While this sounds like a dream come true to a writer who’s never tried it, the reality is that writing for eight straight hours can take a toll on your energy and your creative juices, whether you’re penning Game of Thrones fanfic or crafting works of SEO art.
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t in a position to stop what we’re doing just because we’re tired. Which means writers need to find ways around the inevitable stalls in the creative process. I’ve listed a few of my favorites here; some of them are geared toward content writers in particular, but most can be adapted to any sort of writing project you’re procrastinating about.
Good luck—and remember, deadlines wait for no man!
If possible, leave the building. Drown out your fears with your mp3 player or just unplug entirely to people-watch. Even 15 minutes not spent in the company of your computer can recharge your batteries and help you look at things from a fresh perspective.
Maybe it’s raining out. Maybe your boss has you on lockdown. If you can’t walk around, see if you can work in your office’s kitchen, or in a lobby, or just about anywhere else. A change of scenery can work wonders.
This one comes in handy when stalling out on a particular assignment. Touch base with your project and/or SEO manager and feel your way through what’s expected. You might get some new ideas for approaching it!
Some of your office mates may have worked through similar projects and will have genuine advice for you. But let’s be blunt, most of your chit-chat involves discussion of food and whether or not your boss would be willing to invest in nap pods and a kitten room.
Speaking of food, get yourself some grub. Granola bar, cheeseburger, coffee, salad (if you’re into that kind of thing), whatever. There’s nothing like realizing your empty creative battery was really just your crashing blood sugar.
I don’t feel like I should have to say please don’t do this in front of your coworkers, but yeah, don’t. You’ll scare them. If you have a car, do it there. Let all that bottled up frustration out. Just be ready to explain yourself in case a well-meaning pedestrian thinks you’re having a meltdown.
I can hear you whining about it now: “It’ll suck out my creativity!” “I only write as my mood takes me!” Look, I hate outlines, too, but sometimes they’re the best way to go. Write out what you think you might write about and then use that structure to fill in the blanks. For example, if I ran into a mental block while writing an article about zombies, I would jump straight into outlining.
I’m already itching to write that blog post, actually. Hey, SEO team, throw me some keywords, will ya?
Most clients have a specific word count requirement for each project. Whether that’s 300 words or 5,000, it’s very hard to edit or polish something that isn’t there. Download a timer, set it for 15 or 20 minutes, and then buckle down and write as much as you can within that time. To that end…
The first draft of a work is never great. Really, it’s not. And what’s more, you don’t need to create a work of art the first time you set pen to paper (or keys to computer, I guess). But you won’t get anywhere at all if you don’t have something written down. You can revise, edit, and polish once the words are out. Really, you can. In fact, I insist on that.
I hope you find some of these tricks helpful—I know I’ve utilized most of them at one point or another. In fact, I outlined this very blog while snacking.
The proof is in the pudding, gang. Or the sandwich I just ate.