“They’re real, and they’re spectacular” is an infamous line from a classic episode of Seinfeld.
Well, what if I proposed that writer’s block is real, and also spectacular?
I know it’s a controversial subject.
Some associate writer’s block with procrastination or an unwillingness to put in the time and effort.
Others admit that it’s common and maddening, even for seasoned writers.
Regardless of which camp you’ve traditionally found yourself in, no one likes writer’s block.
Sometimes you just don’t know what you want to say
Instead of resigning writer’s block to a source of frustration, it’s a signal to dissect the current stage of your creative process.
You have something to say, but you don’t know the best way to say it or the main point you want to make.
When your message isn’t clear, you’re blocked. That’s not a myth or an excuse.
Once you recognize it’s a challenge that helps you grow as a writer, you can work through the obstacle until you get it right.
Befriend writer’s block
Reviewing your work with a critical eye makes you a strong writer, but when you’re overly critical of your text, you often get stuck.
Again, let’s move past “stuck” as a bad thing. It’s simply where you are. Say hello to your writer’s block, befriend it, and let go of any negative charge associated with it.
You might realize you have too many ideas, or conversely, you only have a vague topic in mind. Both can keep you from creating cohesive content.
Accept this moment as a chance to pause and know it’s temporary.
3 small steps to clarity
When you don’t know what you want to say, you need to relieve yourself from the pressure of capturing The Ultimate Perfect Thing.
Aiming to write The Ultimate Perfect Thing is what’s keeping you blocked.
Playing around with your rough ideas, however, will lead you to expressing The Right Things.
Here are three steps to start working with your vague ideas. This exercise will eventually transform a rocky writing session into a smooth one.
- Step #1: Draft a few headlines and pick one.
- Step #2: Turn that title into a question to pinpoint your main message. Use the word Who, What, When, Where, Why, or How at the beginning of your question.
- Step #3: Your supporting points need to answer that question — other ideas can be saved for future content.
We can use the title of this post as an example.
- Step #1: Writer’s Block Is Real
- Step #2: Why is Writer’s Block Real?
- Step #3: Each section of this post should answer the question above.
Your supporting points will illuminate your message and guide your reader to a meaningful conclusion.
Spectacular content doesn’t always start out that way
As much as writers like to find smart processes and habits, each piece of content you write might begin a little differently.
It’s wonderful when the exact words you intended to communicate spill out of your mind as soon as you sit down to write.
But on the days they don’t, you don’t have to get discouraged.
Readers only see your final product, so the first notes, outlines, or drafts that you needed to explore in a messy way can be your little secret.