You're trucking along, writing everything you can think of, when all of a sudden, you sit down, and it hits you. The blank screen. A Word document, full screen. White. The cursor's blinking. It's mocking you. You can't think of anything to write. Every idea that comes into your head is stupid, or has already been done before. So you start yelling at your inner voice. “SHUT UP!” you tell it. But that doesn't work. Your inner voice is laughing at you now, and the only voice you've quieted is the voice you need the most: your creative self. It's almost as if something physical hits you. This is what writer's block feels like. There's good news, though. Writer's block is not terminal, and there are ways out of it. In fact, I can think of 15 ways to beat writer's block right off the top of my head. Let's go through them.
1. Acknowledge that it's real.
Writer's block is a real thing. Denying its existence will not make it go away. In fact, it might make things worse. Say hello. Welcome it into your home. It's going to make itself comfortable anyway, so be gracious.
2. Name it.
Or at least acknowledge it as something outside yourself. Mine is male, so the rest of this example will refer to him as a person. “Hi, Mr. Writer's Block. Haven't seen you in a long time. How have you been?” That way, it'll be much easier to show him the door when his time is up.
3. Ask him why he came to visit.
See if you can figure out his intentions. His motives. Why is he there? Is it because you've been really busy and can't think about any topics? Is he there because he knows you're about to burn out and he wants to help you stop writing?
4. Step away from the computer.
Sometimes, I think my Mr. Writer's Block lives in my computer. He's definitely lurking around on Facebook. He's really good friends with Mr. Procrastinator, who tells me that work is not fun and browsing through Facebook is. Both are lying. Give yourself some distance. Grab a notebook, and walk away.
5. Change your scenery.
Do you always write in your office? Go to the living room. Leave the house even. A coffee shop is great. So is a public park. Or the library! I know someone who tries to schedule long flights because she does her best writing on the airplane. That's a little extreme, but go somewhere that expects work to be done.
6. Remind yourself that you're a writer.
You can do this. Don't listen to Mr. Writer's Block when he tells you that you can't. He's wrong, and you can write. Nobody else in the world can tell your story.
7. Change your mindset.
Imagine if a plumber didn't feel like working right now. Or the mechanic didn't feel like changing your oil. Now imagine any other profession, other than that of a writer, where you can blame your lack of production on something that everyone understands. Can't think of any? That's because writers give themselves more room for laziness than any other profession. Change your mind, and get to work.
8. Go for a walk, take a shower, clean the house, go for a jog, take a nap.
Anything but writing. Creativity comes in the in-between spaces, when you're on autopilot. Turn off your mind. Try to stop thinking of ideas. Let yourself be quiet. Listen for the muse. She's in there. Waiting for you to be still.
9. Set aside a time everyday to write, and write.
Know when your creativity is at its peak. For me, it's early morning, before the sun's up. That's where magic lies. For some, it's early afternoon, and for others still, it's late at night. Give yourself an hour, every day, to simply write. Don't fuss about direction, don't worry about whether the content will go viral. Just write. Later, see if anything you wrote is worth publishing, and be gentle here. Remember, you're your own worst critic.
10. Start with the simplest thing, and explain it.
What are you writing about? Remember, you're the expert. Not everyone is going to know as much about your topic as you. Start with the most basic topic you can think of, and get even more basic. Teach people how to do things!
11. Go through your archives, and see if you can expand on old titles.
Bonus: you can link to the old one, which builds your value in Google's eyes, and if you have a different take on something you wrote about six months ago, by all means, revisit it!
12. Relate current events to your niche.
What's going on today? Can you relate it to your niche? Can you write about back-to-school topics? What about holidays? Think of something topical, and see how it relates to what your readers are thinking about.
13. Brainstorm post titles.
Write “How to” at the top of a page. Then, think about the things you can teach people how to do. How to ride a bike, how to refurnish a chair, how to start blogging for profit… give yourself 15 minutes, and write as many post titles as you can. The more ludicrous, the better. The silliest titles are the most fun posts to write.
14. Interview someone.
Ask questions. Get inspired. Get content!
15. Find the ten best somethings.
This is a great one. Find ten things you like, the ten best examples of X, and link to all ten! Make a slideshow. Do this once a month. July's top hits. December's ten best garlands. The content well is deep for this, and as long as you a) don't steal, and b) link back to the original source, it's a win-win for everyone!