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How to Beat Writer’s Block the Hard Way

How to Beat Writer’s Block the Hard Way

    If you have written for an extended period of time, whether it be for your own personal blog, work, school, or all of the above, having writer’s block is inevitable. Breaking writer’s block isn’t an easy thing to do. So, instead of taking the easy way out, here are the hard ways to beat writer’s block, one day and one bad idea at a time.

    Force yourself

    I have a recurring daily task that simply says “force yourself to brainstorm article ideas for 25 minutes”. This reminder pings me every single day when I get home from work. The idea behind it is to not merely look at it and say to myself, “well, I don’t really have any ideas, so I will just check it off and try again tomorrow.” Oh, no.

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    The idea of “forcing myself” brings about a sort of rage and stubbornness inside. For the most part, people can’t stand being told what to do. So use this as a way to motivate yourself to action. Get mad and start writing.

    Write, no matter what

    Even if you think you don’t have enough time, are too tired, did too much work, have no ideas, whatever. It all doesn’t matter and it’s probably bullshit anyways. The only way to keep writing is to keep writing.

    We have talked about the 750 words a day habit that everyone (even non-writers) should keep to invoke creativity and flow in our lives. Making yourself write 750 words a day is a good first step to beat writer’s block one day at a time. As you keep writing more and more the ideas like “I don’t have any ideas” and “I’ll just write tomorrow” go out the window. We have to make a habit of writing consistently, no matter what.

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    Embrace bad ideas

    Are you not writing because your ideas suck? Yeah, well, join the club. Most ideas for writing (or anything for that matter) aren’t very good. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t embrace them and try to run with them.

    Keep a list of all of your ideas and start writing about them even if you think they are completely horrible. It’s a challenging thing to do; writing about something that you think is a bad idea. But, what can happen while writing is that your bad idea takes a turn into a better one and then possibly into something you never thought it would get to.

    It’s hard work to write through bad ideas, but the practice of it will surely break writer’s block and even help you produce some awesome content that is worth your time.

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    Write about uncomfortable things

    Here at Lifehack and my site DevBurner I tend to write about productivity and technology. These topics can be sometimes personal, but nothing like hunkering down and writing about my personal life, my feelings, what I can’t stand about myself or about the people around me, etc.

    Writing about the tough things in life can bring about ideas that you can use elsewhere. You also get to learn about yourself in the process and by doing that can sometimes see why you get writer’s block in the first place.

    Publish something everyday

    This combines all of the above ways to beat writer’s block into one. Get a personal blog, Tumblr, whatever and publish something every single day, no matter what. This is a tactic that I haven’t implemented yet, but what it does is get you in the habit of writing about anything and everything, embracing and trying out different/bad ideas, and to not take yourself so seriously.

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    Yes, you may be criticized, laughed at, scoffed at, whatever. You can make the site anonymous if you like. What you may find is that you produce something fabulous that people can look up to you for and that you can be proud of. You may be able to take this daily content and put together a book or spin it off into another site. It doesn’t really matter.

    Publishing everyday is a great way to beat writer’s block the hard way.

    Conclusion

    Writer’s block is a pain in the ass. So, instead of being afraid of it and letting it control you, it’s time to fight back and be a pain in the ass to writer’s block.

    These ways to beat writer’s block aren’t easy, but they work. They do take time and dedication but in my experience (and many other’s) it’s the only way to keep yourself writing for the long run.

    (Photo credit: pen and notebook via Shutterstock)

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2020

    11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

    11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

    We all know some overachievers: supermoms who manage to get online degrees between cleaning, cooking, and taking kids to practice; students who write 10-page papers when the directions call for 4; managers whose resumes look more like pages from the Guinness book of Records.

    How do they do it all? How is it possible that one person can graduate at the top of their class, found an orphanage in India, run 30k marathons, write a best-selling book, travel all over the world and learn to speak Mandarin Chinese while having a full-time job?

    What’s the secret of an overachiever? Here’re 11 things overachievers do differently that you can learn from.

    1. They Know How to Manage Their Time

    It’s pretty simple actually – you can never become an overachiever if you don’t know how to organize your time efficiently.

