10 Surefire Steps to Beating Blogger’s Block

10 Surefire Steps to Beating Blogger’s Block

Reader Comments (56)

  1. Great article

    ‘Play’ is an interesting one. In his book ‘Screw it, Let’s do it’, Richard Branson talks about the part having fun plays in generating ideas. I remember studying / researching ‘why people play’ for an ad campaign and reading about scientific claims for play releasing creative chemicals in the brain.

    ‘Keep a notebook’ I think is really important. This was one of the most important lessons I learned during a creative writing course.

    ‘Read, Read, Read’ surely has to be one of the most important. Not just because it leads to one becoming an expert but, also, because it can stimulate fresh thinking during a block.

    Finally, one of the best tips I ever picked up was from reading Graham Greene’s biography, where, he admitted to being a lazy writer, but forced himself to sit at a desk and just write when he absolutely didn’t want to.
    My experience is that slogging during a block can reap rich rewards, even though, at the time, it seems as if what one writes is of no value.

  2. It’s nice to establish a routine and guides to writing. Sometimes a change is necessary. I think another tip to add is to just write. Even if it is off topic and has no relevance to your blog, just being able to write something can start getting the process started.


  3. Love this post. Your suggestions are just what I needed to get the juices flowing again and remember why I have days where I can write and write and days where there is nothing. Need to recharge!

    I also appreciate your comments on getting organized. As a productivity consultant, I find that when my space is surrounded with a bunch of stuff my mind wonders too much and nothing gets done. I see that often with my right-brained clients as well. While there is a common perception that creative people have to be messy, I have found that order of various kinds actually assists the creative process. That order just looks and functions differently for different kinds of people.
    To your success!
    Productive & Organized – We’ll help you find your way! tm

  4. ‘Play’ is the most important thing imho. You gotta get out and do something to clear the brain. Plus it helps to prevent “fat blogging”. 🙂

  5. I always keep a notebook so that I have all my ideas written down on paper. If all my ideas are already written down on paper then it is pretty hard to have writer’s block. I do not even remember the last time I had writer’s block and I do believe it is because I write all my ideas down.

    This will make you more organized and productive and you’ll never have to worry about having writer’s block. If you do not find success in doing this then I’m not sure what can help you.

  6. One of the best tips I’ve received was to read fiction books. As a technical guru moving towards blogging and copywriting, I needed to find a way to create interesting content.

    Reading fictional books and keeping a notepad with me helped so much that I think I’m getting better each day.

  7. Really great tips, thanks for sharing.

    I also found out after a while that a session of free form writing will make my mind sharper and more relaxed. Might have some connection with what you call ‘F-R-E-E Writing’ on your blog…

    Free form writing as in jotting everything that comes up in your mind, regardless of their “value” or “goals”. Just write everything that pops up into your focus, without any form whatsoever, no punctuation signs, for 5-6 minutes and then let yourself caught in the flow. You may not finish the post you “planned” for today, but you’re surely come up with 10 more others for the upcoming weeks.

  8. Hi Orna,

    Great post. I can’t remember who said it, but the quote is something like, “I hate writing, but I love having written.” I think it’s another Anne Lamott quote, actually.

    As a professional copywriter, I’ve found the hardest part of writing is just getting started. Especially when there are so many distractions (like interesting blog posts to read …) And since it IS so hard the key is eliminating those distractions.

    My business partner and I have recently instituted quiet hours at our office where we unplug — no email, phone, etc. — for four hours each day. Two in the morning and two in the afternoon. It’s always amazing to me how much REAL writing I get done in this time … then I can go back to the fun writing, guilt-free — like coming up with clever status updates for my facebook page.


  9. Some great tips. I had the same problem for today’s post. Typically I set my posts to auto-publish at 4am. When I didn’t get anything finished I was paniced. I eventually just binned it and went to bed. Today during lunch I had a brainstorm, logged in and finished my posts. It’s not brilliant, it’s no-where near my best, but it got finished. Changing things up helped complete that process.

  10. In my opinion, play is the most important one. It does not only get your creative juices flowing, it also motivates you. He who plays hard, works hard 😉

  11. I liked this a lot, Orna! “Lower your standards” is the hard one for me. But usually my work is better when I’m not hovering so much over it.

    I could do a lot better with “play” as well. And hanging around on Twitter, engaging though it is, really doesn’t work for that “Artist’s Date” energy.

  12. Also, be willing to write material that is imperfect. Sometimes we get stuck because the ideas we’re having seem less than stellar. If you just work through the weaker ideas and let yourself produce stuff that’s not quite up to standard (don’t worry – you can toss/delete it), eventually you’ll regain your stride.

  13. @ Eamonn & Franklin – On the vexed notebook question, I have four :). 1. One for F-R–E-E-Writing first thing in the morning. That’s an A4 hardback and I do three pages in that first thing each day. 2. My Writers’ Notebook, which some time back I converted into a looseleaf binder, so I could stick in the torn pages, napkins, store receipts and other assorted bits of paper that I found myself scribbling ideas on when I didn’t have my notebook with me. 3. A little hardback that fits in my pocket that goes with me on my walks, when inspiration tends to flow freely. 4. Another similar small one that I keep in my meditation den, for the same reason.

