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11 Unconventional Ways To Immediately Overcome Writers Block


Neville

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Here's a quick guide for how to get over writer's block.  These are methods I've personally used very successfully, and I hope you scroll through this, find a good method, and get over writer's block too!

 

 

1.) Dictate The Words Into Your Phone

 

 

 

2.) Write Inside A Distraction Free Zone

 

 

 

3.) Use A Headline Formula

 

 

 

4.) Physically Alter Your State Of Mind

 

 

 

5.) Chemically Alter Your State Of Mind

 

 

 

 

6.) Follow A Writing Prompt

 

 

 

7.) Make A Constraint For Your Assignment

 

 

 

8.) Stop Being A Little Bitch About It

 

 

 

9.) Make An Outline

 

 

 

10.) Take A Nice Shower

 

 

 

 

11.) Copy Someone Else

 

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Keep this in your files for whenever you have Writer's Block and need to get rid of it!

 

P.S. If you want more help with Writer's Block, checkout some of our Copywriting Tips for more inspiration!

 

P.P.S. Comment below what YOU do when you have writers block.  I am going to add (and draw!) more methods here based on the comments!

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Guest Rishad

Posted

Dope list. I've started meditating recently and it's been helpful for getting out of a brain funk. Still trying to find out the best method for myself. Would love to hear recommendations from others.
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Guest Ansis

Posted

Been following to some of mentioned methods for a while. I believe that these methods could be ranked similar to Maslows hierarchy levels, bcs for me, when copywriting, the physical part (atmosphere, earplugs, quick exercise, power nap etc.) comes first to actually start using all other methods... and Not Being A Little Bitch most likely is the last one on the list (lack of gratitude when dealing with overload or unpleasant orders).

Btw, have you discovered the "magic hours" throughout the 24h day, that builds a pleasurable & healthy routine, whilst still getting everything done before deadline knocks on the door?

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Guest Adam Connell

Posted

Damn good stuff, Neville! I LOL'd at #8 but holy crap, some people need to shut up and get on with it.

The most effective thing I've found for overcoming any sort of mental block is somewhat similar to #4. But rather than just changing up the environment, the key element for me has been to do something repetitive. Something that literally requires no thinking and can be done completely on auto pilot.

For example, if I'm stuck for content ideas I'll quickly blast myself with information. See what others are doing, run a search in BuzzSumo, maybe a keyword research tool - then step away entirely and do something else.

Then my subconscious starts working out ideas. Some of my most inspired content ideas have been thought up while making a sandwich or eating a yoghurt.

If I've got the content idea but can't figure out where to start, I'll do some quick research on the topic then repeat the same process.

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Guest Nicole

Posted

Your article is hilarious, as always :). Wait...that didn't come out right. I mean hilarious in a GOOD way ;). I basically suck at writing so my method is very simple. It's called the "Wait until the absolute last minute when you have no choice BUT to put something on paper" method. That's usually when I stop giving a damn if what I put on paper is good enough and stop caring about what people will think of me.

Cheers!

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Guest Swadhin Agrawal

Posted

Hi Nev,

Writer's Block has always been gnawing at my very existence. Even now when I was browsing 9gag and occasionally refreshing my inbox, your mail knocked me out!

Meditating seems to be a good one to start because I have been feeling overwhelmed with all the information overload recently.

Haha you rocked with the last one! Will try it out!

Have a great week ahead!

-Swadhin

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Guest Marie

Posted

Great article, Neville. I love your DISTRACTION FREE WRITING ZONE...Taking that a step further... I make sure my working space (desk) is free from clutter. No mail piles or more than ONE coffee mug that I'm actually using. Then, to take it a step further...clearing up the whole ROOM can work miracles. As does adding a nice sized green plant or vase of flowers to the now CLEAN SPACE. Ah....
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Guest Gerard Dawson

Posted

Explain everything you know about the topic to a friend.

Boil your writing down to the length of a tweet (requires you to know exactly what you want to say)

Find an article/essay/ad you like and copy it, filling in your ideas (don't plagiarize though)

List all the things you'd like to know about your topic in questions, then look up and answer those questions

Open up gmail and pretend you are writing to a friend about the topic you have writers block on. Tell them about the writing and what it will look like when it's done.

Draw a picture of the structure of your writing.

