Try These Tips To Break Out of It
I have to admit that I am not one that often suffers from writer’s block.
Usually, when it is time to write, I already have a few ideas bouncing around in my head.
Like this one.
When that doesn’t happen, I keep a list of ideas I have jotted down, usually while following the tips in this article. I scroll down the list until one sets off a spark, and then it’s off to the races.
On rare occasions, when neither of those things happens, I open my idea list. At the top of the list is a group of links I use to find new ideas. I discuss those links in the five ideas to conquer writer’s block. Once I start this process, I complete it, no matter how many ideas it creates, so it keeps my list full.
Okay, I know that social media can be a time suck, and once you head down that rabbit hole, it’s hard to come back. Especially if you are trying to avoid something you don’t want to do right then.
But here is how I do it.
Even though I have my primary social media sites bookmarked elsewhere, I still have them at the top of my ideas page. I also have a timer connected to the app where I store my thoughts and articles.
I start the timer, then click on the site. I use Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Quora for this. You can use whatever websites work for you. I allow myself two minutes on each site.
Here’s the trick. I don’t click on anything, just scroll. If the headline doesn’t give me an idea, then clicking on it isn’t likely to either. If something does inspire me, and I think that particular link might be a useful reference source, then I will copy and paste the link along with the idea.
When the time is up, I start over with the next one. That’s eight minutes spent on social media. And you can scroll past a lot of stuff in eight minutes.
This method is very similar, but I am only searching for current events. It’s best to use an aggregator for this. I use NewsBreak. It’s easy to find the type of articles that might interest me, which will expose me to a ton of ideas. If one of these inspires me, I will also copy and paste the link, but these I move to the top of the list. If it’s a current event, it won’t stay fresh for long.
As I’m sure you all do, I keep all my past articles archived. In this process, I go back to the beginning and scan all of my old articles, quickly.
Besides occasionally being cringe-worthy (did I write that?), I always come away with new slants on the same topics or new variations on what I originally wrote. For years, most of my non-fiction stuff was in the 400–600-word range. I can expand and improve upon any one of these to create a whole new piece.
I keep a couple of quote sites bookmarked in my research folder, such as BrainyQuote. I use them to spice up my articles or add as a subtitle. But they are also useful to inspire new ideas. I’ll start at the quote of the day page, and then go to the topics page and drill down on a few of those.
I always come away with a list of ideas to write about, and I have a built-in subtitle for the new piece. After all, these quotes are meant to be inspiring. Why not let them inspire you to write a new article. Or, as Aristotle said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” And we all know what a pithy thinker he was.
Research Your Niche
You do have a niche, don’t you? If not, you should. It not only makes finding ideas easier; it will help make it easier for your audience to find you. I have a few niches, including writing about writing, but my main one is photography. I have quite a few sites bookmarked that are either educational, follow the latest trends, or both.
These give me no end of ideas to write about, or new slants on subjects already covered. You may think that a niche has a limited supply of ideas, but that is not the case. If you don’t believe me, Google writer’s block and see how many times this subject has been covered. There is always room for a new take on an old idea. For instance, I wasn’t able to find anyone with the idea to use quotes as a source for writing inspiration.
But now there will be.
If all else fails, just write. Grab a word or sentence out of thin air and type it onto a blank page. Then keep going. Some of my best articles and ideas came from just this type of exercise. Here is a couple.
In both of these, the headline popped into my head, and I started typing it. One sentence led to the rest, and by the time I finished the first paragraph, the rest was pretty well fleshed out in my head.