We’ve all been through a phase where we simply cannot think of anything to write about. Writer’s block is a very real problem that can be caused by a whole host of factors, ranging from simple lack of inspiration, to full-on depression. With this article, I hope to help you guys overcome writer’s block by sharing my experience with it, and how I power on through. This will be focused on anime bloggers, but these tips can be applied to just about every kind of blogger, so no worries for my non-otaku readers (how did you even get here?), you can follow along too!
For starters, ask yourself these two questions:
Why CAN’T you write?
First of all, find out what’s causing you to be in a slump. Think back to the you who was still writing happily. What was your situation then?
Go back to the you now, and see what’s different. Is it a job or school? Did you just experience a recent shock? The reason why advice is hard to give is because every person has different struggles. Maybe a dog died, maybe a house burnt down, maybe you’re depressed. It’s all different, so before you follow the rest of this article, make sure to find help for the slump YOU are in specifically. I’m just here offering some advice as a fellow writer with their own struggles.
Why DO you Write?
What do you get from writing? Is it satisfaction from having imparted new knowledge on people, or is it just from sharing your personal take on a topic? Do you get money from it? What is your purpose as a writer?
If you can’t answer that question, it’s time to start soul-searching. I can’t give you advice on your lack of purpose, because I do not know you, but what I can tell you what my purpose is, and how I found it.
I found blogging as a way to share my thoughts to the world. I had lots of friends back then to talk to about my interests, but as time went by, and everybody started being busy from school, or work,so I had nobody left to talk to. They were not entitled to listen to my rambles, sure, but I do miss having someone listen. So, I turned to blogging, and lo and behold, people listened and talked about my posts!
So, my purpose was to keep these people listening to what I have to say and talking about it with me. Proud? Maybe.
But it’s MY purpose, and so far, I’m having a blast writing because of that purpose. So, once you find your purpose, we can move on to the “writing” advice, starting with-
Exploring Your Blog’s Topics Outside Of Writing
This doubles as both writing research AND a break from writing.
As a blogger who predominantly deals in Japanese media such as anime and manga, my content is directly connected to how much stuff I watch and read. This can apply to any blogger with a niche, so if you’re a book blogger, take a break from writing and read more books.
For the self-help bloggers, try reading other self-help books and blogs and see how you can apply their techniques to your own.
For the travel bloggers, well, take some time off and travel to some more niche places to get inspired.
As for my fellow anibloggers, WATCH YOUR BACKLOGS!
Didn’t we all start writing because of the things we enjoy? In my post titled,”Who Inspired Me To Start Blogging?“, I talk about how watching video essays on anime was what convinced me to start blogging. The easiest pitfall for some people is that watching the things they used to love turns into a chore because at the back of their mind, they’re thinking “I NEED to write about this before anyone else”, when it should be “I would LOVE to write about this once I can”.
Some people may say that doing this will just distract you and make you want to procrastinate even more, but I think the brain is a tool that needs ideas to work. What better brain fuel is there than doing the very things that inspired you to start your blog?
Of course, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of just watching, reading and listening to stuff to distract yourself, so another thing I do is to-
Always Take Notes
Wherever I am, be it at school, at work, watching shows, or outside vacationing, I have a notebook or my phone handy in case I get a stroke of inspiration but have no way of writing it down fully yet. I can’t count how many times I’m watching something that affected me deeply, and I immediately pause it for a few seconds to write down my feelings on paper. It doesn’t even necessarily mean I’ll ever use it, but having my thoughts jolted down helps me digest it later, even if I never end up using those notes.
Plus, taking notes while doing things means I’m also now connecting writing to a lot of aspects in my life in a non-invasive way. Though it’s different for everybody, taking notes, be it on my phone or just mental ones, means that my brain is now used to the act of just writing whenever and wherever. In turn, when I do start writing, it no longer feels like a chore because hey, I do it all the time!
But with all these notes and stuff I’ve consumed while on a break, what do I write now?
Write your way out of a thinking block—because you’ll never think your way out of a writing block. – Merlin Mann
Don’t be scared of rejection. Just start writing. Even if you know it’s gonna be awful, a jumbled mess, an incoherent mass of words on a screen, just keep on writing!
People oftentimes have writer’s block becase they’re scared of being criticized. Well, how are you gonna get better without criticism? That criticism could come from you, a stranger, or a close friend. Either way, what’s important is figuring out what you can improve on, and for that to happen, you need to write.
With the ideas you’ve gathered from notes and consuming relevant media, you’ll eventually find a good idea in one of those drafts. I’m a word vomit type of writer, in that I just have all these notes jolted down and thoughts in my head, and I immediately pour them out on the page in my own words. I don’t stop until I have reached the end of my writing. After I’m done, I just review the piece and fix the errors and rambling.
If you write for long enough, and with enough good ideas, you’ll find that it gets easier.
These are not surefire ways to get out of a writer’s block. There’s no magic advice to fix what you are going through, and even if there was, you wouldn’t be taking it from some dude on the internet.
All I’ve given you is food for thought that can help you make your writing even better. It worked for me, it worked for the people who originally gave this advice to me, and so, I hope it works for you!
Thanks for reading!