12 Feb

How To Fix Writer’s Block By Addressing What’s Really Frustrating You

Woman sitting in front of her computer work through her writer's block.

Writer’s block is real. I’ve had it and if you have ever really tried consistently writing, you have to. It’s not in your head. It’s a challenge to the creative process and one that you need a solution to overcome. Yes, sometimes inspiration will just flow your way, but at other times, you just have this block of time and you need to get something done.

Because, if you’re writing to market your business, you can’t afford to NOT write.

Writing is life. Writing feeds you and writing is the exercise that keeps you truthful and honorably connected to your food source, your clients.

If you stop writing, what then?

Can you advertise? Yes, Google Ads and Facebook Ads do work.

But if your goal is to spend more of your own time and less of your hard earned cash finding clients, then writing is your modern-day means to an end.

And that means, when writer’s block hits, you have to hit right back.

The good news is you work in a field that’s filled with inspiration. For most writers, the hardest bouts of writer’s block come when they can’t think of a thing to write about. You don’t have that problem.

For us, writer’s block tends to fall into situations that lead us to believe we’re blocked. The truth is you’re not blocked. How do I know this? Because if a client called you on the phone or walked into your office and told you their story, you would be able to do your work and support them in solving their issue.

As healers, our challenges are not that we’re blocked by the topics to write on, we are blocked by something different. Overcome your particular block and the writing will flow.

Here Are The Top 5 Reasons You Appear To Have Writer’s Block + How To Fix It:

  1. You can’t think of a good topic to write about.

This is the easiest of all the writer’s blocks to work through because at its heart is the belief that you have nothing to say or that nothing you have to say is of value. Take a look at your past clients and you’ll see instantly that isn’t true. The people you work with gain great value from their relationship with you. Furthermore, it’s also easy to address this block by considering all the various situations that lead people to your practice.

Start there. Get out a sheet of paper and make a list of all the pain points and struggles your clients face in the days/months that lead them to call you. That’s your writing list. Once you have covered all of those topics, do the exercise again.

Each time you make a list, ask yourself this one simple question, “and what else?” That question is designed to help your mind flow more deeply into the situations that clients face when they decide to hire a person like you.

Keep your list simple. Don’t list out entire stories – but rather keep the list limited to one or two sentence topics so you don’t start your writing process before you’re ready. The purpose here is to have an easy-to-access list so you can actually start writing as soon as your fingers hit the keyboard.

Now isn’t that the definition of writer’s flow???

  1. You’re out of practice so the whole process takes longer than seems necessary

In other words, writing for you is a time-suck. You’re not yet reaping the benefits that writing can bring because you’re too busy doing the work and therefore producing less. When this kind of mental writer’s block hits you, the only way out is to practice.

Writing is like any other practice and to get better at it (read that as to get FASTER at it) you have to practice your writing muscle and learn what’s slowing you down.

Let’s tackle this one from the beginning.

Habits are formed through repetition. It doesn’t matter what habit we’re talking about, they’re all the same. So, for you, the hack here is to do some writing on a very consistent basis.

  • It could be that you write one page per day.
  • You can set a timer for 30 minutes and write until your time is up.
  • Or, you can block out time on your calendar each week at set intervals to write.

When you schedule your time, you optimize the likelihood that you won’t skip it or push it off because it’s part of your routine.

When a routine like this is in place, you also benefit from reduced pressure on yourself.

You no longer have to write with the creativity of Shakespeare under a hard deadline. Routine, scheduled writing time allows you to have more grace in your practice and your skills grow over time.

Before you know it, the practice of writing has a flow to it and you will find that you can step into that flow by merely sticking to your routine.

Few other notes about your writing practice…

Maybe you need a special coffee or tea to move your mind into writing- if so brew that every time you’re scheduled to write.

You may need to write at a different location like a coffee shop, library, at a desk at home or in your office.  If so, plan for that too.

You may need to align your writing with your body clock- if you’re a morning person schedule it then. If you’re a night owl you may want to burn the midnight oil for a bit.

As you practice, take notes of what works and what doesn’t and do more of the positive aspects. Allow for adjustments to your routine as needed, but also be mindful of excuses.

If you want the benefits of writing, you simply must do it.

  1. You’re sick of writing about the same things

When this kind of writer’s block hits, the fix is to make a change. You need an adjustment to how you’re approaching your blogs so that you continue to see the ongoing need your clients have because believe me, it’s out there.

If SEO research proves anything it’s that the world is in need of healing and the evidence can be found in the millions of searches done every day for mental health, healing, wellness, spiritual, and empowerment topics.

There is no shortage of people in need, you can lay that worry to rest. (And if you need proof, just ask us in the comments).

For this kind of writer’s block, the following adjustments work wonders:

  • Take an inventory of all of your content on a particular topic and ask yourself, “What’s missing?” Then write those articles.
  • Consider writing a big article, something core to your brand, that you can link lots of other articles to for reference or deeper understanding. For example… imagine you’re a doctor and on your blog, you have articles about feet, ankles, knees, bellies, backs, necks and brains. A “big article” would be one on the whole body where you link to some of these other deeper pieces as a reference or additional reading material.
  • Go to social media sites and search for your topic- how are people discussing it there? What can you add to your body of work that is trendier, more conversational or being tackled by a different audience or generation? Each of those offers you a different point of influence and will help open your mind up to new angles and ideas.

