One of the best ways to keep writer’s block from striking is to have a follow-up project you’re looking forward to starting.
No matter what I’m working on, articles, blog posts, books, or white papers, etc., writer’s block tends to strike when I don’t have a follow-up project lined up…or when I don’t have a project I’m looking forward to starting.
The stronger my desire to start my next project, the less likely that writer’s block will appear.
The “last good idea” syndrome
I’m sure this type of writer’s block originates in some sort of an internal defense mechanism, probably related to a fear that my current project may be my “last good writing idea.”
But, it’s happened often enough for me to notice it. Just when I’m making good progress on my current progress, and have a relatively clean slate, writer’s block tends to appear.
I used to think it was me, until I’ve noticed that my book coaching clients tend to have noticed the same things.
Keeping writer’s block from striking
The cure is relatively simple:
View writing as an ongoing process, not a “once in a lifetime” project.
Writing proceeds smoothly to the extent you begin to view writing as a habit, or a ritualized process, rather than something you must do because you have to meet a deadline…or, even worse, something you have always done under deadline.
When you accept that writing is a important part of everyone’s success in today’s social media and content marketing Internet-dominated world, you’ll that the current project you’re working on will soon be followed by another project, and yet another.
Recognizing that your current project is just one in an ongoing series of writing projects takes away a lot of the pressure, making it much easier to complete.
If you’re writing a book, for example, and you’re experiencing the approach of writer’s block:
- Begin researching follow-up books on new topics.
- Look for ways to “slice and dice” the ideas in your future book into information products, like e-courses, workbooks, and training manuals.
- Explore ways to convert your current book into a list-building ebook.
If you’re writing an article:
- Make a list of 4 or 5 possible follow-up articles on the similar topics.
- Look for ways to explore 1 or 2 of the ideas in your article in greater detail in follow-up articles.
- Explore ways to convert your article into a speech or presentation.
If you’re writing a blog post:
- Look for similar previously written blog posts that you could include in a future “best of” or round-up post on your blog.
- Make a list of other blogs in your field where you could submit your article as a guest post.
- Review your previous blog posts and explore the possibility of creating a “99 tips” ebook to use as a list-building incentive.
Fear of failure and unrealistic expectations are frequently cited as the most common causes of writer’s block. However, don’t discount the “last good idea” syndrome. It may be causing, or contributing, to the approach of writer’s block.
To keep writer’s block away, look to the future
Keep engaged with your project, but keep your current project in perspective by recognizing that there are always going to be new projects coming along to engage your writing and help you develop new ideas.
The easiest way to cure writer’s block is to keep it away, and a simple list–like one of the above list suggestions, above–may be all that’s needed to restore your writing momentum.
What do you think? Think back on your previous writing experiences, both positive and negative. Is writing easier when you have follow-up article, blog, or book projects? Do you think the “Last Good Idea” syndrome might have ever been a cause of writer’s block in your past? Or, doesn’t it seem to matter? What do you do when you sense writer’s block is approaching, or has arrived? Share your comments, below.