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What Is Writer’s Block?

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Writer’s block is real

“They’re real, and they’re spectacular” is an infamous line from a classic episode of Seinfeld.

Well, what if I proposed that writer’s block is real, and also spectacular?

I know it’s a controversial subject.

Some associate writer’s block with procrastination or an unwillingness to put in the time and effort.

Others admit that it’s common and maddening, even for seasoned professional writers.

Regardless of which camp you’ve traditionally found yourself in, no one likes writer’s block.

Still, you can simply respond to the question, “What is writer’s block?” with the fact that …

Sometimes you just don’t know what you want to say

Instead of resigning writer’s block to a source of frustration, it’s a signal to dissect the current stage of your creative process.

You have something to say, but you don’t know the best way to say it or the main point you want to make.

When your message isn’t clear, you’re blocked. That’s not a myth or an excuse.

Once you recognize it’s a challenge that helps you grow as a writer, you can work through the obstacle until you get it right.

Befriend writer’s block

Reviewing your work with a critical eye makes you a strong writer, but when you’re overly critical of your text, you often get stuck.

Again, let’s move past “stuck” as a bad thing. It’s simply a stage you go through as you learn how to become a freelance writer. Say hello to your writer’s block, befriend it, and let go of any negative charge associated with it.

You might realize you have too many ideas, or conversely, you only have a vague topic in mind. Both can keep you from writing better content.

Accept this moment as a chance to pause and know it’s temporary.

3 small steps to clear up your block

When you don’t know what you want to say, you need to relieve yourself from the pressure of capturing The Ultimate Perfect Thing.

Aiming to write The Ultimate Perfect Thing is what’s keeping you blocked.

Playing around with your rough content ideas, however, will lead you to expressing The Right Things.

Here are three steps to start working with your vague article ideas. This exercise will eventually transform a rocky writing session into a smooth one … so you can go back to your original state of asking, “What is writer’s block?”

Step #1: Draft headlines

You can immediately start having fun with this step to alleviate any pressure you might have been feeling about not knowing how to express what you want to say.

Think of it as a creative exercise and reference inspirational quotes for writers if you need some motivation to get started.

Draft several headlines, polish them, and pick the most accurate one.

Step #2: Turn your headline into a question (temporarily)

Turn the title that you select into a question to pinpoint your main message. This step is particularly useful when learning how to overcome writer’s block.

You can use the word Who, What, When, Where, Why, or How at the beginning of your question.

Most of the time this question functions as a tool, rather than the exact headline you’ll use for your content.

Step #3: Answer your question

Your supporting points need to answer the question that you craft in Step #2 — other ideas can be saved for future content.

This is another opportunity to break down any foggy or overly ambitious ideas to get clear about exactly what you want to say.

Each section of your content will illuminate your message and guide your reader to a meaningful conclusion.

An example of this writer’s block exercise

We can use the title of this post as an example.

  • Step #1: What Is Writer’s Block?
  • Step #2: Why would someone ask, “What is writer’s block?
  • Step #3: Each section of this post should answer the question above.

In Step #1, I drafted headline options and decided on “What Is Writer’s Block?”

For Step #2, I turned my headline into a question I could answer: “Why would someone ask, ‘What is writer’s block?‘”

Finally, in Step #3, I used this piece of content to answer the question I crafted in Step #2, and made sure each section of this article directly related to its title.

Spectacular content doesn’t always start out that way

As much as writers like to find smart habits to speed along the writing process, each piece of content you write might begin a little differently — it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer.

It’s wonderful when you’re asking yourself, “What is writer’s block?” and the exact words you intended to communicate spill out of your mind as soon as you sit down to write.

But on the days they don’t, you don’t have to get discouraged.

Readers only see your final product, so the first notes, outlines, or drafts that you needed to explore in a messy way can be your little secret.

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