For a whole week, I was struck with writers’ block. I couldn’t write blog posts. Only blog posts. I could write fiction well. I could write essays and letters well. But blog posts and articles? No. I tried, tried and tried some more. And nothing happened.
I had about five post drafts waiting, each of them filled up with only three paragraphs. I had great ideas. I had great inspiration. The post was so good that I couldn’t wait to write it. However, when I opened that blank document and started to write, I got a feeling.
A vague feeling.
That something wasn’t quite right. Maybe the introduction wasn’t as good as I thought. Be that as it may, I struggled to write on. I wrote about five paragraphs, about 400 words, and each of them were as hard as anything to commit down to paper (figuratively). The post wasn’t me. I didn’t like it. In fact, I was beginning to hate it. If I hated it, what would be the reaction of my readers—?
I sighed. I’ll try with another post, I thought. This one obviously wasn’t working. I began another one.
Same results. The idea was great. I just couldn’t execute it, and the scary thing was, I didn’t know why.
Well, that was soon rectified: I knew this was writers’ block. Only why had it happened?
For me, the problem was interesting. I looked keenly into those failure posts, observing what exactly went wrong. And I got it.
It wasn’t only one problem.
The First Writing Problem
I was being too qualified and respectful. I qualified every opinion of mine with “although there are exceptions” and “it may not work for you”. Now, I’ve learned, stuff that. Cut the chase and the hedge. Write your opinions and share them all over the world. The one thing I’ve seen is that no one wants to read only boring fact and information.
The takeaway for this is: Spice it up with your opinions!
The Second Writing Problem
The second problem was that I was trying to write in the “author’s tone”. This is a term I made up myself, and it’s relevant to every writer. Pros like Brian Clark and Darren Rowse advise to write like you talk — conversationally. I was previously skeptical, but once again, when I tried this out, it worked wonders.
What I mean is that you shouldn’t write like an author of anything like a book or an article or something. It doesn’t work at all, and it sounds all fake and from Wikipedia. If you want to write a Wikipedia article, that style will probably work. Otherwise?
Otherwise not even one reader out of thousands will be checking you out… and if in contrast you use a conversational voice that talks to your visitors, that same visitor will check out your site, will check out your posts, will read your work and take an interest (note: this assumes your writing fits the needs of that visitor), and will be ready to take whatever action you want him to take.
What about those filler words? Ali Hale calls them vampire words which suck out the life from your writing. We use them every day in normal speech, and they really are the norm as well as being necessary. In writing though… you need to cut them all out – the um’s and “really” and what not.
The Third and Fourth Writing Problems
The third problem was that I was doing too much research for my articles. Research is great, and it can make your writing better, but too much of a good thing is usually a bad thing, isn’t it? Sometimes, it’s best to be original and be the source of research, even if your opinion may be horrendously wrong. Hey, it’s just an opinion, see?
And… the last was that I was simply writing too much in one form of writing, i.e., blog posts. When I wrote fiction or anything else, the problem disappeared because there was less pressure of “under-delivering” or anything else. If you have this same problem, you really should branch out. I’ve written about this previously in How to Get Started in Creative Writing.
Solving all the Problems
I still have some problems in writing, so not all is well, nor will it ever be. But I’m enjoying writing. After all, it’s still my favourite hobby, and it’s fun to edit and correct all the mistakes I make. It’s fun to teach others… it’s great to receive positive feedback as well as negative feedback. What did I need to solve all my problems? Some sort of high-fi software or something?
Not at all. I only had a clear observing mind and raw hard determination in abundant supply. If you have them too, then you don’t have any need to worry. You simply need to write like you talk. You simply need to put your opinions in your nonfiction writing. You simply need to branch out your writing form and you simply need to do everything moderately. That’s it.
You may have different problems. But it’s all do-able in writing. Everything. I, a 13 year old schoolboy, managed to solve about three problems and defeat writers’ block as if it was nothing. If I can do it, so can you.
Are your ready to solve your writing problems? I am. So let’s do it. And if you have any, share your experiences and tips of writing problems in the comments section.