8 Tips That Help Me Avoid Writer’s Block

posted by Andrea | 09/16/2019

The vast majority of my posts here on the blog aim to simplify and better-organize life at HOME. However, I do have a somewhat neglected “work” section on my blog as well.

Over the past 4 years, I have not published work-related blog posts with any sort of consistency, but every now and then I’ll have something I hope will help other bloggers, other work-from-home people, and other busy professionals to simplify their work lives. 

I’m often asked how I come up with enough content to update my blog 5 times each week… or how I’m able to fit writing into my days with 4 children at home; and while I don’t have one set answer, I do have several tips that have helped me stay focused and (for the most part) avoid writer’s block, even with all the other tasks and distractions I encounter each day. 

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Honestly, it’s funny to even think of myself as a “writer” — I would NEVER introduce myself as one. But the fact of the matter is, I write in some way every single day, and I’ve been getting paid to write for a decade now, so I think that sort of constitutes me as a “writer” (not necessarily an amazing writer — but a writer none-the-less!) 

As a “writer” I have a handful of tips that help me simplify the writing process as well as stay consistent in my writing efforts throughout the years. I’m sharing those in today’s post! 

1. I Jot Down Topic Ideas In My Planner:

I have several blank pages in the pack of my planner and any time I think of an idea for a blog post, I write it down in my planner.

It might be a question from a reader, a personal story, a recipe idea, a family update, a tip, a favorite thing, etc. etc. Whatever the case, I just write it down in the back of my planner so I don’t forget. (Yes, I know there are probably digital products that do the same thing, but the act of physically writing something down helps solidify it in my brain, so I remember it better!)

When I need a little writing inspiration, I flip to the back of my planner and choose a topic to write about. 

Some of the ideas in my planner never become blog posts, but many of them do, and it’s so nice to have a rolling list of topics and ideas I’m excited to write about. 

2. I Write Without Worrying If It’s Good: 

When I start writing, I don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or even if the contents of my post make sense from a reader’s point of view. 

I just spill out everything in my brain onto “paper” (a.k.a. computer screen). 

Once I get the ideas out of my head, it’s SO much easier for me to organize them in a way that (hopefully) makes sense to anyone reading it. 

I save these posts as “drafts”, which allows me to think about them over time and begin to “flesh out” the ideas in my head. This way, when I have time to sit down and write (see #4 below) I’m able to write VERY quickly as the ideas are already put together in my brain. 

3. I Write in Advance So I’m Not Rushed:

Many of my posts are written as a “rough draft” (see #2 above) full of gaps and missing information several weeks in advance — then they sit for a while.

I revisit them from time-to-time (sometimes the actual post, sometimes just mentally) and over time I refine them, hone them, and sometimes completely overhaul them before I eventually hit “Publish”. 

Writing in advance helps me think more clearly about a topic and not always worry about writing as quickly as I can. I write for a bit, and if I tire of a certain topic, I simply save it as a draft for a while and come back to work on it a few days later.

There’s no pressure or time crunch (which often causes writer’s block), so I’m more free to write what I’m most excited about at that time. 

4. I Write When I’m Rested:

I do the vast majority of my writing from 4-6:30 am — taking short breaks throughout to get dressed and ready, make breakfast, etc. 

Obviously, I still WORK more hours throughout the day, but I save tasks that are less “focus oriented” for later in the day when kids are running around, when I’m making dinner, or in the evenings when I’m less alert.

Although all the productivity blogs profess the need for set “office hours” in order to increase productivity, I have never been able to implement this in my own work life. I just tend to work around everything and everyone else in my life — and that seems to be an acceptable solution for my family at this point in our lives.

Writing first thing in the morning is, by far, the most productive and efficient time for me, which helps the process move faster, makes it more enjoyable, and encourages me to keep at it, even when I might rather roll over in bed!

5. I Ask for Topic Ideas: 

If I start to run low on topic ideas in the back of my planner, I often turn to Facebook and simply ask YOU what you’d like me to write about.

There are usually 3-5 topics with multiple requests… and if it’s a topic I feel I can confidently write about, I draft up a few posts, brainstorm content, and find pictures. 

It’s refreshing for me when I don’t have to do ALL the work of coming up with every single post idea. Often, I get requests for topics I might never have considered writing about — which is fun and enjoyable because it sometimes involves a bit of research on my part (so I learn something too!)

