October 3, 2010

Writer's Block for the Blogger

Writer's block
Writer's block (Photo credit: Deciare)
One of the things I have always appreciated about blogging in this particular niche (i.e., writing an atheist-oriented blog) is that there is always something to write about. Of course, that doesn't mean that I never experience writer's block. I certainly do. I've decided that the primary cause, at least for me, has to do with information overload. I suspect this is a factor in writer's block regardless of what topic is under consideration. I have found at least one method that almost always helps me get through my writer's block, but I'd be interested to learn about what works for others too.

When I sit down to write a post, I often start with an idea of what I want to write about and then look to see what other bloggers in my niche have been saying about the subject. This helps to shape my content, makes sure I give others' credit for their contributions to my process (promoting the niche as a whole), and makes sure that I am generating something new.

There are plenty of other times when I start with almost nothing in mind and scour my RSS reader for ideas. This tends to be where the writer's block kicks in. I typically have at least a few hundred blog posts in the relevant section of my RSS reader, and there is whatever is happening on Twitter. Sometimes, I just need to close all these programs and refocus. This is one of the ways WriteRoom often helps. By shutting out the distractions, I often find that the ideas come.

This does not always work, and I sometimes sit too long looking at a blank screen. In these cases, the most effective tactic I have found for overcoming a spell of writer's block involves getting up from the computer, leaving the room, and doing something else for a while. It can't be just anything else; it must be something that requires me to shift my attention away from the writing process and focus elsewhere. This usually does the trick of unsticking whatever was stuck.

How about you? What works for you when you have a bad case of writer's block?