Switch from typing to hand writing or vice versa

Check the comments section of Neville's post on writers block!

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Guest Olajide Adetutu

Posted

Hello Neville,

How do you come up with your animated images. they look peculiar to only you and funny. Some of the most effective ways I kill writers block is to go to the bestsellers on Amazon.com in whatever niche I want to work in and get inspiration from there.

Another thing that has really worked for me in killing writer's block is I keep a swipe files of killer openings and closings I come across for any article I found interesting. So, whenever I feel like coming up with something unique and I don't want to use that first method, I just pop into it and start writing.

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Guest Tavleen

Posted

Me hitting writer's block. Me running to the bed. Me dozing off. Yeah I literally sleep. My golden period is early morning. So I wake in the morning around 4-5 am and get the laptop out. If ideas still don't come out, I listen to podcasts, it is great for two reasons. Number 1, you are just listening (preferably with your eyes closed) and someone else's research is going into your mind and helping you form your opinions. Number 2, they are real conversations, it is like a person talking to you - so the tone and voice are spot on. ;) Try this people, it works. Oh btw Nev - I listen to your landing page critiques on Youtube the same way. And did I say I love em? ;)
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Guest Sarah

Posted

Great list.

The most effective way for me to work through what it is I actually want to say in my writing is to try explaining it to someone else in conversation. I find teaching to be the best way of learning because it becomes obvious to you very quickly whether you really have a good grasp of the concept you want to explain. If you can't answer a question the other person has or you stumble to explain a certain element, you know to go back and polish up. If you explain it well, you can normally write it well, too.

I also love using the pomodoro method (hence agree with you time constraint suggestion). I heard about it years ago but only starting using it recently and it has been life-changing! Talk about addictive.

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I do an intense workout then take a long hot shower. Works every time.
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Guest Oleg Starko

Posted

I rarely get writer's block, but when I do, one or more of these 4 boring and common-sense things helps me get unstuck:

1. I stop writing mid-sentence, or I just jot down 2-3 things I need to write about. Then I go do something with my hands: cook, wash the dishes, etc. Then I get back and see if that helped (usually does). Similar to physically altering your state of mind.

2. I open up my email and start a fresh email to a friend, where I explain what I'm writing about. This feels like a much easier / lower-pressure way to make words flow than properly "sitting down to write". Very much like dictating into a phone.

(If I remember correctly, that's similar to how Tim Ferriss wrote 4-Hour Workweek)

3. Instead of starting from the beginning, I try to write from the middle, or the end, or some other pivotal point in the copy. E.g. if I know I'm gonna need to manage objections at some point in the piece (and if it's sales copy, you bet your ass I will!), this is exactly what I start with.

4. 9 times out of 10, I just use an app that doesn't let me quit or alt-tab until I'm done writing X words, or for X minutes (aptly called 'Writer's Block') -> I'm not sure if links are allowed, but you can google "writer's block app" and it will come up.

Honestly, though, the best way to avoid writer's block is to have an outline ready. Not just talking points, but pics / quotes / facts and figures / 'hooks' everything you need in advance. More often than not, it takes care of the problem. Writer's block is just another word for "holy shit I didn't put enough thought into this". :)

P.S. And yeah, alcohol helps a lot -- I sip good Scotch when I do creative writing, which I still find ridiculously hard. Just never edit anything when you're drunk -- use it for inspiration only. ;)

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My thing to do when I'm completely overcome by writers block - I usually grab a small bag of Oreos and some milk and I play act out the scene that I'm trying to write. Sometimes it's something out of Star Wars, sometimes it's an episode of Star Trek, sometimes it's a scene from a corporate boardroom, like I'm trying to pitch it to a Fortune 500 company. It really helps me look at my writing from a different perpective and usually makes writer's block go away.
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Guest Dr Dik

Posted

Great post thanks Neville. Particularly like (and agree with) the recommendation for a little alcohol to get the creativity flowing - very risqué but totally true! Hope you don't get sued by some anti-booze Christian group or something.

Anyway my top tips for the mix:

- distraction free: turn off or bar all phones/e-mails/social media

- change of environment: go to a public library, or go to someone's holiday home for a day or two and just get stuck in

- Just Start: be absolutely ruthless, just start the writing for 5 minutes, anything: much easier to continue than to start

- Do a Hemingway: you can do whatever else you want as long as you write between 7am and noon every day.

