How I Overcame Writer’s Block

Female hands typing.

I’ve had writer’s block the past few days.  The first thing I did was analyze the problem.  Bad move.  Why?  Because analyzing is another excuse for putting off what I don’t want to do anyway.  It’s the holidays; I’m busy; I have to get ready for a party.  We all know the drill.  So here is what I did.

First, and this has worked for me before, stop staring at your computer screen, hands frozen over the keys waiting for an inspiring opening sentence.  Instead, just start typing gibberish like this –

Aue.s iea opueei aoeuemflpo ejsoemaiu e0 plel;adedxe[eopes/eide

Just let your hands fly over the keys. Come on, loosen up!  It’s the equivalent of shaking your hands dry when there isn’t a towel available.

Next, do not call a friend for help.  Another time waster.  Here are a few additional tricks to get you going, after you’ve loosened up.

Go to Google’s Wonder Wheel. What a great tool for article ideas.  Here is how it works:

  • Type in your key word(s) in the Google search box and hit enter
  • At the top of the search page click on “Show Options”
  • Scroll down and click on Wonder Wheel – which shows your key word at the center with spokes going to related words, which then lead to other words.
  • Under Options you can also click on “Forums” to show forums with those words

What’s cool is that every time you click on a related word or phrase, news with the keyword appears alongside so that you learn what’s being writen about the topic at that moment in time.

Next try Rack and Write. Never been there?  This site is a real hoot.  You enter some key words and the site comes back with hundreds of potential blog titles.  As the site points out:  “this is a brainstorming tool, so some of the sentences will sound wacky.”  I entered the words CEO, Public Relations Director, and Press Release and here are a few titles I got back:  “Realize Your Dream Press Release By Following These 4 Simple Steps,” and “The Worst Ideas for Press Release” and my favorite, “Fire the CEO!”  About 99% of them are useless but they are great for sparking other ideas.

Link your article or blog to the news. It’s really quite amazing how you can align your brand with just about any news development.  In my blogging course, our instructor Bea Fields asked us to write a blog about the death of Michael Jackson.  For the life of me I thought, what would I write about?  And it became apparent almost immediately:  he was one of the greatest communicators of all time through his music, his words and his dancing.  Easy.

Set a time limit. Give yourself a half hour to research and write your piece.  You may end up going back to do some editing or adding a few new facts, but the basic piece will be done.

Don’t be afraid to go off message once in a while. If your topic is narrowly defined – like gardening tips, or how to build your own furniture, try writing about something that is close to your heart, like the value of true friendship, or get mad about something stupid that happened to you at the supermarket.  Just let go.

Build on other ideas you’ve written about. That’s what I’m essentially doing now. I’ve written about how to find story ideas before – I’m just expanding on that theme with a few new tips.

I’m a roll.  I think I’m over the hump.  My blog is finished!  Would love to hear from you with your tips for overcoming writer’s block.

Now I can go to my party.

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  1. I really learned a useful technique with the Wonder Wheel and Forum program from Google. I never knew about that part of Google.

    Unfortunately, Rack and Write seems broken, and the apparent reason is unclear. I tried to enter a series of keywords and got nothing — and the system was telling me the account was suspended. I do not have an account, and saw no fields to set one up — so it was the site owners problem.

    Even so, this article provided great value. I sometimes suffer the blahs and block that leads to non-productive screen time. I think these suggestions will help overcome the logjam.