You’ve decided your business needs a blog—so how do you beat writer’s block when it has you staring at a blank screen?

Here are 11 techniques that often help blocked bloggers. Try one or try them all—whatever it takes to get back on track.

Writer’s block, of course, is when a writer can’t write. It’s a blinking cursor on a blank page and a total absence of ideas.  

It can be characterized by a lack of output, a significant slowing of output or extreme dissatisfaction with minimal output—which is often deleted or set on fire in fits of misery.  

For example, the musician Adele famously struggled with writer’s block when trying to create a follow-up to her hit 2008 debut “19.” F. Scott Fitzgerald and Charles M. Schultz are two others who’ve struggled with the condition.  

Below, you’ll find a series of techniques you can use to beat writer’s block.  

Read on to write on.  

 

Causes of Writer’s Block  

 

Like shin splints or headaches, writer’s block can be caused by many things.  

Depression, stress, lack of motivation, intimidation, fear—those are just a few of the many causes.  

It’s interesting to note that most of the causes listed above are themselves related to other issues. For example, fear doesn’t cause writer’s block. Fear of judgement or failure is often rooted in a lack of self-confidence, which itself has many causes.  

Same deal with anxiety, depression and a lack of inspiration. All relate to issues elsewhere in life, so to cure writer’s block, you often have to take a look at your life as a whole.  

Are you working too much?  

Drinking too much? 

Sleeping too little?  

Do you exercise?  

Do you make time to be creative?  

When dealing with writer’s block, you can make great strides by evaluating your life—and this is incredibly important for busy entrepreneurs. Stress and overwork are common, and it’s very tough to be creative when you’re wearing all the hats in your business and you’re wrung out by 12-hour days.  

Blood doesn’t come from a stone.  

Luckily, our sister company, Two-Brain Business, can help with that. If you’re crushed by your business, talk to a mentor for free by clicking here.   

That’s how the big picture relates to writer’s block. Below, we’ll outline some targeted strategies.

 

Deadlines  

 

You know who doesn’t get writer’s block? The professional on a strict deadline. The work must be done so the work is done.

Here’s a common situation in the media world: A professional writer has weeks to write but can’t or doesn’t. An hour before the deadline, he or she springs into action and writes the piece that’s due.  

It’s amazing what pressure can do.  

That doesn’t always work, and pressure sometimes has the opposite effect: Panic shuts down the mind and makes writer’s block worse. You’ll need to find out if deadlines and clocks help you or hinder you.

 

Technique to Try

Put yourself on a clock.  

You have 30 minutes to write a short blog, and you absolutely have to publish something at the end.  

We work with entrepreneurs who will do anything to make their businesses successful, and some respond very well to pressure. So start a clock and start typing.

If this technique makes writer’s block worse for you, avoid it and try one of the suggestions below.  

 

Speak Your Mind  

 

Some people get locked up by the keyboard. And many people hate typing or become overwhelmed by the blank page.  

Very often, those people can talk their way out of it, then create a blog from the recording.  

By removing the keyboard and its frustrations, the plug in the drain is sometimes removed.  

 

Technique to Try

Pick a topic in your area of expertise and talk about it while recording. You can use an audio recorder, an audio app on a mobile device, or just take a video with the mobile camera.  

At the end, you can do one of three things:  

1. Listen to the recording to see if it prompts you to write. Pull out the best lines and ideas, then write around them.

2. Transcribe the audio and edit it into a blog. It’s time consuming to do this yourself, but services like Temi are fast and economical. You’ll need to proofread transcriptions, and if you’re using a transcription service, the results will be better if you speak slowly and clearly in a quiet room. From there, you can edit the transcription so it reads like a blog.

3. Publish the media as a video or a podcast if you decide that would be better than turning it into a blog.

 

A clenched fist holds a pen, with the words "Sometimes you need to force it" in the background.

 

Just Write Around Writer’s Block

 

Rude and rugged author Charles Bukowski once said this: “Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”  

Some people find they can chip away at the block simply by writing anything—even random words or nonsense. No deleting. No hitting backspace. No tearing up the paper. No self-censorship.

Again, this technique backfires on some people. But it might work for you.  

 

Technique to Try

Sit down and decide that you’re going to type for a period of time no matter what.  

Even if it’s just “I can’t think of anything to write” over and over again. Let your mind wander, then tell the story of where it goes.  

