Mark Rosemaker
Mark Rosemaker
Solving problems, one at a time.
📅 Oct 1, 2019 🕘 4 min read 💬 744

How to Overcome Writer's Block Without Forcing Yourself

Stop Beating Yourself Up and Be Free to Write

Yesterday, I decided I wanted to write a blog post every day.

So, the issue of writer’s block is going to inevitably come up. Here are some thoughts and solutions.

Define Your Purpose

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What is your purpose? Once you know that, you gain a deeper understanding of what you are writing about, you also know whether you should actually bother with writing at all.

You are making sure that you are writing the right things instead of just putting words on the screen. Don’t force yourself to write, that’s a recipe to unhappiness.

The purpose of this blog is to gain a deeper understanding of things and to facilitate discussions. I mainly write about things I want to understand (more deeply) myself. I think through writing we become much clearer on what we think. Therefore, I want to write about almost everything I think about.

Connected to defining your purpose is to:

Define Your Ideal Reader

Who are you writing for? What would your ideal reader be like?

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Once you know that it’s much easier to not just write better, it’s also easier to get the motivation you need.

Think about your potential readers and what problems they are facing. You can help them. The longer you wait, the longer you “deprive” them of the solution.

If you are teaching or giving advice, you are a very likely part of your ideal readership because we often give advice and teach what we need to learn ourselves. Often, when I gave suggestions related to productivity, personal development, and practical philosophy to others, I soon discovered that I needed to hear it more than they did.

In any case, have some empathy for your ideal reader. Nobody will mind spelling mistakes and other imperfections if you solve their problems.

Overcome Your Fear With These Tips

Writer’s block and perfectionism are often connected to fear. Those fears most of have their root in one major fear: the fear of judgment from others.

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Realize that there are only two possibilities:

  1. People won’t judge you because they understand that skill comes with practice and we all make mistakes.
  2. People will judge you, proving their negative mindset and letting you know they are not the kind of people you’d want to interact with.

Your ideal reader is not just in the first category but is also very glad for having found your post. They’re thankful to you, the writer. Why should you care about anyone else?

Try a Free Writing Exercise

I write over a thousand words per day for another project of mine. How do I do it?

I separate the research phase from the writing phase as much as possible. Sure, sometimes you have to do research and some thinking, but when it’s writing time, I simply write what comes to mind – every idea, every thought. I just try to let myself go as much as possible.

It doesn’t matter how silly or imperfect it is what I write, thinking your own writing to be bad is just negative self-talk. Instead, I simply tell myself that I can do all the editing later. Experience has shown that this is much more efficient.

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Try it, I think you’ll like it and you’ll produce so much content. Think about this calculation: You can write 100 perfect words and be done for the day or you can write 1000 quickly and edit out 70 % later – you’ll still have three times the amount of words. This is a very conservative calculation – you’ll never edit out as much as 70 %.

Conclusion

The best way to overcome writer’s block is to write about writer’s block (see what I did there?).

So if you still haven’t solved the problem, write your own text about writer’s block. I’m sure you can come up with something if you just type everything you are thinking about, without censuring yourself.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. I wrote it mainly for myself; I will consult it whenever I feel writer’s block. I hope it can help you as well, please do let me know.

I will add more to this post later when I get more ideas. For the moment, I want to do the thing that helps against this kind of perfectionism we just talked about: Just publish.

Please write in the comments what your biggest challenge is when it comes to writer’s block.

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