As content creators, sometimes we fall victim to the dreaded writer’s block.

It’s frustrating. And it’s stressful. It’s the last thing anyone wants to deal with, especially with a deadline looming in the near future!

If you want to learn how you can overcome writer’s block, you’re in the right place. This #ContentWritingChat recap covers how to determine if you’re really dealing with writer’s block, how to confront it head on, and what to do if it keeps happening to you.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Overcome Writer’s Block with Ann Gynn

Our guest host for this month’s chat is Ann Gynn. She’s an Editorial Consultant for our friends over at Content Marketing Institute. Ann wrote a post for their blog all about beating writer’s block, so we knew we had to have her guest host and share some tips with us. So, let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: What does writer’s block really mean?

Before we dive into the helpful tips, we need to get to the bottom of what writer’s block really is. Here are some of the responses we received from our chat participants:

Ann views writer’s block in two different ways, short-term and long-term. In the short-term, she feels it’s struggling to articulate what you’re trying to say. But in the long-term, she says it’s a mindset of those who generally find writing problematic.

Lexie also views writer’s block in a couple of different ways. On one hand, it could be feeling unsure of what to write, but sometimes it’s struggling to put your thoughts into a written piece that makes sense.

Katie believes writer’s block is all in your mindset. Sometimes you’re just not in the mood to write, maybe you’re tired or other thoughts are consuming your mind.

And sometimes you just might have too much going on in your head that it’s hard to get it all out onto paper or on the screen.

Q2: How do you know if it’s writer’s block or a problem with your preparation (i.e. research, interviews, etc.)?

Sometimes you might not be dealing with writer’s block. It could be a different problem holding you back! Here’s how to get to the root cause:

Ann’s advice is to review your notes and see if you have all the information necessary to create a great piece. If not, you’ll have to go back to the prep stage. She also finds it helpful to write a simple outline of your article to get started.

Lexie agrees that creating an outline is helpful. If you can create an outline, odds are it’s just writer’s block and not issues with your prep. However, if creating the outline is a struggle, it’s time to do more research.

Q3: How can you overcome writer’s block?

Now, let’s get into the really good stuff. Here’s some advice on how you can overcome writer’s block the next time it creeps up:

These tips that Ann shared are great, especially reiterating Michelle’s advice on snacking on some chocolate!

Another awesome tip that Ann shared was to break down your article into smaller tasks and assign deadlines for each. For example, blocking off time in your calendar for writing the introduction and then tackling the body later.

If you can, step away from the screen. Sometimes you just need to take a break because you never know when inspiration may strike.

Karly suggests turning on a Spotify playlist. While she goes for classical, you might want something upbeat that you can dance to. Whatever works best! She also recommends trying the Pomodoro technique to just start writing, even if it isn’t your best work. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Get the words onto paper (or the screen) and edit later.

Lisa turns to music as well when she needs to overcome writer’s block. Always a winning idea!

The next time an idea comes up, spend 5-10 minutes jotting down your ideas like Michelle suggests. That should be really helpful when it comes time to create the full article.

And remember that everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for you, so try a variety of things to see what helps you shake writer’s block.

Q4: How can you confront writer’s block when you can’t leave your desk?

While many choose to get away from the desk and take a break, sometimes you just can’t do that. Here’s what you can do if you’re struggling with writer’s block, but are chained to the desk:

Ann suggests getting away from the screen and doing something else on your to-do list. She even likes to play Scrabble Go on her phone, which is certainly a welcome distraction.

This would be a great opportunity to just get out a journal and start writing something else. Record details of your day, maybe write a gratitude list, anything. Just give it a go!

Q5: What happens when you overcome writer’s block, only to have it again later in the same piece?

There’s nothing worse than having writer’s block rear its ugly head yet again! This advice should help you out if it keeps happening:

Revisit your goals. Ann says to determine what you’re trying to accomplish and revise your plans as needed.

If you just can’t seem to overcome writer’s block, it may be worthwhile to just call it quits for the day. Walk away from the piece and come back to it the next day.

Karly suggests going for a walk outside or tackling something else on your to-do list.

Q6: What if I’m experiencing writer’s block with every assignment/task I tackle?

There might be something you can do differently if you find that you’re prone to experiencing writer’s block. Check out these suggestions:

Ask yourself if you truly enjoy writing or if some other thoughts are holding you back from being a great writer. Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling.

Is the problem due to a lack of motivation? Or is it a lack of preparation or focus? Figure out what the root cause of your writer’s block is so you can address it head on.

It’s also wise to ask yourself if writing is something you truly want to do before continue to push forward.

It could just be a case of burnout and it might be time to take a break.

Q7: Are there steps I can take to prevent writer’s block in the first place?

These tips will really come in handy the next time you sit down to write. Jot down your favorites to put them to use!

Ann’s advice of creating a writing process you can replicate each time is great!

Make sure you do your research. When you have all the necessary information for your article beforehand, it’ll be easier to write.

Karly suggests paying attention to what helps you feel productive and do those things before you start writing.

And finally, figure out when you’re most productive and make that your dedicated time for research and writing.

Join us for the next #ContentWritingChat! It takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the latest.