We have all had those days when there is just nothing to say or is there no way to get the words from your head onto paper. Unfortunately, we still have deadlines and goals to meet.
So how do you writing on a day you just can’t seem to get started?
Write something awful.
Just get started with whatever is on your mind and see where it takes you.
A stream of consciousness probably won’t win you any awards, but it might organize your thoughts a bit. You might end up with enough good points to turn it into an article.
Let go of your standards if it gets you started.
Create an outline.
Tell yourself that you don’t actually need to write anything, you can just make an outline. Pick a topic and think of ideas for subtopics. This can be less intimidating that sitting down to write an entire piece.
Often, you’ll find that once the main ideas for an article are outlined, it’s easy to add in the explanations that fill in the rest of the article.
Give yourself an artificially low word count limit.
Tell yourself that you need to explore the entire topic in 200 words. Oddly, feeling constrained by a very small number of words feels manageable and usually find yourself wishing you had more.
Once you’ve exhausted the 200 word limit, give yourself permission to expand the work.
Get some physical exercise.
Movement can inspire ideas and give you a mental break. Let your mind wander and you’ll probably find that you come up with a few ideas while thinking about something else.
If possible, get outside to exercise. There will be more to look at and inspire you.
Work on a writing exercise.
The internet is full of potential writing exercises, but these are a few of my favorites.
- Write a story in less than 100 words.
- Put a character alone in a room with a single object and explain his/her interaction with that object and include their inner monologue.
- Describe a place in vivid detail.
- Come up with a first line to start a novel.
- Write the last line of a story.
Work on assignment from a client (if you have one).
Sometimes the overwhelming choice of writing about anything is, well, overwhelming.
By focusing on a project given to you by a client, you are forced to focus on a single topic. Removing the choice helps spur movement.
Additionally, an impending deadline can help spur you into action.
Create an artificial assignment.
If you don’t have an outstanding assignment, create one for yourself. Assign yourself 500 words on whatever topic you choose and then don’t let yourself out of it.
If you’re stuck for an idea, pull up a random question on Quora and treat that question as unalterable assignment.
What if, after all your work, your bad attitude has permeated the piece and it’s unpublishable?
Then don’t click submit. Not every article needs to be published, sometimes completing the writing and continuing to hone your craft is enough.