I found that struggling to overcome writer’s block is not unique to me. It is interesting to find that I am definitely not alone in struggling to write. Writer’s block could manifest in many ways – including finding it difficult to decide what to write about, how to structure what you write or even putting your thoughts together in the first place. There are plenty of useful self-help materials available out there, from Ryan Deiss’ 212 blog post ideas to Michael Hyatt’s tips on how to overcome writers’ block, to Jeff Goins…to name a few.
All of these folks I mentioned above all have one thing in common. They are accomplished writers in their fields and they consistently produce top quality material for their audiences. You then wonder why they have written about the struggles people face with writing or with getting themselves going. You get the picture? – they wouldn’t write about overcoming writer’s block if the problem did not exist.
Why do Writers struggle to write?
I am a relatively ‘new’ writer and I find that I sometimes find it very difficult to get my thoughts down on paper . So I tried to do a bit of research and voila!, just like I thought, I found I was not alone.So I asked myself that question several times over and I have identified the following reasons: (This is probably not an exhaustive list but I would be grateful if there is a reason that you know that I haven’t mentioned here but you want to share..)
• lack of focus
• lack of clarity of thought or vision
• not having or using a proven method that works
These are the few that readily come to mind. But like I said, if there any big ones that you think I may have left out, kindly share it.
How can you overcome these struggles?
1. Identify the Problem
I think a good way to start is by identifying what the actual problem is. It is often said that identifying the problem takes you more than halfway down ‘solution lane’. By identifying the problem, you can begin to plan a course of action to deal with the problem. Without knowing what the problem, you will be no different from a gunman shooting at a target in the dark. Or like a doctor who has not carried out a diagnosis and tries to treat a patient. In either example, the outcome is unlikely to be good. The Happy Manager in their blog post titled ‘seven step problem solving’ agree that the start to solving any problem is by asking – ‘what is the problem?’ Once you know what the issue is, you can analyse it, devise a plan to cure it and execute the plan.
2. Just Write
There are loads of solutions out there and my favourite is probably Jeff Goins’s he says – ‘Just write’ – others would include the following: (NB again this is not a ‘one size fits all’ list of solutions or suggestions )-
3. Find a method that works for you
My guess is you’re thinking – ‘gee wheez – why didn’t I think of that? If I could find something that works for me – I would not be reading this!’ Actually this may sound inane, but the truth is that most of us hardly stop to consider what really works and stick to it. I think finding what works would involve taking some time to consider habits that help or aid the achieving of our goals and discarding those that don’t. These habits could include (but not limited to)
a) Specifically scheduling time to write;
b) Researching and finding useful writing tools to make your work easier;
c) Rewarding yourself for achieving your writing goals – and this presupposes that
d) You have written and clearly identified writing goals;
e) Turning on music while working – some people find music therapeutic, while others find it distracting
4. Finding focus, clarity and defining your vision
How do you get your message across in such a noisy world? How can you connect with your audience with clarity and authenticity? I think that this comes down to engaging through sharing your experience candidly. Retaining your authenticity always helps to maintain focus on being you. [Tweet “It is always easier to be yourself rather than trying to be who or what you are not”]. Recently, I listened to and watched a Bob Proctor video shared by Uduak Oduok a blogger whose work I admire. The video effectively summarises how knowing yourself can help create focus and direction in achieving your goals. According to Bob Proctor, (and I agree with him) accurately identifying yourself requires reflection on a deep level that transcends physical or emotional attributes. Having a vision aids clarity of thought and helps focus your writing and will ultimately help you overcome writer’s block
5. Avoiding distractions
This can be the easiest and at the same time the hardest thing to do. Michael Hyatt says one of the best ways of avoiding distractions is to be intentional in avoiding them – so for instance he suggests (among many tips) that you set a timer for say 70 minutes.- turn off all electronic devices and disable all notifications for that period you devoted to writing. That may mean not answering phones, not replying or reading text messages and ignoring emails…get the picture?
It is probably impossible to find a universal solution that works for everyone the same way and in all circumstances. No doubt there are other fixes for curing the dreaded writer’s block. Finding the best solution usually means adapting as much of what works as possible to your specific or peculiar situation.
Have you ever encountered writer’s block? What did you do to get past the block? What works for you? Please share your comments below or on my Facebook page