Writer’s Block

I’m sitting here trying desperately to come up with a creative idea of what to write about. I’ve written and deleted and rewritten about 4 different blog posts by now, still to no success.

I have writer’s block.

Photo by http://www.planetofsuccess.com/blog/2010/how-to-overcome-writers-block/ Also a great blog post about ways to beat the writer's block blues!

It happens to the best of us. We sit and bang our heads against the wall, groaning and complaining until finally, a lightbulb goes off. Overcome by a lack of inventiveness, I opened up windows for almost every possible distraction (twitter, facebook, stumbleupon), when I came across Webook.

“911 Writer’s Block.” This had to be a sign. My deadline was rapidly approaching, and a blank page was staring me in the face. So, I dialed the “911” and was greeted by all sorts of words, phrases, and ideas — cures to a bad case of writer’s block.

And finally, the lightbulb.

What is more impacting on journalism than writer’s block?! If you’re stumped for ideas, you won’t get anywhere. The idea process is the first step towards writing. So I chose my topic: writer’s block.

Here are some tips to overcoming writer’s block struggles.

1. Stop Writing!!! Sometimes, all you need is some fresh air. It’s easy to get caught up on an idea, lead, or perspective. So step away from your computer, do something else and come back to it later. It’s like starting fresh.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When taking a break from writing doesn’t help, ask the opinion of a friend, colleague, or professor. It gives you a completely new perspective, which again, will help you start fresh. Two brains think better than one!

3. Use your resources. The Internet is amazing. I don’t know how I would have ever been a journalist without it. Simply google writing tips. You’d be surprised how many different blogs, websites, and articles are dedicated to writing advice. Utilize social media to get opinions of other writers . Use print too. Scour magazines, newspapers, and books for current events and issues in society.

4. Compare to other published works. Sometimes looking at other written works can help. For me, reading an impeccably-written story makes all my mistakes seem clear as day.

Clearly I don’t have it all figured out (writer’s block inspired my post about writer’s block), however, a lot of other people do! Follow writing experts on twitter. Engage in Roy Peter Clark’s weekly writing chats on Poynter.

If the tips don’t work for you, wait until deadline. Being crunched for time seems to encourage — or force — creativity.

What are some of your tricks for overcoming writer’s block?

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6 responses to “Writer’s Block

  1. I’d have to agree with the wait until deadline technique. Most of the time I brew ideas in my head for days, weeks even, until finally the night before deadline i start to write. It’s probably not the best way to operate my life but it hasn’t failed me yet. I figure, why fix something that isn’t broken?

  2. I really like the second and fourth tips. I think a lot of people are too scared to ask for help or admit that they are struggling, but even a little piece of advice or idea from a teacher, family member, or friend can get the lightbulb working. And I do the fourth tip a lot, especially when I can’t think of a good lead. Reading a bunch of creative and attention-getting leads from other sources usually helps me think of a lot of ideas.

  3. I always have wayyyy too many ideas that are so complex and don’t make sense to anyone but me. Next time I’m stuck I’m coming to you to talk it out Erin. 😉

  4. For having writer’s block, I think you did a great job! I struggle with writer’s block almost constantly, and especially when put on the spot. That scares me because I know so much of journalism is coming up with ideas and pitches rapidly. I think sites like Webook are great because they don’t write the article for you, but the help the brain juices to flow. If only I knew about this last year….

  5. Hahaha, this made my day. Like Katie I had a few ideas that I thought I might be able to roll with, but because I waited until 2 hours before deadline I turned in an post that probably wasn’t up to par. I think why I waited so long was because I didn’t have a clear-cut, this is what I want to write about idea. I think your tip about asking for help is a good one!

  6. erinmchenry01

    Thanks, all! I’d love to hear your tips, seeing as I still constantly suffer from writer’s block myself.

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