It might look like this: “I can’t think of anything to write. But that white truck reminds me of my grandpa. He lived on a farm. I wonder if the truck owner works on a farm. I visited a farm once. It had goats. One of them was eating a carrot.”  

And so on. It seems like babble, but you’re pushing words—any words—past a bottleneck. The more that squeak by, the more likely you’ll remove the blockage.  

 

A black hex dumbbell sits on the rubber matting of a CrossFit gym, with the words "work out" written in red below the dumbbell.

 

Exercise  

 

Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper has written a lot of stuff—four books and thousands of blogs and letters.  

At heart, he’s a personal trainer. So it’s only natural that he discovered exercise and writing go hand in hand for him.  

Here’s how it works: As your body does busy work, your mind is freed from distractions like social media notifications, pets or children, phone calls, and so on. You’re out on a bike or mowing a lawn or building a dock. This allows for a state called “thinking body, dancing mind.”  

 

Technique to Try

Do some busy work before writing.  

From Chris, our resident prolific blogger: “If you have trouble thinking up a blog topic, start a menial task, like mowing the grass or going out for a walk.”  

Another tip from Chris: Find a way to record great ideas without ruining the flow of activity. It can be as simple as a notepad on the ground while you’re shoveling gravel into a truck. 

 

Simplify and Reorder  

 

People who are struggling with a blockage are often engaged with a large, complicated project.  

It’s no wonder they’re struggling. Even pros are intimidated by hundreds of pages or complex ideas.  

Imagine we said, “Build a house right over there.”  

You might panic and fail to act because you don’t know where to start. Call that “builder’s block.”   

Consider this instead: “Go over there and dig a hole that’s 30 feet wide, 30 feet long and 8 feet deep. Then create a reinforcing structure. Then build wood forms.” And so on.  

You’d know how to start and how to proceed.  

 

Technique to Try

Pick low-hanging fruit. Put the big, complicated, intimidating project on the back burner. Then tackle something smaller and easier.  

Short and simple isn’t bad, and longer isn’t always better. When you’re blocked, pick something in your wheelhouse.

If “The Ultimate Guide to Workout Supplements” has you plugged up, just tell a story about a client who recently hit a a new record. If your in-depth, exhaustive analysis of software platforms has you tied in knots, write about the best and worst features of a single platform.  

Once you get the smaller article done, try a series of increasingly larger projects until you feel ready to hit the big one that got you stuck. And if the big one blocks you up, push it aside and hit more smaller projects.

 

A notebook, a sheet of paper and a keyboard sit on a desk, with the words "try a different way" written on the paper.

 

Do It Differently  

 

Your process works until it doesn’t.  

At that point, you need a new one.  

If you always get a cup of coffee and sit by the kitchen window with your laptop, you might need a glass of water, a pad of paper and a trip into the darkest corner of the basement. Or a notes app on a mobile used while sitting under a flight path near the airport.  

Or any alteration to your habits. Maybe change the font you type in. Do anything you can to get out of the rut.  

 

Technique to Try

Switch up the routine. Change everything. Or one thing at a time.

But change something. And keep making changes until the words start to flow again.  

 

Do Something  

 

Some writers have amazing imaginations. For example, Harry Potter isn’t a real person and Hogwart’s doesn’t exist. J.K. Rowling created an entire universe, and even if it has links to the real world, her series of books is still a staggering work of creativity. Rowling didn’t physically hang out at Hogwart’s to get a feel for the place before writing. 

But other writers need experience to write. Think of the late Hunter S. Thompson and “gonzo journalism.” Thompson needed to be in a situation for his greatest technique to work. He couldn’t have written “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in Cleveland.  

Or think of Tom Clancy’s in-depth research. He couldn’t write his books through imagination alone. He needed technical info to provide the signature detail that thrilled his readers.  

You might need to get out of your rut—your routine, even your business—to find inspiration.  

 

Technique to Try

Use new experiences to generate ideas.  

If you spend 90 percent of your time in your business and your creative well has run dry, get out in the world and do things you haven’t done.  

Like the Do It Differently technique above, this one helps you shake things up. In this case, you aren’t writing. But a new experience will give you new ideas.  

For example, a gym owner who takes an art class might find that many painters have sore shoulders. And then he or she can blog about the best exercises to prevent or reduce shoulder strain.  

