If you are a writer, you know this lousy feeling. You know it very well. It’s destroying your future, but you can’t help it. The harder you try to put words to paper, the harder it gets.
Here’s how I overcame writer’s block, once and for all:
By sticking to 5 rules:
1.) Relax, take it easy.
Do not tense up. There is no pressure in writing for yourself. Even if you told yourself to publish every single day, it’s OK to take a day off. Better to publish quality content consistently (missing a day or two), than to force it and publish trash.
2.) Write, write, write. Edit later.
I wish someone told me earlier that writing and editing are two completely different tasks. They are not only unrelated but worse:
For editing, you need a different part of your brain than if you write.
Figure that out: Writing and editing at the same time… that’s what I’ve tried to do for many years. I published around 500 posts on my own website alone. (Let alone numerous social media posts, sometimes up to 4 times a day on Facebook in 2015/2016!) That’s wasted time I will never get back.
Don’t make the same mistake.
Write. Write. Write.
Then, edit without mercy.
3.) Publish daily.
This may seem to be in conflict with numero due… and it is — on the surface. Taking a deeper look into it, we see that you can run into writer’s block… not publish what you set out to write in the first place… and that’s where platforms like Twitter and Instagram come in.
They allow for micro-content.
Instead of writing a 1,000-word article in a day and hit “publish,” you can publish a micro version of said article. You can include a featured image if you want. All you need are 3–5 sentences summarizing your article. I did this years ago, and still, use previous social media posts to expand and publish as stand-alone articles. You can do the same. No excuses.
(On a side-note, not affiliated by any means: I got #3 from Nicolas Cole, successful online writer, author & founder of Digital Press. What I also like about his approach is that you don’t put too much emphasis on one single article, praying that “this one article” is going to become “a viral hit.” Instead, you give yourself a new chance every single day — 365 chances a year VS just a few. In other words, you give each piece the chance to become a masterpiece. And you can always come back; either revise it or what I’d suggest (and I will do long-term for myself): publish shorter posts in general, get feedback, and turn that feedback into longer pillar pieces/actionable guides.)
4.) Do what hasn’t been done before.
There are many words to describe this:
- Create your own category
- Create your own niche
- Develop your own voice
- Stand out from the crowd
- And some more
In short, be different.
Be different by being your best self. Your content will be unique and future-proof. No one else can easily copy you overnight. And you stay creative and in the flow.
To get good at this, learn from a variety of sources. Try out many things without losing focus. Not easy, but achievable.
NOTE: Reading great business books and taking notes is where I’d start if I had to do it all over again.
5.) Have a notebook with you.
Talking ‘bout notes: All the time, I get ideas for new content. If I don’t write it down, I lose it. While writing down your thoughts, remember: Editing is a different task. Do it later.
If you don’t get any ideas, you may want to change the scenery.
I recently took a train ride, for example. True story: I wrote this article (the article you’re reading right now) on a train ride to visit my father and to celebrate his 70th birthday). I got more done during these 4 hours VS sitting at home in front of a laptop.
(What I did at home was editing and publishing this article.)
6.) BONUS: I’m a non-native speaker.
Born and grown up in Münster, Germany, for the first 20 years of my life. One gap-year abroad (Sydney, Australia, and a few days in L.A.), then back to Germany.
Finally moved to Berlin, Germany, in mid-2017.
Most of my communication during the day is still in German, though I also encounter English speakers in my day job as a sales agent for Vodafone. With that said, I never lived more than one entire year in an English-speaking country. Yet, I have the “audacity” to write in English. Why?
Because I want to become the best non-native English writer I know of. And if I’m going to write online and publish daily anyways… why not do it with leverage? There are way more (non-native) English readers online than there are German readers. Simple facts. No magic. Future work opportunities seem to be more lucrative as well…
However, I’m getting ahead of myself…
…For today, let that sink in.
I hope that especially the last point got you over the edge (if you’re a non-native speaker, who wants to write in English online). In the beginning, it doesn’t matter how many mistakes you make. It’s about the long game. And, please, don’t let “people” (I mean, haters) matter, either. They should be busy fixing their own awful lives. But it’s easier to point fingers at others.
Anyhow, I know you can do this.
But you got to take action, today.
Publish your article, or micro-content piece, or start journaling. Don’t leave this article without taking one step towards your goals (especially since you’ve read this far!).