Elise Perkins

Four Simple Ideas for Your Most Un-Inspirational Writing Days

By: Elise Perkins | June 1, 2017 | 
5

writer's block

Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.— Charles Bukowski

I’ve been writing about writing a bit lately, mostly because I want to get better at it, but also because I’m stuck in a bit of a rut.

I understand the importance of writing, of course: To build thought leadership, generate business leads, and keep my skills sharp.

But with a new baby, putting our house on the market, and the general chaos that has been 2017 (you feel me on this), writing has taken a backseat to life.

And while I know I’m not alone, every post I don’t write puts me further behind the content curve.

Because let’s face it, people are producing like never before.

A live search of WordPress data found  “users produce about 84.3 million new posts and 41.8 million new comments each month.”

Yep, people are writing…and even more are discussing what’s been written.

Now, compared to many others, I don’t produce a lot—in my pre-baby prime I was churning out one blog post a week.

Right now, I’m working hard on a bi-monthly schedule.

But I don’t want to miss the conversations, and I suspect you don’t either.

So here I am, and here you are—well caffeinated, I hope—so, let’s knock this writer’s block thing out. 

Writer’s Block Tip #1: I’ve Been Stuck on “X” Lately

Honesty is the best policy, right?

This prompt is a simple fill-in-the-blank, and dang it if it isn’t the truth.

Hey, guess what—this is the prompt I used to write this very blog post.

Is your mind blown?

I already have 250 words and we’re just getting started.

Working through issues by writing is not only cathartic but might help others solve a problem too.

The next time you’re facing a problem, start documenting your attempts to resolve it.

You’ll likely figure it out faster when it’s on paper, and not in your head.

Writer’s Block Tip #2: Browse Pinterest

One of the least used platforms, Pinterest, is an incredible source for ideas (and not limited to recipes and fitspo).

Maybe it’s the colors and graphics that help break me out of the black text/white background rut.

But using Pinterest as a search engine (because that’s what it is) can help provide context and ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Do me a favor and just search “writing,” you may be surprised what you find.

Writer’s Block Tip #3: A Friend Recently Asked Me About “X”

Here’s another fill-in-the-blank for you: Expand on a question you’ve been asked.

But first, know you can take a whole lot of liberties here.

First of all, this person does not need to be your friend, and they may not have asked you this question directly.

Think about some of your past conversations online, in-person, or through the grapevine—is there anything worth working through?

For example, on a recent blog post of mine, Kim Fredrich asked me if cross-posting to multiple platforms (such as a blog and Medium) might create SEO confusion.

Well, guess what—I have no idea…but I’m working on finding out.

Writer’s Block Tip #4: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

I write on three main topics: Entrepreneurship, marcomms trends, and branding.

That doesn’t mean I have to stay in my lane at all times.

When we consider writing as both an exercise and an output, it turns out I have a lot to say on a variety of topics.

While you may not ever publish this very piece, sometimes churning out 100 words on your neighbor’s disregard for the HOA rules and regulations can help get those fingers back into tip-tapping shape.

What tips do you have to unlock your writing potential?

About Elise Perkins


Elise Perkins is a communications and marketing professional who found herself in DC after college, bringing her husband and dog along with her. She founded EP Communications in 2014, after seven years of working for trade associations and think tanks. Today, she focuses on building brands for businesses and people, using a savvy mix of content and influencer strategies. She's passionate about entrepreneurship, making a mess in the kitchen and boxed wine.

  • paulakiger

    Great suggestions (but I am afraid to go down that Pinterest “writing” hole because I may never surface)! I’ve shared this before, but the best advice I ever got was “make a date with the page” (i.e., plan to write on “x” date regardless of your inspiration level). I also *love* writing prompts. My faves are from Kat Bouska. They’re pretty geared to a certain group but it’s easy to find writing prompts everywhere. Photo writing prompts are also good (here’s a picture of [insert random object] write a story about it). Here are a sample of Kat’s: http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/2017/05/writing-prompts-06-01/

    Accountability is good (offer to write a guest post for someone else).

    Lastly, my biggest advice is, schmaltzy as it sounds, “write from the heart.” It kind of gets back at your number 1 — “I’ve been hung up on [blank] lately” and here’s what I think. Our writing is more powerful when it is sincere, not what we think others want to hear.

    • OMG. I totally went down the Pinterest writing hole. I may never return!

      • Elise Perkins

        #pinterestforever

    • Elise Perkins

      Great ideas, Paula! I will be checking out Kat’s site ASAP. Speaking of accountability…I owe you a post!

      • paulakiger

        YAY! Looking forward to your post (but that’s not why I included that part in my comment LOL).

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