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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 December 10, 2019

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

    Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

    But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

    Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

    But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

    Journal writing.

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    Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

    Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

    Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

    1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

    By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

    Consider this:

    Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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    But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

    The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

    2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

    If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

    How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

    Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

    You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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    3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

    As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

    Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

    All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

    4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

    Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

    Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

    The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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    5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

    The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

    It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

    Kickstart Journaling

    How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

    Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

    Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

    Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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