Odds are, if you’re the one writing blog content for your firm, at some point you’re going to have a post, or a series of posts, that beat the hell out of you (figuratively that is). Join the club. It happens. When you find you’re struggling so much with a piece that you just want it to go away, or you seem to lose your drive to write for the darn blog at all, it’s time for a little intervention.
So this is me talking directly to you, because I’ve been there. Heck, sometimes I live there, in that grey zone of procrastination, self-doubt, anxiety, frustration, and absolute non-production that is writer’s block. It’s an ugly place where I don’t want to spend any time, ever. So how do you beat it? Getting your writing groove back actually isn’t that hard, as long as you’re willing to put in a smidge of effort. C’mon, let me show you.
Get enough sleep, even if you have to take a nap.
It’s really hard to be creative, clear, and productive if you’re tired. I love my daily 20-minute nap, and I take it as soon as I start to feel a little worn. I wake up a better and more productive person. Power tip: I sometimes drink a quick cup of coffee just before I lay down. It takes about 20 minutes for the caffeine to kick in, which is perfectly timed with my wake-up alarm.
Reduce performance anxiety.
Anxiety is like a prison warden for writer’s block. When you start feeling anxious about a post or posts, your mental prison guard swings wide the gate of stagnation and unleashes writer’s block. Put a deadbolt on the gate by chilling out on your expectations. The piece you are struggling with doesn’t have to be perfect. Nothing that really matters will be lost or gained by a less than stellar blog post.
Put words on the page.
It doesn’t matter if you do this with pen and paper or on the computer, the best way to write a blog post, is to write a blog post. Put the words on the page. Even if you just jot down main ideas or some loosely connected thoughts, simply getting just some of the words on a page can make a big difference. Forget about grammar and punctuation. Just vomit the words onto the page, you can clean them up later.
Stop writing, stop thinking about writing. Stop trying to listen for the guard to open the gate. Do something totally different for 5 or 10 minutes. Read something new to you and interesting, daydream, or step away from your desk. I usually engage in some active play with my dogs. They love it and I love it, and I feel better after doing it. I don’t mean I pet the dogs or throw a ball. I engage in play. I chase them, they chase me, they roll around, I scratch bellies, and get lots of love. I completely engage in this play and think of nothing else, and I like the non-verbal communication. Puppy time has beat the heck out of writer’s block for me on many occasions.
Move to a different room, sit outside, use pen and paper, or listen to a different type of music. Do whatever you have to do to change the mood and get comfortable. I have makeshift writing spaces throughout the whole house (and porches) so I never feel stuck behind a computer staring at a blank screen. Sometimes moving to a new place to write can calm you down and let your creativity flow.
You’re probably going to be blogging for a while, right? Create an editorial calendar (free download)
with topics and links to where more information about that topic can be found on the web. Try to develop at least several weeks of topics at a time. This way, you’re never stuck for an idea when it comes time to post on your blog, and you can shift topics around as needed. You can fall back on these topics when you're in a writing rut and leverage what you've already developed, just be sure that the topics are still relevant to your readers.
Still not sure how to beat the block? Diagnose what’s stopping you
and push through it. Remember, writer’s block is simply a creativity block that you can work through and control. I promise.
Teresa Shaw is an SEO consultant with 10 years of experience helping attorneys and law firms across the country increase public awareness of their services.