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It doesn’t matter if you are a content writer, copywriter or blogger; learning to write when you don’t feel like it is essential if you want to take your work seriously.
But eventually, there will be days when writing feels next to impossible. Maybe you haven’t slept well or your personal life is chaotic. Maybe the words just aren’t coming and you just feel uninspired. When this happens, a break is sometimes in order.
However, there will be times when you will have to carry on with the work at hand despite the resistance of your mind.
Professional writers don’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration. After all, inspiration doesn’t pay the bills; writing does. Luckily, there’s no need to despair because a few tried and true tricks can get you out of a rut and back to typing on your keyboard.
Related: The 4 Best Tools to Speed Up Your Writing Process
Try free writing
We often struggle to write because we think too much about finding the right words. It’s fine to worry about your prose, but that worry, when left unchecked, can lead to a mental block. Free writing is an exercise that can help you overcome this.
Without thinking, set a timer for 20 minutes and start writing about anything. Give yourself the freedom to write any old rubbish. If your brain goes blank at the thought of this, write down “I can’t think of anything to say because…” and see where that takes you. After the time is up, read it again if you wish. You might surprise yourself with what you wrote. But don’t worry if none of this makes sense. The goal is not to create content but to trick your mind into the flow of writing, which you can then use to get back to your work.
Change your environment
Sometimes a change in environment can make all the difference and change your mindset. This is especially the case if you are used to working from home, where some people find it difficult to adopt the right mindset. Just walking to your local coffee shop can tell your brain that a shift has occurred and it needs to go into “work mode.”
Related: The 5 Skills You Need to Become a Successful Content Writer
Try using the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a handy tool for productivity that breaks your workday into distraction-free chunks. The first step is to find a place where you will not be disturbed. Then set a timer for 25 minutes and work on a writing task. Do not allow yourself to do anything other than work on this task during this time. Don’t look at your phone, don’t check your emails and focus on your work. Once the timer has started, a “Pomodoro” is over and you can give yourself a 5 minute break.
At this point, you can go for a walk, stretch, make coffee, or whatever else you feel the need to do. You probably want to avoid staring at a screen if you’re working on your computer. After those five minutes are up, set yourself another 25-minute timer and come back to it. Once you’ve completed four Pomodoros, you can give yourself a longer break of 30 minutes. Then continue until you feel like you’ve had a good day’s work.
The Pomodoro Technique is great for instilling a distraction-free work ethic and keeping track of what you do each day. Of course, you can modify this technique as you see fit. Maybe you find 25 minutes too much, or you prefer to go longer. Either way, remember not to overdo it. Most people do no more than four hours of focused work each day. So doing more than eight Pomodoros a day will wear you down in the long run.
Demystify your excuses
Our brain has a funny way of giving us excuses when we don’t feel like doing something. When this happens, don’t beat yourself up, like we all do. Have the courage to face yourself. Here is an exercise that can help you achieve this.
First, write down all the reasons why you need to go to work, including internal and external motivations. Maybe you have a client expecting a finished project tomorrow or maybe you challenge yourself to write a certain number of words by the end of the day. This will remind you of your motivations for writing. Once you’ve done that, write down all the reasons why you don’t want to write and try to demystify each one. For example, if one of your excuses is that you’re feeling tired, tell yourself that you’ll have a cup of tea and plenty of rest when you’re done. Doing this may seem silly at first, but it will turn your negative attitude into a positive one.
Use a daily ritual
No, you don’t need to start sacrificing small creatures to the writing gods. That’s not the kind of ritual we’re talking about here. Instead, we’re talking about daily routine activities that you can use to trick your subconscious into knowing it’s time to work. It can be as simple as making a coffee and sitting down in a particular spot. It can be like doing ten minutes of yoga before writing everyday or reading a favorite inspirational quote. Whatever suits you best. The point is not the activity itself but the repetition. Therefore, try to make it something you only do before you start writing.
Final Thought: Creating Consistency
Building consistency is the most critical thing for a successful writing career. Of course, there will always be bad days and good days. But, if you can learn to show up and put in the work on bad days, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career.
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