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How to get over writer’s block. And it’s not what you think!

How to start writing – fast.

“If you get stuck, go to the bathroom.”

The words of my university lecturer (a seasoned TV reporter) still ring true today.

We all get writer’s block. I do. I’ve worked as a journalist and copywriter for more than 20 years, and occasionally the words still don’t come out the way I want them to. Sometimes they don’t come out at all.

The harder you try, the harder it becomes.

And then something happens… there’s an interruption, a quick break, a change in thought. You relax and those elusive words or phrases spring to mind.

Crown and stay clam layout white on orange with text overlay – Stay calm and write. How to conquer writer’s block – 10 easy strategies

Toilet talk is where the science comes in: when you do a pee, parts of the body relax. And if you’re relaxed, everything seems to calm down. As a result, you write better.

This could be placebo – either way, there’s no question a relaxed atmosphere and a calm writer equate to a more successful writing venture, just like anything in life.

So instead of fighting it, how else can you stay calm and relax into your writing task?

5 more ways to relax when you write

1. Set the scene

Whether it’s loading up on coffee, making sure the water jug is within easy reach, diffusing some energising essential oils or putting on some soft motivational tunes, a pre-writing ritual and getting your work environment just right can certainly get you in the right mood and help with relaxation.

Do you write too many words?
Cut the clutter with this cheat sheet.

2. Take a break

As simple as a quick screen break – a one-minute interlude gazing out the window allows for a new perspective when you return to the screen. It’s a chance to momentarily switch the brain to another topic. If you need a stretch, get up for that cup of tea, piece of chocolate or toilet stop. Anything to get you off topic before coming back to it with a fresh mind.

3. Plan ahead

If possible, think about what you’re going to write before you sit down to do it. This allows you to mull over your idea and some potential words, and it can help clarify your thoughts – you’ll be more relaxed and focused on the big picture. Here’s how to plan your document.

Download the ultimate blog plan template

4. Shake it off

If you’re worried about the lack of inspirational text on your screen, get out of your seat and give yourself a shake. Shrug your shoulders. Stretch. Breathe. Do some star jumps or a dance. Get the blood flowing and stretch wherever you can feel knots forming. If you’re distracted by the stress of it all, it’s time to get your body involved. A meditation or some yoga may be in order.

5. Get out

This isn’t for everyone, but sometimes you just need a change of scenery. While you may not be as productive in a café, at a park or overlooking the ocean, chances are it’ll be a more enjoyable experience. After all, when we’re having fun, we’re relaxed – and we know what that means.

Ready to take it to the next level? Learn how to make writing fun.

Keyboard letters with text overlay – Click here to download the cheat sheet – 10 easy strategies to combat writer’s block

But what if…

Deadlines are looming

With just 10 minutes to hit ‘send’ on your email or ‘publish’ on your blog post, the pressure can be intense. Finding the right words gets harder as each minute ticks down.

Regardless of how little time there is, stop. Take a breath, close your eyes, forget about writing and relax. Then write. Even the teeniest of breaks can do wonders to get you motivated and back in the zone.

You can’t stop thinking about the word count

Whether you’re struggling to write enough words or you need to keep it short and sharp, having a target word count can be counterproductive. So worry about adding or deleting words once you’ve got your thoughts down.

If you have trouble being succinct, there are loads of editing techniques that can cull your words by the dozen (here’s one way you can instantly reduce the length of your document).

What do you find most difficult to write? And how do you get around it? Leave a comment below!

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