Have you ever had one of those days when that blank piece of paper or screen in front of you was dauntingly staring you down but you were just unable to write? That’s a classic case of writer’s block. I had writer’s block myself just this morning. I was sitting here trying to write my book and I just had nothing to add.
This doesn’t just apply to writing—it happens when you create any kind of content. You could even call it “Creator’s Block.” I struggle at times to come up with fresh, creative ideas for the multitude of things we do every week—one daily podcast for Marketing School, one weekly podcast for Growth Everywhere, new content every week for the Single Grain blog, repurposing material, doing guest posts—it’s a lot of content.
So how do we go about producing at that level consistently? And how do we make sure that we don’t give in to writer’s block?
The most important thing that I do when I’m creating content, and especially when I’m having trouble, is to just start writing. I know that may not sound like the most groundbreaking advice but you have to just start writing, even if you’re simply rambling. Starting is ultimately the hardest part, but it becomes much easier once you’re actually in flow.
Every time I actually get into the flow of writing, I feel good and think, “I should be doing this more.” The hardest part is actually getting yourself to start that process. That’s why I find myself putting these things off.
All too often, the things that should be done are the things you put off most. There’s a resistance against doing things you know you should be doing. A common example for many people would be going to the gym.
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There’s actually a term called “The Resistance,” coined by writer Steven Pressfield and explained by Seth Godin. Godin talks about our “lizard brain,” which fuels our fear and resistance of things that are painful. But these are things we should be doing, such as going to the gym or creating content.
The secret to fighting the resistance is to not give yourself the time to prepare. Get those things done first every day, and it makes your life a lot easier. Make the hardest stuff your priority.
Prioritize your health and help yourself. Prioritize content creation because it helps other people. Think about what you’re truly doing and be deliberate about your actions. I sometimes find myself scrolling through my Twitter feed in the morning, saving stuff to my Pocket so I can read it later. But, honestly, 95% of the stuff I save I don’t end up reading. I’m just killing time.
Think to yourself, “What am I spending my time truly doing? Is it what I really need to be doing?” Don’t confuse mindless consumption with productivity or progress.
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When you face writer’s block or creator’s block or whatever block, push against it. Just start writing. It might suck initially, but you have to power through it in order to reach the next stage. Ultimately it lies in your hands to be deliberate and intentional.
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post: