The Secret to Beating Writer’s Block

I’ve had kind of a rough month. My working vacation at the beginning of April turned into more vacation and not so much working. Which was fine as far as recharging the batteries and having fun, but left me with a pile of stuff to finish when I returned.

Living out of a host of hotels up and down I-95 for the past few weeks left Ashley particularly clingy; I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of time holding her, at the expense of housework, work or any sort of social life. To add to it all, I’m trying to transition her into her own sleeping space (we’ve been co-sleeping for at least half the night, every night). Ironically, when she’s sleeping on her own, I’ll get a lot more sleep but the interim brings a lot more sleepness nights. (Just when I grew accustomed to five hours being a “good night’s sleep!”)

Enough whining, I promise. It gets better. And it got better. Because I remembered a very important writing rule: Writing breeds writing.

I had fallen out of the groove. I felt like everything I wrote was garbage, I had no ideas, and couldn’t put a sentence together. Finally, yesterday morning, I popped in a Baby Einstein DVD for Ashley and promised myself I’d just write one blog post. I put up a short post for Don’t worry; I’ll wait while you go read it if paintball is your thing and you’re so inclined.

See? It’s not my best work, but it’s informative, short and useful, and the editor liked it. From there, I did some work on another blog project, finished a review of the Cushi Tush infant seat for Babies Online, and by the end of the night, I felt like my writing wasn’t half-bad anymore. I had also gotten considerably faster.

I’ve been doing this a long time, and it’s the same story every time. Not writing feeds on itself. If you don’t make that commitment to sit at your keyboard and produce something, not writing becomes the habit.

However, writing does the same. And beating writer’s block really is that easy.

Here’s the six-figure secret to becoming a full-time freelance writer: Just sit down and write.

You will probably think what you created was awful. It might be. Or maybe it won’t.

If you’re really unsure, send it to a trusted friend or colleague. If you need a boost in confidence, send it to your mom. The point is, you will have written! And as you write, it gets easier. As you don’t write, it gets harder and harder to begin. So just take that step.

Some people might ask, “Do e-mails count?” Here’s my answer: They count if they count. I use e-mail as such a basic part of my existence, I don’t mentally count them as “writing.” Some people do, and say writing an e-mail is a great way to beat writer’s block. It’s never worked for me but if it works for you, then yes, it counts. If a 140-character Twitter post gets you out of the funk, more power to you!

In more than two decades as a paid writer, this has worked for me every single time. The problem is, when you’re in that funk and can’t write, the obvious answer (to write) doesn’t seem so obvious. I know it’s not for me, until I do it, and then I say, “Why didn’t I do this earlier instead of wallowing in misery.

Post this on your wall as a reminder, if it helps. You can do it!