Tag Archives: writer’s block

Stuck For Freelance Writing Ideas?

freelance inspiration and writing museIf you’re stuck for ideas for a query or a set of articles, sometimes all you need is a jumpstart. Attach some jumper cables to your brain with a few of these ideas to get the creativity flowing freely.

Play a round of golf. The old joke says golf is an enjoyable walk spoiled by a little white ball.  Something about walking around all that greenery is inspirational, and if the game itself doesn’t grab you, try some people watching (and eavesdropping) and you’ll come up with something in no time.

Drink too much caffeine. That sudden rush is always good for a laugh at the very least, but more often than not your ideas will be exploding in your head.

Watch a talk show you violently disagree with. There is a certain something about watching people you perceive to be ill-informed buffoons going through their paces that gets the idea mill fired up all over again.

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Getting Unstuck as a Writer

delonghi-espresso-makerby Joe Wallace

Need some figurative caffeine? Are you feeling stuck on the page, unable to write another line because your brain hurts, the inspiration is gone, and chances are you’ve been slaving away on a project far too long?

Before you stick your head in a vise, try a few of these little tricks I use to get unstuck long enough to wrap up another segment of the writing project you’re slogging away on:

Turn your last idea inside out. Are you writing about trying to succeed at something? Turn your idea on its head and write about failure for a few paragraphs. If you’re writing history, try a flight of fancy–speculate about something that might have happened had things turned out differently.

Be negative. It doesn’t have to be negativity per se, actually. Invoke a strong emotion you haven’t used lately. Get worked up, put some energy into the piece.

Abuse some substances…slightly. Sugar, caffeine, peanut butter, a glass of Chardonnay in the middle of the morning, whatever it takes to get your brain moving in a slightly different direction. Don’t overdo it on any of these, just prod yourself a little.

Contradict your last paragraph. Take the devil’s advocate point of view for a few lines and see what happens.

Change the subject. Anytime you hit a creative roadblock, try just changing topics, locations, anything. Or ditch the section you’re on and start a section ahead and revisit the old one tomorrow.

Say something outrageous. Then either disprove it or back it up.

One of these tricks will grease the gears and get the old brainbox humming again. If not, I guarantee double your money back. What’s that? You haven’t paid? Step this way, please…

A Simple Exercise To Kill Writer’s Block


I still don’t believe in writer’s block per se. I’ve written other screeds about this, and in a nutshell while I believe it’s possible to work yourself to the point of burnout, I think as long as you can physically use your brain, you don’t have “writer’s block”.

The key is to physically walk away from your work when the ideas won’t come that second. Take a break and just let it sit for a while.

If you find you still can’t write when you get back to the computer, try this little trick:

Write a paragraph about your writer’s block. Describe the circumstances you were working under when you ran out of ideas and in as much detail as you can manage, write about the symptoms you’re currently experiencing. Make it a complete thought–beginning, middle, and end. Then walk away and have lunch, coffee, whatever. Come back in an hour. Chances are you’ll be able to get back to your original project.

Some pepole have to walk away for the rest of the day, and if you can afford to do that, more power to you. Writer’s block is often a symptom of overwork, burnout and putting far too much thought into the project and not letting yourself simply WRITE. Step away from the infernal machine (your computer) for a while and recharge.

Freelance Writing Wisdom From Feudal Japan

hagakure.jpgMany people will think I’ve gone completely around the bend by recommending Hagakure as a manual for freelance writers, but try reading this with your career firmly in mind. You’ll find plenty of inspiration and practical advice. Consider these quotes:

“In the words of the ancients, one should make his decisions within the space of seven breaths. Lord Takanobu said: If discrimination is long, it will spoil. Lord Naoshige said: When matters are done leisurely, seven out of ten will turn out badly. A warrior is a person who does things quickly.”

“Master Yagyu once remarked: I do not know the way to defeat others, but the way to defeat myself.”

“According to Master lttei, even a poor penman will become substantial in the art of calligraphy if he studies by imitating a good model and puts forth effort. A retainer should be able to become substantial too, if he takes a good retainer as his model.”

Sure, some of it is a stretch when it comes to the modern day lifestyle of a freelance writer, but there’s plenty to ponder here. You can apply it to being mindful of well-crafted query letters, carefully checked final drafts and keeping your determination in the face of many rejections. Hagakure was written in the early 1700s by Yamamoto Tsunetomo. It was only read by a select few in the early years after its publication, but it has endured. And yes, other writers have found much inspiration in these pages–Yukio Mishima, one of Japan’s most famous authors, was a devoted reader of Hagakure. It’s a great book even if it does sometimes bewilder 21st century minds.

Buy Hagakure for $13.57

Writer’s Block for Writers of Writer’s Block Material

Why, yes, I am about to go on a screed here. Why does every writing site in the world (especially the crap ones) put stuff about writer’s block in a prominent place on their pages? It’s starting to annoy me no end. Maybe I haven’t had enough caffeine yet, but looking over some sites on today’s morning hunt for new and interesting things to write about. I see a massive collection of articles about writer’s block, every site I visit. You’d think it was an airborne disease.

Do people really worry about this stuff? Me, I worry more about whether the checks are coming in on time and how much is going to be held over til next month. I’m more worried about avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome. Where are all the articles on THAT? It’s far more of a REAL ISSUE than frickin’ so-called writer’s block. But it’s just too easy for people to write about, and so every wanna-be writing site in the entire world is crammed full of info on the dreaded WB. Nothing about that godawful recurring pain in your hands and wrists that makes it nearly impossible to use a keyboard without pain though.

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