    The great thing is that overachievers are ready to share their knowledge and time management talent with the rest of the world. Read The 4-Hour Workweek or The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

    2. They Don’t Spend Hours Watching TV or Playing Computer Games

    Mostly because they have better things to do, like exercising, reading, spending an evening with their family or volunteering to work in the local soup kitchen. Their philosophy is simple – the world is full of wonderful things to try, explore and experience. Watching TV is not one of them.

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    3. They Are Obsessed With Perfection

    Imagine Steve Jobs’ work approach and you’ll understand the level of perfection and painfully high standards that overachievers set for themselves and those around them. Often it pays off (especially if they focus on just one domain). But sometimes compulsive over-striving turns into a sure-fire road to disappointments and unfinished tasks.

    Learn how to strike a balance: How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up

    4. They Know How To Inspire

    Overachievers learn quickly that it is much easier to achieve goals through collaboration (and especially delegation). So they know how to inspire, encourage, persuade and motivate people around them. Even though they often drive their team crazy with their stubbornness and perfectionism, people quickly follow under the spell of their enthusiasm and greater vision.

    Learn these 10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively.

    5. They Set Clear Goals

    The term “overachiever” itself implies that they know how to achieve goals. That is kind of hard to do if your goals are vague, unclear and lack specific deadline, which is why overachievers educate themselves, read goal-setting books, and think about the best way to approach a new task.

    Although, it’s worth mentioning that overachievers usually use their time management and goal-setting skills towards competitive, “I want to kick butt” type of goals rather than self-improvement, mastery goals.

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    Take a look at these tips to help you set clearer goals: What Are SMART Goals (And How to Use Them to Become Successful)

    6. They Are Organized

    It’s hard to imagine a disorganized overachiever, isn’t it? Their great organizational and planning skills usually serve three main purposes: keeping track of time, keeping track of progress and keeping track of achievements.

    This hasn’t been confirmed by scientific research yet, but overachievers might actually get a “runner’s high” from crossing tasks off their to-do lists, and making new to-do lists.

    Here’s How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People

    7. They Try to Avoid Failure at All Costs

    Some psychologists believe that overachievers place their self-worth on their competence, driven by an underlying fear of failure. Rather than setting and striving for goals based on a pure desire to achieve, their core motivation becomes avoiding failure. This may explain the fact that overachiever beat themselves up for even little setbacks and seemingly-insignificant mistakes.

    But be aware that having a strong fear of failure can wrek havoc your productivity. So the best thing to do? Learn to conquer the fear: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It)

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    8. They Love Awards

    Who doesn’t love them, right? True enough, but unlike most people who like to feel acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts, overachievers are bent on collecting ‘awards’, be it university degrees, spelling bee prizes or unusual destinations.

    While loving awares isn’t bad, it’s even better if you’re driven by internal motivation instead of external ones which could be quite uncontrolable or unstable: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It).

    9. They Don’t Understand the Concept of Work Hours

    Don’t get surprised if you receive a work-related email anywhere between 8 p.m. and midnight. It’s something overachievers usually do and you weren’t the only one. At least 20 more emails have been sent during these hours to other people. The concepts of over-achieving and working overtime usually go hand in hand.

    The downside of this is an imbalnced life, which may need to problems in other aspects of life including health and relationships. A better way is to Achieve a Realistic Work Life Balance.

    10. They Rest

    Overachievers might often be labeled as “workaholics”, because they often ignore bodily signs of hunger, fatigue and even a full bladder, hoping to finish just one last little part. This doesn’t mean that overachievers don’t know how to disconnect and relax.

    True that they tend to work in the highest gear, but they also have enough sense to give themselves time to rest and recharge. Of course, they do it in their own overachieving way, preferring climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or hiking through the Amazon jungle to lazing on the beach.

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    11. Overachievers Continuously Educate Themselves

    A great quality that most overachievers have is the hunger for knowledge. They surround themselves with bright people. They know how to listen, and most importantly, they get tons of mentoring.

    Despite the fact that overachievers want to excel at everything they set their minds on, they are humble enough to admit that to get on top of their game, they need help. And they are willing to pay someone to push, coach and guide them.

    You too can learn How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You.

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    Featured photo credit: Nghia Le via unsplash.com

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