledge your feelings
When you’re feeling like you’re in a creative rut, this is a critical time for you to practice self-compassion and self-acceptance.
Sometimes, the words just aren’t there. No matter how hard you’ve tried, no matter how much sunshine you’ve soaked in, or how many squats you did in your living room.
You’re a human being after all, not a word machine.
Trying something new, like journaling as mentioned above, meditation, or creating a gratitude journal for yourself can be a helpful way to objectively look at your life and situation. It also gives you the healing benefit of being able to clearly articulate why your writer’s block is rearing its ugly head.
The secret ingredient to avoiding writer’s block all together?
If everything listed above hasn't worked for you, or you’re feeling like you’re wasting time waiting for creativity to strike, there’s an easy way out of this.
Sometimes, getting outside isn’t enough. Nor is properly fueling yourself with nutrient dense foods.
I’m talking about a way for you to take back your time and energy so you can focus more on the parts of your business that you absolutely love.
9. Hire a copywriter.
Wam, bam, thank you ma'am, that’s it.
When you hire a copywriter, you hand over 100% of the responsibility of writing to someone who eats, sleeps, and breathes copy (no joke — sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a line for a website header I’ve been trying to think of — the muse knows no rest).
And isn’t that the reason why you started your business in the first place?
So you could live in your zone of genius 24/7, and make an impact on the people you work with?
Stop waiting for inspiration to strike.
Instead, take your destiny into your own hands and start working with a copywriter today. Your mental health and your business will thank you endlessly.
You can schedule a call with me here, or reach out and share what you took away from this article!