New experiences produce new ideas—which are just the thing you need when you have writer’s block. Get out in the world and see what happens.  

 

A blond woman with writer's block looks into the book "Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief" by Chris Cooper.

 

Got Writer’s Block? Read!  

 

Spend some time enjoying the work of others and looking for inspiration.

 

Technique to Try

Fill an hour reading anything you enjoy or read something outside your usual intake.  

This isn’t “look for ideas to steal,” though you can certainly find ideas you can explore in your own way.  

As you read, absorb the style of other writers and be inspired by their creativity and skill. When you read something you don’t like, figure out why it doesn’t appeal to you. If you love something, ask yourself what makes it your cup of tea.  

The answers to those questions can often help you find new ways to say old things. And if nothing else, reading will give you a break. It’s like having someone else take the wheel so you can look at the scenery.  

When you see something amazing, you just might feel like writing about it.  

 

Gold text says "writer's block cure" above the black words "copy yourself" repeated many times.

 

Plagiarize Yourself  

 

Sometimes you don’t need a new idea. You just need an idea.  

And you’ve had lots of those.  

So tackle an old topic from a new direction when you’re plugged up.  

In fact, we recommend businesses always hammer essential topics from 10 directions, but this approach is even more helpful when you’ve got writer’s block.  

 

Technique to Try

Review a piece you really enjoyed writing. Then choose one aspect and write a new post on that one element.  

You might initially feel guilty for doing this, like it’s “cheating.” But it’s not. Businesses with clear messaging always say the same thing, more or less. They just do it in increasingly creative ways.  

When you’re staring at a blank screen, read some of your best work. Consider that your “launch pad.” Then point the rocket in a slightly different direction and take off.

Read more about this technique here.

 

The Submarine  

 

Can—  

Bing!  

You—  

Bing!  

Concentrate—  

Bing!  

With distractions?  

Most people can’t. Some are very good at tuning things out, and some great writers can pen epic prose surrounded by chaos. Imagine a journalist crafting a Pulitzer Prize-winning article in a bustling newsroom.  

That creative process requires extreme levels of focus, and it’s not for everyone.  

As technology evolves, it’s harder and harder to find peace. Imagine trying to write while text messages pop up on the screen. You’ve probably received some sort of message while reading this article, and it no doubt broke your concentration.  

In general, you need to remove distractions so you can stay on task. That means leaving your phone in the other room, turning off notifications, closing browser windows and shutting your door.

 

Technique to Try

Go into your submarine: A quiet place where people won’t bother you for a period of time.  

Turn off the Internet. Or use one of the many “blocker apps” designed to remove distractions. Or just leave all devices elsewhere and write with a pen and paper.  

When you have writer’s block, you’ll take any excuse to disengage from the task at hand. And sometimes you need to. But when you know you can push through a blockage, it’s time to ignore Instagram and hammer at the wall until it breaks.   

 

Delegate to Those Without Writer’s Block 

 

While this technique might not solve your personal case of writer’s block, it will solve the problem for your business.  

If you’re trying to write but can’t, you obviously see a purpose in writing. It’s likely because your business needs content. But you don’t have to produce that content, especially when your personal well is dry.

Great business owners employ great people, and it’s likely one of your staff members can write something for you. And pros are always available.

 

Technique to Try

Ask your staff if anyone would like to try writing a blog, then let a person run with the project.  

You can even assign a topic, provide direction or make specific requests like “be sure to mention our new solution to this problem.”  

Offloading work isn’t shirking duties. It’s being a good entrepreneur. And it might even buy you some time to think. Often, a wrung-out blogger is recharged by some time away from the keyboard.  

If you don’t have a staff member who can blog for you, contact a professional. Two-Brain Media specializes in blogs for business, and we don’t get blocked.  

Pass the pen when it feels too heavy! 

 

Vary Your Approach to Writer’s Block

 

Remember that some of these techniques won’t work for you at all, and others won’t work all the time.  

We encourage you to try different techniques at different times and make note of the ones that work more often than not.  

But be prepared to alter your approach if a tried-and-true technique fails.  

And if you’re really stuck and everything you do seems to make it worse, contact a pro who can carry the content while you attend to other aspects of your business.  

Mike Warkentin is the co-founder of Two-Brain Media.