Writer’s block is like the flu: everyone gets it, but knowing that doesn’t make it any less terrible. And just like the flu, it usually goes away with time—but there are strategies you can use to make sure that you beat it quickly. Here are 15 tricks to start writing when you’re feeling stuck.
1. Give Yourself a Break
Seriously. You deserve it. Writer’s block can often be caused by stress and unreasonable expectations, and you won’t get anywhere if you’re pushing yourself too hard. Take a bath, cook yourself a nice meal, and relax for a bit. Your creative mojo will be back in no time.
2. Read More and Read Better
Every creative should have other creatives they look up to. If you have writers who inspire you, read more of their work, and try to pay closer attention to what makes their writing special. Knowing what makes great writing can help you improve your own.
3. Switch it Up
If you’re burnt out from writing one too many listicles, try writing some fiction for a change. If your posts tend to be long and personal, give another style—like brief and to the point—a shot.
The Internet is a gaping black hole from which nothing escapes, and that includes your creativity. Set a timer for 30 minutes and promise yourself that you won’t turn your Internet connection back on until you write 500 words. You’d be surprised how much more productive you’ll be.
5. Spend Time With Others
Writers tend to live inside their own heads, which can result in a lack of new ideas and creative flow. Try to surround yourself with people you like and feel comfortable around, and bounce ideas off of them.
6. Change Your Routine
One of the benefits of working from home is your ability to set your own schedule. A change of pace can be hugely beneficial when you’re out of creative juices. For example, if you often write at night, try switching to a morning schedule instead.
7. Change Your Medium
There’s a reason pen and paper have been the tools of choices for writers for the past few thousand years. Try jotting your ideas down on paper instead of in a Word doc.
8. Write Something Terrible
No, I’m not kidding. Fear of not writing something perfect can leave creatives paralyzed and unable to create new work. Write down all your ideas—no matter how bad they are—just to get them out of your system. You’ll feel better afterwards.
9. Do Something Boring
You know how you tend to get really good ideas while you’re in the shower? It’s because you’re not distracted, and your brain is free to imagine and experiment with new ideas. Do the dishes, walk the dog, take out the garbage, and see what you come up with.
10. Try Free Writing
Whether you want to try writing prompts or just stream-of-consciousness journaling, free writing is a tried-and-true method for getting over writer’s block. Don’t hold back—write down whatever pops into your head until your hand gets tired. Then do it again tomorrow. Set a timer and don’t stop writing until it goes off, even if you end up writing the same word over and over.
11. Skip the Introduction
Don’t worry about how to begin an article. Start in the middle and work your way back to the introduction. This strategy is a great way to start getting your ideas written down.
12. Silence Your Inner Critic
That guy is a jerk, anyway.
13. Move Your Body
Exercise increases your endorphin levels, which can boost your mood and get your brain working at full capacity again.
14. Reread Your Best Work
When you’re in the throes of writer’s block, it may be hard to believe you were once prolific. Revisit your past successes to remind yourself that you’re capable of great work.
15. Hang in There
Writer’s block is temporary, and stressing about it can increase your anxiety levels and prolong it even further. Focus on different aspects of your business in the meantime, and you’ll be full of new ideas before long.
Writer’s block is tough, especially when you’re a freelance writer. Once you’ve broken that block, make sure you’re equipped with essential freelance tools.