Writing is one of those things that people either hate or love. Truthfully, there’s very little middle ground. Regardless of which side you’re on, at one point or another, the inevitable is bound to take place: writer’s block.
Yup, remember that thing that would creep into your brain back in college? My guess is that it often seemed like there wasn’t enough caffeine in the world to make brilliance spill out onto that painfully blank Word document of your yours.
Needless to say, even though all-nighters, Pandora and 5 Hour Energy might jog the ingenious juices of some folks, most of us need something a bit more dependable to start hammering out amazing editorial content.
While my opinions aren’t certainly widespread, the following methods, for one odd reason or another, have always had a way of helping me to get out of a writing rut. If needed, try ‘em on for size:
1) Get Up Early and Take a Shower
I don’t drink, but I’ve heard that a shower—usually a cold one, mind you—has a way of sobering people up in a matter of minutes. Whether that’s an old wives’ tale or not, I can’t say; however, I am certain of the fact that warm water has a way of not only cleansing the body, but also the mind. Mercy, that last bit was deep.
2) Listen to Relaxing Music
I realize that, in a roundabout way, I bashed on listening to music in this piece’s introduction. That being said, music really can be effective for bringing about fresh ideas. Though generally partial to 90s grunge, when writing, I try and steer clear of anything too abrasive. For me, the more it sounds like it would be part of a ballet, the better.
3) Clean the Work Area
This might just be a random theory of mind, but I’ve always felt that the best writers are a bit OCD. Now I’m not claiming to be a great writer, as demonstrated by this site, but my workspace is celestial in cleanliness. When messy, nothing seems to get done. Clean things up and you’ll be surprised at how quickly writing efficiency improves.
4) Sleep With a Notepad Nearby
Of these five tips, this one might very well be my favorite. There have been times during my career when I’ve literally sat and stared at a computer screen for an hour without having been able to produce anything of worth. Yet, the second I go to bed and my head hits the pillow, the words just start pouring in. Horrible for blissful sleep, but great for ideation, a nearby legal pad will keep any and all content concepts safely stored until morning.
5) Stop Writing
If Bill Belew’s reading this, he’s probably on the verge of cardiac arrest. We’ve all read those posts about producing 10,000 words of written content every day and strive, as hard as it may be, to do just that. Trust me on this—when the worst of writer’s block hits, its not blasphemy to actually take a step back and do something other than writing. The best journalists, copywriters, bloggers and PR pros have solid hobbies outside of work that keep them creative.
Now that you’ve read over what I do to avoid a mental stalemate, it’s your turn. What did I miss? In the comments section below, share what you do to keep incredible content creation a normal occurrence throughout the workday.
Lucas Miller is the Founder of Echelon Copy. When not writing, editing or running, he's working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the "World's Greatest Pompadour." Additionally, for what it's worth, his editorial works have been featured on Social Media Today, Business2Community, Ragan's PR Daily, Spin Sucks and many other top-tier PR publications.