Every artist struggles with creative blocks from time to time. Whether your medium is graphic design, writing, or illustration, you’re going to have days when you feel inspired, and others when you stare at a blank page for hours. Even though I write for a living and have gotten pretty good at pumping out quality content, I still get stuck sometimes and have trouble starting or finishing projects.
Creative blocks can get in the way of your business and make it hard to accomplish your goals. So I thought I’d share some of my best tips for overcoming writer’s block to help you get back into a state of flow. Even if you’re not a writer, some of these tips may still work for you.
Read Similar Content
One of the best ways I’ve found to tackle my writer’s block is to read something that’s similar to what I’m trying to write. If I’m working on a blog about FHA loans and I’m feeling stuck, it helps to read my favorite personal finance blogs.
Let me be clear—I don’t copy anyone else’s content and I’m not suggesting you do either! Reading great content from industry leaders simply inspires me and puts me in the right headspace to do my best work when I’m feeling unmotivated.
If you’re not a writer, you can still test out this tip to see if it gets your creative juices flowing. If you’re an illustrator, for example, scrolling through Instagram and looking at drawings from other artists may inspire you to pick up your sketchbook.
Batch Your Work
I write in two different niches, lifestyle and personal finance, which require very different styles of writing. I also write several types of content in an average day, including blog posts, social media captions, and website copy.
If I need to switch between different topics and content formats throughout the day, I can get creative whiplash. It’s hard to change the tone of your writing on demand, and trying to do so can bring on a bout of writer’s block.
To prevent this from happening, I try to batch similar tasks together. Say I have to respond to a few emails, finish two personal finance blog posts, and write a dozen social media captions for one of my clients. I’ll respond to all of my emails at once and complete the blog posts one after the other. That way I don’t have to switch tasks too often and break my focus. After I’m done with those tasks I’ll move on and tackle the social media captions.
This approach is called batch working and can help improve your productivity. Batch working makes it easier to get into a state of flow because you’re able to deeply concentrate on one type of task. Multitasking is ineffective because switching gears every twenty minutes reduces your efficiency and productivity. You’ll work faster and make fewer mistakes if you try to batch your work.
Do More (Or Less) Research
Some people get writer’s block when they’ve done a lot of research and have too many thoughts swirling around in their head. In that case, it may help to create a mind map on paper to visually organize all the facts and data you’ve collected. Then you can sort through your research and decide which pieces of information are important enough to make it into your article. Writing an outline for your article can also help you focus your thoughts and form them into a cohesive narrative structure.
But when I get writer’s block, I usually have the opposite problem—I haven’t done enough research. I don’t know what to write because I don’t have statistics to support the points I want to make. So when I’m struggling to start an article, I usually open a few Google tabs and start reading relevant studies, papers, and articles.
Over time you’ll figure out whether you tend to do too much or too little research so you know how to respond to your writer’s block.
Change Your Scenery
Sometimes getting writer’s block is a sign that I’m bored. Getting a change of scenery and writing in a different place can help break up the monotony of my usual routine and make me more productive. Research supports the idea that adding some novelty to our workdays can make us more focused and efficient.
In a recent study, participants who visited more locations and had extra variety in their daily scenery reported feeling happier, more attentive, and relaxed. And we all know being in a good frame of mind is essential on days when we need to get a lot done!
Sometimes money is tight though and you can’t afford to work in a coffee shop. The good news is that switching up your daily routine has a similar effect and can provide the novelty your brain needs. Listening to a new podcast, making a new recipe for breakfast, or putting on some music while you work can help get you out of a creative funk.
Sadly there’s no magic pill for resolving writer’s block. You may have to try several of these tips before something clicks and restores your creative mojo. But as long as you keep trying to power through your writer’s block, your creative juices will eventually start flowing again.
How do you overcome your creative blocks so you can advance your business? Let me know in the comments section below!
Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.