6. I Recycle (and update) Older Content: 

Over the past 2 years, I’ve started to recycle some of my older posts — updating them with new pictures, additional links, and updated information based on my current stage of life. 

This takes a decent amount of time and effort on my part, but it’s a great way to keep my blog more up-to-date AND it gives a little extra “mileage” to some of my older posts too.

Lately, I’ve been sharing 2 to 3 updated posts each month — which means I need fewer brand new posts ideas. 

7. I Rarely Read Other Blogs In My Niche: 

I do not subscribe to or read ANY blogs that share the same sorts of things I share. 

I do follow some cooking blogs, some farmhouse blogs, and some “family” blogs on social media — but none of them write from my specific angle of “simplifying all aspects of life”. 

This is not because I don’t like those types of blogs or don’t want to support other bloggers. It’s simply because if I read blogs that write similar content to mine, I naturally find myself wanting to write similar posts — which then turns into trying to write from the same voice or even copy some of what they’ve written (not intentionally, it just happens).

I’ve found that it’s simply easier to just stay away from reading similar blogs as it ends up being more harmful than helpful from a writing perspective. 

8. I Never Stop Writing: 

Whenever I take any type of a blogging break, I always keep writing in some way — planning ahead for future posts, updating old posts, completing Virtual Assistant work, scheduling social media posts, etc.  

I have learned from trial and error that although it’s nice to have a bit of a break, I definitely function better when I stay true to my routine of writing each day. 

If I stop, it’s VERY hard for me to get going again! 

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I know there are probably other things I do on a daily basis that aid in my writing process — but these are the “biggies” I thought of immediately. 

If you’re entering the world of writing (specifically online writing), I hope my tips will help you. 

And if you’re a seasoned writer, please share any tips or tricks you have for continually producing more content! 

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Filed under: WorkBlogging

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10 comments

  1. Lauren

    09/17/2019

    Wow, Andrea! I love this post! I’m a new blogger, and I frequently struggle to figure out best practices in the new-to-me writing style involved in creating blog posts. I’ll definitely be applying several of these tips … thanks so much for sharing them!

    Btw, I’ve been enjoying your blog for years now. Despite the fact that you and I are at very different stages of life (I’m an empty nester), I still glean a lot from your various household tips, recipes, etc. Plus I enjoy your family updates and just watching your kids as they grow. Such a good balance of the practical and the personal …you’ve got a great blog!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lauren! Glad this post was helpful for you!
    Best wishes on your blogging ventures!

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  2. Jenny

    09/16/2019

    This was really interesting to me, although I’m not a blogger, writer, Mom of little kids, morning person, or any of the things you are, Andrea- but somehow I get a lot from your blog! You help me think things through and organize, strive to improve but not be unrealistic, laugh at myself, and keep trying! Thanks so much for all you do!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Jenny — this is a fantastic compliment!

    [Reply]

  3. Siobhan

    09/16/2019

    Great tips, many can be useful in other fields as well. For example, lesson planning for teachers. When I’m ahead in my planning it improves the quality of my day to day lessons and tasks that I create.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good point — thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  4. Maggie

    09/16/2019

    #2 and #7 are my main problems. Always worrying about quality and comparing too much. I also have a tendency to want to grow faster and bigger than I can handle and than I run out of steam because I’m trying too hard.
    I think you’re right about not stopping too (#8). I take breaks regularly and then it takes a while to find my voice again.
    I have been blogging for a long time, but I’m still struggling with a lot of things, writer’s block being one of them. My other big problem is privacy and oversharing.
    How do you decide where to draw that line? (I think your blog has the right amount of personal mixed into the content to make it fun to follow).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Maggie 🙂
    I have no good answer for where to draw the line — it something I just handle one post and one picture at a time. It has to feel “right” for you!

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  5. Christine Meurer

    09/16/2019

    I love this! I have always wondered. Coming up with topics sounds easy, but then when you try it… especially like you have, every weekday for years… it feels impossible! I have been wanting to get into content or blog writing for awhile now, so thanks for the push. We’re finally starting school again over here (homeschool) so waking up before everybody to read my Bible and write for a little while sounds really nice!
    Question – do you ever get really into writing a post and then have to stop for something kid or home related and then have trouble getting back into the post later? This is the trouble I’ve had in the past.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    YES… ALL THE TIME!
    My life is constantly interrupted, which is one of the reasons I wake up at 4 am these days! Even then, there is usually at least one interruption from someone waking up between 4am and 6:30am! Such is life I suppose!

    [Reply]