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Combating Writer's Block

 


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Writing good content is often a huge challenge for webmasters. I, along with every other writer out there, suffer at one time or another a condition called writer's block. Writer's block is an illness in which a writer is unable to come up with ideas for content or is unable to begin writing once a topic has been chosen.

Writer's block can be quite serious, especially if you have a home business that focuses on written content in order to survive. If you are unable to write for several days at a time, your income may be at stake and your website's success in jeopardy.

Chances are you are experiencing writer's block, or you wouldn't be reading this. Fear not, you certainly aren't the only one who suffers this. Not only amateur writers like me experience this, but even professional and well-known authors struggle with writer's block.

I will admit, I experience this nearly every time I sit down to write. I get several great ideas in my head at all hours of the day, but as soon as I sit down at my computer I find that I am unable to even begin writing about them. This is extremely frustrating and is a big waste of time, as I sit there trying to figure out where I should start.

Fortunately, there are ways to combat writer's block. Different methods work for different people, and I will list a few and I hope that you can find one or two that work well for you.

Reading

Reading is an excellent way to combat writer's block. Reading causes new thoughts and ideas to be born. Currently I am reading a biography on Bill Gates. While I read this excellent book I carry with me a small notepad so I can write down ideas that emerge while I read. I have found this is an excellent way to find new ideas. By reading of the success and ideas of others, ideas of my own come to mind.

I find a massive amount of motivation from reading. This that I am currently reading is mainly on the success of Microsoft, and reading about their success makes me want to be successful. This motivates me to brainstorm and think up new ideas for writing. As a result of this new-found motivation, I work harder on what I'm doing and ultimately, I achieve success.

One of my other articles is on motivation. This article also focuses on reading to find motivation.

Freewriting

Freewriting is another great way to fight writer's block. Just start writing on something, anything, even if it's just random nonsense. This will seriously help “jumpstart your brain" and get ideas flowing.

There are several different freewriting techniques, one of my favorites is clustering. Clustering is where you take a topic and put it on paper. You then add subtopics to the paper and connect them to the main topic with a line. You continue this until you have a large “web" or “cluster" of ideas and topics.

When I was in high school my teacher required us to write several journal entries per week. They didn't have to be on anything specific, we could write on almost anything we wanted. This was to improve our writing skills and also to eliminate writer's block. I can say that it helped quite well, and I continue to practice this up to today.

Listening

Listening is another way to “unclog your brain". I have found that listening to soft music while brainstorming helps the ideas to flow easier and faster. I like to carry around my Creative mp3 player (loaded with soft music) around with me everywhere to listen to whenever I get a free moment. I get out a notepad and freewrite away.

Instead of reading, you may find it more enjoyable (and time-saving) to listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Podcasts are getting to be extremely popular now, and are readily available for free on services such as iTunes. Like reading, listening to podcasts and audiobooks can help you conquer writer's block, as your brain is being introduced to new ideas and concepts.

Conversing

Participating in conversation with other people is another way to defeat writer's block. Talking with people, exchanging ideas, and even arguing with them can provide you with writing ideas.

With the advent of the Internet, this has become even easier than before. You can now just hop onto a forum or chat room at any hour of the day and instantly participate in active conversation. You can join conversations on topics of interest to you, chats on religion, politics, nearly anything you can possibly think of.

One of my personal favorite ways of conversing on the Internet is IRC, or Internet Relay Chat. IRC is made up of a network of IRC servers that are linked together, which then host different topic-oriented rooms (or as they're called in IRC, “channels") that are founded by users on the network. There are hundreds of IRC servers out there, and chances are nearly all of them have some kind of activity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can download a client for connecting to IRC servers here

Watching

Although I do not recommend this, as I feel most television is a waste of time, you can actually find writing material on TV. Watching TV can provide you with writing ideas, especially if you watch the more factual channels such as National Geographic or MSNBC.

Even though I don't watch much TV, what little I do watch I spend watching educational channels such as Discovery, Animal Planet, History, etc. These channels sometimes provide me with writing ideas whenever I run low.

Studying

No, I don't mean studying as in reading textbooks, but studying an item or creature. Picking something up and examining it, inspecting it, and feeling it, can cause you to produce questions about the item, leading to writing topics.

I enjoy going out into nature. It amazes me to see the clouds, the colorful plants and birds and other animals. Taking a stroll through nature and looking at things causes new writing ideas to be born, I look at nature and I ask questions like "Why is this animal this color?" or "Why does this creature behave this way?".

Studying people can be a source of ideas, too. Going to a public place, inspecting and observing the different people that walk by. How they walk, dress, and communicate.

I hope you found this article to be useful, and by using it you will be able to reduce the effects of writer's block and achieve success.

Zachary Graham is a student in southeast Minnesota. He likes to spend time with computers, writing, learning languages, and maintaining his marine aquarium and his website .

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