If You Can’t Write, Write Something Else

Writers Block

Yes the title makes me sound obscured. But follow through with me on this. You’re working on a subject, project, deadline or whatever and the words just aren’t there, there’s no feeling in it for you. What do you do? Here’s a suggestion – change topics, or write something else that you want.

What brought me on this subject? Felicia Williams (NoJobForMom.com) wrote a blog I read every time she put up a new post; which until about a year or so ago was damn near daily. She never get stuck for ideas on improving writing, it’s her niche; well, believe it or not, even the people who love their blogs as well as she does get stuck. And there’s my point; you can love what you do and think you’ll do it forever – but you can still reach a point where you just don’t feel like doing it for awhile.

Possible Causes of a Writer “Not Feeling It”

Now, before I get hit with “but I have a deadline” or “but I need to make the money”, look at what you are working on and I’ll bet there are at least one of these three common themes visible.

  1. You’ve been working on the same type of writing for days, weeks or months. This is like someone going into work every day doing the same exact thing forever – eventually you wake up one day and go “I can’t do this anymore”. Been there, done that. Stopped working there.
  2. You’ve become a “money writer”, or there isn’t anything you write for pleasure – everything you write has a price tag attached to it. You write because it earns money, kinda like a job, you do it because it pays a bill not because you like it.
  3. There’s no change of pace. The whole of your writing has begun to blur together into one big slog of blah. Say you’re a health writer, and all you write is health topics; or you write technical manuals and that’s it. Yes, you know the subject, and yes you probably enjoy it (or did) most of the time – but as people need hobbies to provide variation, a writer’s brain needs alternative outlets too.

How to Stop Yourself and Why

Here’s where Felicia succeeded although I wonder if she sees it. She switched gears to another form of writing BEFORE she burnt out. Now I don’t know if she did this on purpose or it was a survival mechanism; but she knew something was wrong and she PAID ATTENTION TO THE WARNING SIGNS. Yes, those are capital letters. Something inside told her to stop doing the “money writing” before she burned up the will to ever go back to it. She listened to herself. She paid attention to the warning.

I myself have ignored warnings with bad results. The past two days have seen anxiety attacks and migraine headaches because I insisted on getting the paid writing done even though I just honestly didn’t care if it got done. I’m trying to work around that.

So now, you spot a warning and stop – okay, now what? You write something you want to write. This part is actually very simple, and I have done this before too. You just type away and let yourself work on something fun. Another example from Felicia – she switched to writing about healthy food and living. She loved the research, and the writing about what she found. To her, at the moment, it wasn’t work – its play. That is what writing should be at the core. You can do the same thing. If you find yourself looking for information on a given topic, write about the topic or your experiences looking for the information. Write it out. Take notes. Make a day of it, hell make a week of it.

Here’s another way to look at it – you’re making future material. I take photos when I go for walks; this helps two ways, it provides enjoyment and it provides possible fodder for future projects. None of your writing time is wasted if you fail to earn a dime from each word. You get to practice, you get to love your ability, and you just might find yet another niche or project that you didn’t think about when pushing to earn money from writing.

So what’s the best way for you to avoid burnout when you see it coming?



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