If you do all of these and find that you’re still bored or uninspired, it may be time to add something new to your brand. Take some time to explore where your business is going and see what else rises to the surface to talk about in your blogs. Perhaps even try out a few new topics to see how your audience resonates with those.

You may just find a new angle or approach that works and pulls you out of this block for good.

  1. No one seems to be reading it, so the whole exercise feels like a waste of time

This is a hard block to overcome because it requires you to trust in the process. On your website you need a body of work that reflects to Google and clients what you’re all about. From there, SEO can begin to work for you.

But, readers won’t find your blog overnight. To help, it’s really important that your content marketing strategy includes more than just writing. You need to market your content as well.

If you’re looking to spread the word, here’s a few ideas that work:

LinkedIn and other social media sites. By sharing your content with the social communities you have built, you bring your message to what marketers call a “warm audience”. This simply means that more people are open and interested in your message. The more you have cultivated your social networks to match your intended audience, the better your messages will be received. It works in the opposite way too.

Consider this: if your business profile on LinkedIn includes belonging to groups with other therapists, coaches or clinicians, then you can post blogs to those groups about a shared interest or topic. Sharing your new blogs in groups like this (or on social sites like this) makes good sense because people in your group are looking for material that matches their interests or needs.

How do you know? Because they opted into the group. They were not put there, they choose to be there and that is a huge sign that your content aligns and will, therefore, be well-received.

On the flip side, what if your Facebook presence is your personal page and filled with friends and family? Could someone in there need your article? Yes, but it’s not the focus of the group. The common thread in this Facebook page is you and people desiring a connection with you.

Marketing and selling to your personal friends and family may generate some sales or leads for clients, but in the end, it’s a false positive. To really find the audience looking for you, you need to develop a business page that is focused on your business, not your personal relationships.

Facebook ads (or other social media ads) or Google ads. Yes, these are paid opportunities, but they give you a shot at focusing the interest of the traffic looking at your content. Each ad platform is different, but they each give you a chance to isolate your audience and target your article towards people looking for answers on the topic covered in your article.

There is a lot of wisdom in doing ads, but not forever. Ideally, you want to leverage your blogs to drive organic traffic to your website and not incur other fees along the way.

Syndication sites like YourTango. When you share your content on sites that have a similar audience, you increase the chances that you’ll not only connect with readers looking for your help but with the right call-to-action, you can lead that traffic back to your website. Membership with YourTango is very rewarding for clients with weekly writing prompts and business coaching included in the fee.

By adding your content to other websites, you also increase your backlink profile on your website which is one of the more important SEO signals. It amounts to telling Google that lots of other websites think you’re an authority on the topic written on. When Google (and other search engines) see this happen, they begin to raise your profile in the search results and that is one of the main goals of a content marketing strategy.

And if you’re frustrated because someone has stolen your ideas, here’s what you need to do to fix that little issue.

  1. You get stuck with word choices, sentences, direction or flow.

Writing has an organic flow to it. Topics should lead from one point, logically to another. There should be transitions as you go so the reader understands how your points or arguments build upon each other and then logically lead to your conclusion.

For many writers, this simple flow is the core challenge. For others, the mystery of the “perfect word” eludes them and they find themselves stuck staring at an unfinished sentence or thought.

A few words of advice here:

  • Outline your work before you start. Even a handwritten note about points 1-5 can give you a sense of where to go. I often write my intro and then my headlines (in this piece it was #1-5 that you see here). Then I go back and fill in the words. This very simple structure allows me to stay on point and move through my ideas. When I edit, sometimes I move things around but more often than not, the original flow is exactly as I wrote it down in my outline. You can learn more about the skills needed to overcome technical writer’s block here.
  • If you’re stuck, move on. You can always come back and fill things in. Use your outline as a tool and if something causes you stress, skip it and keep going. When you come back to it, ask if it’s needed or if it can be eliminated? If you must keep it, work out what you want to say either by saying it out loud or typing it and then reading it out loud. The act of putting your voice to your words often shakes up your thinking and the right words appear.
  • Use tools. The thesaurus is incredibly at helping find just the right word. Google is always good for seeing what other people have written about your topic. And YouTube is amazing at giving you a well-needed distraction (on topic of course) for what other people are saying about your topic.

When all else fails, save your draft and take a break. Somedays, there’s nothing you can do to force an article to come. In those moments, give yourself a break and do something healthier for you. Get a snack, take a walk, listen to your favorite music or take a nap.

If you struggle with writer’s block, the last thing you want to do is make yourself miserable and set in your mind that writing is a chore. Yes, it’s an activity, but when you approach it with predetermined negativity, it’s a hard habit to break.

If you read this far, you’re obviously committed to the writing process as a means to grow your business. Good for you. Keep at it and when you find yourself at an impasse, follow the advice above or if it’s a real sticking point, ask for help. We offer a free consultation to any healers in need of business support for SEO or content marketing.