Life pulls us in so many directions, it can be truly difficult to center ourselves and maintain the inspiration needed to be a constant font of brilliant new ideas that will turn into brilliant new blog posts. Writer's block is real, and if we let it take control, it will never let us out of its grip.
But you have a business to run and time waits for no woman, right? Then let's bust through that block with the biggest karate chop we can muster.
In order to tackle writer's block, you need to understand its causes, deduce which one is currently at play, and then attack that problem head on.
Here's why many of us suffer from writer's block, and how to overcome these issues:
When your life becomes numbingly, inertia sets in and your inspiration and motivation bottom out. Creativity cannot thrive in boredom.
SOLUTION: Consciously break up your routine, add in new experiences, get your body moving in different ways than usual, and try to look at the world as if you were noticing its details for the first time.
This one goes back to Psychology 101. Remember Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? It posits that you can't reach the higher rungs of the hierarchy, including esteem and self-actualization, if your base needs are not being met. And those base needs are physiological, the basic elements we need to physically survive and thrive, such as food, water, air, clothing, and shelter. Your health also factors in. If you're running on fumes, your brain is not functioning optimally. It's preoccupied with how exhausted you are, and it won't be able to focus on what you want to communicate to your readers. Exhaustion will make your brain say, "I can't," "I don't want to," and "why bother?"
SOLUTION: You need to recuperate. That starts by giving yourself permission to rest. Depending on your level of depletion, you may feel refreshed and more alert after a short nap, or your may need to honestly face the causes of your accumulated exhaustion and figure out what it will take to bring your body and mind back to optimal operating mode.
This one's a doozy, because it causes so much self-sabotage. When you try to make something perfect, you set yourself up for failure in one of two ways: 1) either you'll never be satisfied with your posts, so you'll work on them for ages and then won't end up posting them, or 2) you'll be so paralyzed by doubt that you won't even get started in the first place.
When we allow perfectionism to take priority, we set a standard that is unreachable, which gives us permission to not start and ultimately stifles our voices. So maybe we actually have a bunch of ideas for what to write, but we don't believe they're worthy enough subjects. Or we dive into a bunch of research in order to procrastinate from getting started with the actual writing.
SOLUTION: If you want to blog but perfectionism is holding you back, you need to make friends with some new mantras. A couple of my favorites are "good enough" and "progress over perfection."
And then there's this gem, which will get you moving from stuck: Anne Lamott's famous "shitty first drafts" approach. If you'd like to read the entirety of Lamott's theory, I'd recommend taking the plunge and reading Bird by Bird, her eternally popular book about writing, in its entirety. Many an aspiring writer has been buoyed by the advice contained in those pages, and a copy sits on one of my bookshelves, graciously passed down from another writer. The short of it is that you have to give yourself permission to write terrible first drafts, just to get something out and get going. From there you'll write a better second draft and an even better third draft. This is how nearly every writer does it, so be encouraged by that; they, too, are imperfect.
BOREDOM WITH YOUR SUBJECT
This cause of writer's block can seem like a total dream killer. If the initial zeal for your chosen topic has faded, you'll begin to feel discouraged. Ideas are slow to form, and when you do think of some, none of them feel like an interesting angle from which to approach the topic.
SOLUTION: The best way to beat boredom is to cultivate curiosity instead. To do this, you'll want to find ways to look at your subject in a new light. How does it affect people's lives? What do you wish people knew about it that not a lot of them realize? Is there anything controversial about it, and where do you stand on that?
It might also mean clearing away the expectations you've built around your work and reconnecting with the things that initially drew you to it. What did you want to contribute to your industry and how did you want to impact others through your work when you first started? What has clouded that vision since then, and can you cast that aside and get back to the heart of your intention?
What do you do to break through writer's block when you experience it? Let us know in the comments!
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