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Guest Brian McArdle

Posted

Hi Neville

`the best method I have for clearing the mental block is just to write with a pen or pencil. Don't use any punctuation and write whatever comes into your head, free flow. % minutes like this usually clears the brain.

Another way is to take a pen in the hand you normally don't write in and try writing your name address or anything you can think of. The concentration of forming the letters seems to dispell all other thoughts

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Hey Neville,

Awesome list!

Here's the only one I would include into your list...

If you have writer's block - STOP WRITING (for just a bit).

Get up from the desk, go into nature, go for a swim and get away from screens for a while.

I can't count the number of times I've been stuck on copy and gone outside for a walk, then come back and the copy just wrote itself.

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Guest PJ Pires

Posted

1- wakeup

2- drink 500ml water

3- coffe (no sugar)

4- run for 2 min

5- thank me later xD

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Guest Rohan

Posted

Not my original idea (I heard it on a podcast, think it was Tim F's Seth Godin interview) but just start writing about something you hate. No matter how bad the block, if I start thinking about something that annoys me I can go on a tear. Wake me up at 4am with a baseball bat to the jaw and I could still do a 10 minute rant on flavored coffee.
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Guest Rowan

Posted

Give myself a timer for 10-15 minutes to just write and keep going until the clock runs out.

If I'm REALLY stuck, I will spend the time writing about having writer's block. At least I'm certain there's something to write about!

A good hack for me is to do this writing longhand--sometimes staring into the blank screen really messes with my head. I don't know a situation where I haven't been able to get something out even if it's not amazing.

The majority of the time I can work on what I want to work on after this 10-15 minutes, but worst case--if it was very painful--I just stop and take a break. It's always easier to get started again after having forced myself.

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I really liked this post, Neville. I'm one big essay edit away from a book contract and have been struggling with writer's block for the first time in my life. A lot is riding on this so here is what I am doing to be proactive:

1. Read other people's stuff that inspires me. It's a bit different than copying someone else. I read or watch something that makes me want to be a better writer and inspires creativity. Sometimes it is a great short story or a video of say, Jaco Pastorius or a good dance company performance. Thats what works for me. What works to inspire your creativity?

2. I sit down to work before doing anything but eating breakfast. Give myself two hours. If the work is crap today, that's okay....it is something to build off of when I come back to it. It will ALWAYS get better if you keep at it.

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Guest Arnaud

Posted

Unlike the others who commented, meditation and pomodoro don't really work for me when I have a writer's block. What works is to get up and do the laundry, the dishes or vacuuming. Something boring and physical where you don't need to think or be in front of the computer.
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Guest Steven Lucas

Posted

Just write without predjudice. Doesn't matter if it's related to what you wanted to write about, just get the fingers and brain attached and go. Best - write a series of headlines then sub-headlines, then a sentence about each, jumping back and forth as inspiration strikes. Heck, I've written books that way!

Regards,

Steven

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All good ideas and even more in the comments. What works for one person may not work for another especially my method. Whenever I get stuck I fire up a cigar, crank up the volume of some classic rock to where I am sure neighbors two doors away can hear it (none complained yet). For some reason the ideas start coming and before I know it words magically appear. Crazy but works for me. Maybe a variation for others might be listening to mood music on low volume while a purring cat sits nearby. I'll stick to my method which reminds me I need to buy more cigars.
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Great Post Nev, Thanks!

I've used a lot of these but the best I have found for myself is a really intense 5 minute workout.

This stimulates a powerful hormonal response and every once in awhile I do my 5 minutes and it's not enough.

Then I grab some material research and browse it on my rest times for 30 seconds and do another 5 minute workout.

Lift Life!

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Guest Ronnie

Posted

2 Steps to Annihilating Writers Block

1. "There's no such thing as writers block. Its just a symptom of laziness during the research phase." I heard that from Clayton Make peace years ago and it still holds true. Copy and paste every thing relevant you can find into one big ass document.

2. Get yourself a big ass dry erase board and create mind maps on the surface topics you came up with the data dump in step 1. Break down the idea into sub ideas and keep branching. Be sure to keep each branch focused on just one core idea. Also, don't cheat and do it on the computer... Free writing by hand has magical powers.

BAM writers block has been destroyed. You now have topics and substance for your writing project ☺

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