You’ve got a degree, student loans to pay back and a deep need to make extra money. Starting a monetized website is one way to do that. But writing is not everyone’s strong suit, and good content is essential to creating a website that makes you money. When you’re trying to monetize your blog or website and feeling pressured to put out good work you can put too much pressure on yourself, and it can backfire into writer’s block.
Writer’s block can rear its ugly head when trying to showcase to the world our passion and knowledge. But there are some simple ways to unblock yourself and get those articles and education out to the world. Freelance writing sites are other places to pick up jobs and make extra money, but again it depends on your ability to write on the fly.
Even if you don’t have a blog to write, just simple writing tasks in any field can really throw you off your game if you don’t write often. It could be an email to your whole department with important information or just a project you will need to present. No matter what, having a few tricks to pull out of your sleeve can help you get back on track.
Here are 5 Exercises to Overcome Writer’s Block:
- Five Minute Free Writing
- Descriptive Writing of Random Object
- Letter or Email Writing to a Friend
- Reading for Writing
- Writing Badly for Fun
1. Five Minute Free Writing
This is a simple exercise that involves a “let loose” attitude and a timer or a page limit. Either set a timer for 2 minutes or a page limit of 1 – 2 pages and allow yourself to write freely using simple prompts if you need them.
Whatever you do just write till the time dings or you hit the end of your set pages. Don’t focus on writing a masterpiece, just work on getting words on a page. Feel free to jump from idea to idea if something pops into your mind in the writing flow. You can start with a dream you had about having dinner with Elvis which lands you to a PB & J and Banana sandwich which leads you to write about your favorite sandwich shop in the heart of downtown. Let the ideas and words flow freely and don’t try to force where the writing goes. If you can’t think of anything to write, simply write that you don’t know what to write until another thought pops into your head. Just write whatever comes to mind without restriction.
2. Descriptive Writing of Random Object
This one is just grabbing a pen and paper and picking one random object to describe. Commit to picking the first thing you look up and see. It could be a throw blanket, a meal of the person sitting next to you or even a dirty sock on your bedroom floor. Then write at least five sentences about it and use at least 3 of your senses to describe it. While this exercise seems simple, it can really take you out of your element and force your brain to grab for new words and ideas and get the creative juices flowing. You can do this exercise 2 or 3 times to really jump start your writing.
If you want to really challenge yourself and get creative, take yourself outside to find an interesting object that you can write about. What does the object look like? How did it get to be where it is now? What will happen to the object in the future?
3. Letter or Email Writing to a Friend
Write to someone you love, and trust who you know will be supportive. Write them a letter and start it with “I’m trying to write a blog or article about “insert subject here.” Just changing the audience sometimes can help with writer’s block. Often writer’s block is based on fear. That fear can stem from being judged by your audience. By writing the same subject to a new and more forgiving audience, you can sometimes ease the fear and spark your creativity once again.
You don’t even have to send it. The exercise is not about actually sending it; it’s about changing the audience and your focus enough to help you get the words onto the page.
4. Reading for Writing
Another way to get the words flowing is to read. Reading opens up our minds, tells a story in a way we might not have used and can really give you ideas on how to start, stop or structure your own writing. Pick anything. It could be a magazine, a book from a friend’s bookshelf, or some junk mail. Just start reading. Take notice on how they got you interested, or what they are trying to convey. This can be a great idea generator for your own work.
5. Writing Badly for Fun
Don’t stop yourself from writing about your subject just because you think you’ll write something bad. In fact, that is something that is liberating as a writer. Allow yourself to write poorly. Make it cheesy. Say the wrong thing. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make perfect sense. Just getting the words out is a great way to work towards a better piece of content. Getting even one good sentence from a writing block is better than not doing it and having nothing at all. Even among the crap you write, you may find that spark of inspiration or idea that you can build on.
Take a Break!
If all else fails, the last tip is to walk away from your work for a little while. If you’re on a deadline, it can be just an hour where you take a walk and observe your surroundings, talk to a friend or just tidy up your office space. Do something that changes your brain from work mode to creative mode. Often we are stuck in the same thought cycle, and it won’t bring up new ideas. Getting creative in a different way can help break you out of it and get you back on track to work on your writing piece. The worst way to be creative is to try and force it out, or by putting pressure on ourselves. Sometimes we need to step away from our work so that we can come back to it with a fresh mind and a new perspective.
If you have more time, you might even want to sleep on it for one or two days. Just don’t wait too long that you forget where you were going with it. And if you have a nice friend you can always ask for a second opinion. Someone in your field or someone who shares your passion can help give insight on what’s working for you in the piece and even offer advice on where to go with it. Even asking someone who has no idea about the subject you are writing about can give you a completely different perspective that wouldn’t have occurred to you. Writer’s block is different for everyone so you can try one or all of these trick until you find what works.
Don’t give up. Even great writers experience writer’s block. Writing is a skill that gets easier with time and practice. Even a small amount of writing, just 5 minutes a day, can really keep you building up your writers muscle. The same goes for reading. Just 10 – 20 minutes a day can help get your creative juices flowing and help with your writing prowess. You don’t need to read anything specific to take advantage of this. Just as long as you’re reading, you’re also learning and improving your writing skills.
Submissions are still open for The Write Project!