  14. @ Craig – Yes, I always say to writing students (and often to myself): “Write, just write”.

    @ Stephanie – Many thanks. Delighted to link in with a professional organizer. Could always do with a bit more of that 🙂

    @ ierict – I’m intrigued – what is a a”fat blogger”?

    @ Computer guy – I completely agree. And great to create links from those old posts to the newer ones that didn’t exist when you originally wrote.

  15. @ Farrhad A – you’re very welcome and thank you for the feedback

    @ Rowell – As a novelist, I couldn’t agree more 🙂

    @ Dragos – What you’re talking about sound similar and yes, I agree. F-R-E-E–Writing doesn’t TAKE time, it MAKES time.

  16. @ Anna – thank you. Yes, sounds like something your namesake, Annie, would say. Four quiet hours a day is a brilliant idea. I’m going to spread it. Another approach I heard from a friend is to only answer email and phone calls once a day, at noon — on the basis that anybody will wait half a day for a response. I’m not sure if she’s right because I haven’t had the discipline to stick to it!

    @ Neil – glad to have helped. 🙂

    @ Bullseye – and without hardly trying. Thanks for that.

    @ Sonia & Melissa – It’s the balance, isn’t it, between making it better and fiddling about. The 80/20 rule would say that a lot of the final fiddling is unproductive in real terms but I admit I am a compulsive fiddler and would love the chance to have another good at my published books. Sad but true. With blogging, though, the longer I do it, the more I’m moving to an approach of “Do my best and let it go”. It’s so much more ephemeral than a book and there’s always the chance to write something else tomorrow.

  17. I modeled a bunch of copywriters and found that while few of them have the exact same routine, they pretty much all have one. They all go through the same research, writing and editing stages too even though most spend different amounts of time in each area. The key is to find a routine that fits for you and stick to it. Checklists are essential as well.

  18. “Where there is block, there is fear”: love this one. Yes, dropping standards is a biggie for me. And of course, anything I write is never up to “standard” anyway, so it truly isn’t a jump off a 40-foot cliff to get past this one. Thanks for a juicy, yet concise guide. I also appreciate that you separated “writing” and “daily” practices

  19. I’m just a new subscriber to Copyblogger. I visit here whenever I get stuck working on our food blog. You have great tips on copywriting and seo.

    Thank you very much and more power to Copyblogger.

  20. Awesome tips! I think the last one is hardest for me. Well, I guess it depends on the definition of play. I consider play reading my favorite blogs, tweeting, and plurking (all hermit-related). Going outside to play… that’s the hard part!

    I’ve been trying to get back into a regular posting schedule on my own blogs, so I’m going to take your advice.

    Loved this article – gave it a Digg!


  21. This post came at the right time for me, I especially like number 3. I wonder if the times I’ve found it difficult to write that I’m actually just resisting and in fear of the outcome of my words.

    Great post


  22. @ Louis – I totally agree. Taking the time to know and nurture yourself and your own voice while modelling others you admire is the quickest way to success in any kind of writing

    @ Matthew – I’m intrigued! What do do with it? Sledgehammer your writing? Yourself? The cat? The kids? My novel “A Dance in Time” opens with a sledgehammer scene. So I’ve been there in my head. But please tell us more!

    @ Renee – Many thanks for the appreciation. It’s much appreciated :!

    @ Fedge – Yes, Copyblogger is just great, isn’t it? That’s why I picked it for my first ever guest post

    @ Glen – Ah, the demon fear. Only one thing to do with it, just as the old book title says. Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway.

  23. I love Annas idea of 4 quiet hours a day! i think i will start out with only two, but i so need this!
    I have researched alot about multitasking, and even though i love many aspects of multitasking im slowly beginning to accept that my brains wasn’t built for it.
    so for two hours a day im now gonna stop it! wow.

    Great tips! thanks!
    if you don’t write you will never have written!

  24. I self-edit all the time. I need to stop thinking “this is garbage” and just go with what I feel like saying. Excellent article. I am bookmarking it.

  25. I completely agree with “Change your timeframe.” A surefire way to kill a blog is to post for the sake of posting and without any real content. It’s vital for posts to stay on topic. Something that’s difficult to do if there isn’t actually a topic to speak of – just a frantic effort to get something down before the deadline.

  26. When I feel like there is some sort of mental block, I like to pull out a sledgehammer. Going to the extreme my favorite way to get past that.

  27. I love to establish a routine and guides to writing. Sometimes a change is necessary when we already tired to dealt with daily activities. I think another tip to add is to just write. Even if it is off topic and has no relevance to your blog, just being able to write something can start getting the process started.

  28. Thanks for this nice post, I myself found a block when I’m running my education blogs. When I’m running out of idea, usually I go to read someone’s article.

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