Tips to Combat Writer’s Block When Generating Content

We believe in posting on social media so much that it is one of our 4 C’s – Content! 

Finding content is often a matter of knowing how to focus on the world around us and pull content from our direct experiences. Still, no matter how rich our lives may be, we’ve all experienced the horrible sensation of staring down a blank document and having no idea what to put on it. That’s right– the dreaded writer’s block.

“Writer’s Block” can have any number of central causes. Sometimes we have no ideas– other times we have too many. Sometimes we’re too distracted by other things going on in our lives. Other times we get frozen up by perfectionism.

It’s not that different from professional athletes who find themselves completely thrown off their game by the pressure of their field. Often enough, the pressure caused by writing can give us a case of the creative “yips,” causing our brain to spin in circles.

The question, of course, becomes… how do we combat writer’s block? There are a lot of answers, but I’ve kept this article to 3 solutions that can help unblock any writer who’s struggling. They are:

1. Ask questions:

When you have zero ideas, it’s often helpful to start with a simple question to yourself, and then drill deeper into your answers. For instance:

  • Do you consider yourself to be an optimist, a pessimist, or a realist?
    • Why do you think you wound up with that mindset?
    • How does that mindset influence your leadership?
    • How do you work with people who have different mindsets?

This is just one example of how “drilling down” can lead you to answers that will help you create content. You can use this method with any number of questions–from, “What kind of TV do you like?” to, “What’s your favorite hobby?”

The trick is that asking questions about yourself will lead to moments of self-discovery and creativity. Those are both keys to generating content and fighting against a blank page.

2. Go for a walk:

This is very common advice for people suffering from writer’s block, but it’s definitely a winner. The caveat that I would always add is to go for a walk mindfully.

Rather than listening to podcasts or music, take this time to unplug and think without pressure. What ideas and feelings naturally arise when you look at the world around you? Where do those thoughts lead you? Are there any insights you could share?

Often, writer’s block comes from putting too much pressure on our brains. Moving your body and focusing on your world are great ways to relieve that pressure and generate ideas organically.

3. Just start writing:

This advice might sound a bit reductive. The problem is that we can’t write, after all.

When I was a writing instructor, though, my advice to students suffering writer’s block was this: Write about elephants.

What do I mean by that, exactly? I mean to forget about the assignment, or the big ideas, and just write about something. Let yourself ramble about elephants, for example. Don’t worry about saying anything big or important, just describe elephants, or tell a story about one, or write anything at all for a sentence or two. It doesn’t matter what you write about them– all that matters is that you start writing.

The point of this exercise is that getting over the “frozen” feeling of writer’s block is often the biggest hurdle. Writing is like anything else– once you start going, it becomes easier. Once you’ve been writing about elephants (or balloons, or your favorite band, or whatever) for a few sentences, you’ll often find that it’s become easier to write about your actual big ideas. Think of it like warming up before going for a run. You’re getting your muscles stretched out and less tense. Once you’ve done that, the rest will become easier.

These are all some simple ways to get past that occasional feeling of writer’s block. In a broader sense, it’s often helpful to work with coaches or peers to hone your writing skills and help you identify content when it arises in your day-to-day life. Building your confidence is the key to a good writing practice. 4C is always ready with helpful generative questions and content ideas to help you get started as well! Below I’ve included our AirTable base that has over 1,000 content ideas to help you get going! 

Want more updates like this?

Subscribe to our newsletter for more content like this delivered to your inbox!