Stuck. Stagnant. Can't break out of a rut. Frozen.
OK, let me start over.
As a writer, it sometimes feels like I'm stuck to a large piece of Velcro that won't let go.
Writer's block is the ailment that prevents you from coming up with good ideas when you sit down to write. We'll save the debate about whether it even exists for another day. And, we'll skip the obvious solutions like going for a walk or drinking coffee.
Here's my official advice on how to break out of a writing muckfest.

1. Persevere

The number one cure for writer's block is to persevere. You sit down at a blank screen in Google Docs and just stare. And stare. And stare. Yet, there is hope. Ask any professional writer what to do at this point and you'll likely hear the same thing. You just start typing. Then revise. Then revise again. (Hint to those who want to be a professional writer: If you don't persevere, you won't get paid.) Like any job, you have to push yourself until you see results. Then, keep pushing until the words finally erupt.

2. Read unrelated works

Be careful with this one. If you need to type up an idea for a new advertising pitch, don't go looking for similar ad pitches on the Web. And, don't copy the style, facts, or opinions of other writers. That's just wrong. At the same time, it's okay to crack open a book when you get writer's block. For me, reading something completely unrelated to business writing like the new Jack Reacher novel seems to jar something loose in my synapse and shake out a few of the most firmly-lodged dust bunnies.

3. Just start writing anything

I already mentioned how perseverance is the key to breaking writer's block. Related to that is a method I've often used when I'm stuck with an article. I just start writing. It's a bit like trying to find the library in an unknown city. You can sit and plan out your trip, type in the coordinates on your GPS, or ask for directions. How fun is that? Sometimes, you just need to start driving and look for a sign. Start writing anything--maybe it's a recipe list or a joke. Just get those brain cells moving.

4. Talk it out

If you see me at CES this next year or we happen to meet during one of my frequent trips to Silicon Valley, don't laugh too hard if my lips are moving. There are times when I start "writing" in my head and talk out loud to get the ideas flowing. I'm sure it makes me look like an idiot. No matter. Sometimes, it helps to talk out your prose and see if the words flow. Say them aloud, then type them up on your laptop. Done.

5. Switch to a different writing project

I've used this one many times. If you are trying to write a memo about the upcoming all-hands meeting, the one that's critically important to the company, try setting it aside and switch to something a little less important. Maybe the stress of the meeting is killing your creativity. Fine. Working on a different piece of writing might crack open the flood waters.

6. Wait

You know what? I believe writer's block does happen. Being tired and overworked, thinking too much about distractions outside of work, or a simple lack of creativity can all put you into a serious fuzz. It's okay to do something else for a while. Come back to the writing project. Even the professional writers will take breaks. I'm about to take one right now.

reblogged from