Every writer comes to a point from time to time, where they like there’s nothing left to write about – totally and unconditionally.
And still, they know that they have to come up with something, because they have clients or they have to attract customers or prospects to their blog.
Sometimes there’s nothing left to write about – totally and unconditionally.
But, if you look for advice on what to do when you’ve run out of writing ideas, most advisors will give you the pointless pep talk, such as, “Write at least something, anything! Not a day without a line!” or, “Change things up! Go get some new experiences!”
It’s not a real advice if you can figure it out yourself, it only gets you disappointed and irritated, if not offended.
Instead, let’s focus on some of the more practical tips on what to do, should you encounter a writer’s block of some sort.
1. Browse Through Magazines
Though most magazines are not exactly famous for good writing, this is not their point. What they need and what they work hard on are killer headlines and openings. And if you’re a freelance writer, having clickable headlines is something most clients want.
Most magazines focus on engaging the reader in the very beginning in order to interest them in buying the issue. They don’t care too much whether the reader will go on reading the entire article under momentum or drop half-way.
So basically, they just find an interesting topic and leave it there for you to find. You can pick it up and develop it a proper way. Moreover, if the magazine has little to nothing to do with your topic – good for you, the fresher the ideas that you’ll come up with.
So, go to the nearest bookstore or press stand (or just an online store) and check out some magazines.
2. Use a Tool
Sometimes you just need a little extra help when it comes to thinking of new topics for your writing. The best way to help you is to use a tool for brainstorming your ideas.
These tools can offer inspiration, help you research and organize your ideas.
3. Read Your Writings From a Different angle
From the reader’s point of view, an accomplished writing is a narration. There is a narrator (author) who tells the story. If the writing is particularly good, you can almost hear the narrator’s voice.
Among other things, the narration represents the author’s view of a particular issue. Well, this perspective doesn’t need to be exclusive.
You can trade monolog for dialogue and try to see how an individual issue can be viewed by people of different ages, genders, religions, races, cultural and economic backgrounds, etc.
Surely, these characters will have something to say in whatever regard. As a matter of fact, this may even give you some ideas for your next piece.
If you find such an activity challenging, it’s no reason to give up in despair. Such conversational thinking can be trained by listening to smart dialogues which can be found in books, movies, TV shows, radio broadcasts, podcasts, etc.
For example, Quentin Tarantino is known for colliding absolutely polar characters in his films. Among other things, these conflicts give birth to some truly engaging and inspiring dialogue.
4. Listen Up
A good, inspiring dialogue can come not only from the media, and neither does it need to be planned to occur. It can actually be occasional and happen in real life.
Sometimes, an impressive dialogue can be overheard in the street, at a cafe, at a grocery store, gas station, – basically anywhere. Of course, we by no means encourage you to go eavesdropping, but blocking your mind away from external (even incidental) sources of information entirely is no good for the creative process.
5. Let Your Thoughts Stew in Their Own Juice
While being closed shut from new information is not such a good idea, it can sometimes prove useful to restrain from any foreign experiences and ideas, and just let your thoughts grow without any interference.
This is one of the things that Stephen King suggests in his work, On Writing, when he recommends writing the draft “with the door closed.”
6. Just Take a Break
If you find yourself aimlessly staring at your cursor a-blink, maybe it’s high time for a coffee break.
Naturally, it doesn’t need to be coffee. It can be a snack, a bath, a walk or any other physical exercise, – basically, do something that you like to (aside from writing which is your favorite occupation).
And then you can get back to your work with your mind fresh.
7. Don’t Set Your Standards Too High
Many writers tend to set their standards too high. While high standards are indeed a good thing, they can be a major reason for that writer’s block that you are going through.
You need to always remember that what you are writing is only a draft. You will have enough time to revise and perfect it later.
Perfection is an exciting process, but the key component that’s needed here is the object to perfect! So, you don’t need to bother that your writing isn’t good enough at an early stage: all those writers whom you want to be like have never published their drafts before any revisions or editings, and all those works that you look up to were not written instantly in one take.
So, save the self-critique for later, and focus on creating an object for the consequent self-critique.
These are just a few ideas on how to conquer your writer’s block. They may not be universally applicable for everyone, – so be encouraged to try all or any of them in any possible combinations and variations.
Over to you – what do you do when you’ve run out of ideas for your next project?