Advice from a freelance writer -- me
When you write for a living, then writer's block can be crippling. Although people who write as a hobby or "for fun" also feel crippled when they undergo writer's block, they usually have another source of income to fall back on. But for a professional writer, word flow is the only way to get food on the table. Here are five ways to get the butt in the chair and the fingers on the keyboard.
Look At Your Bills
This is an incredibly effective way to remove writer's block. Do not underestimate the thought of getting a harassing phone call from a bill collector. Suddenly, that series of colon cleansing articles due next week looks a little more appetizing.
Needing to pay bills taps into your survival instincts. When asked about his talents, legendary British singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel quickly denies that he possesses exceptional talents. In an interview with Musician magazine, Gabriel explains, "Image that a gun was put to your head and you were told that you'd be shot unless you managed to produce a great work of art. Suddenly you would find motivation to do so."
Let that pile of bills act as a gun put to your head. You'll be writing like mad before you can think about it.
Read Something From Your Favorite Charity
Ever wish you could give more money to your favorite charity? You could if you wrote more articles, blog posts or whatever it is you write in order to get paid. By looking at people or animals that suffer worse lives than you have, your writer's block seems to dwindle in comparison. This is a more altruistic version of the first method.
Just stick to one charity or you'll soon feel overwhelmed with responsibilities. Try to keep the reading of websites, charity newsletters or whatever to about ten minutes, or you'll just be reading instead of writing.
Write in Small Chunks
You can trick yourself into writing a whole article, short story or whatever. Don’t think "I have to write a whole big project now." Instead, think, "I have to write a headline or title now." That's it. That's all you have to do. When you get that done, mentally pat yourself on the back and think,
"Alright – now I need to write the first sentence. That's it. Just the first sentence." And so on.
It’s a bit like climbing a mountain or cleaning a house. The whole task looks insurmountable, but if you take it down into small chunks, the task is accomplished.
Set a Deadline
Even if your writing project does not have a deadline, give it one. It’s hard to justify postponing writing when you have a deadline looming. Make the deadline the day before a special event so that your event is even more special with a sense of accomplishment. Other deadline dates can include upcoming vacation days, doctor's appointments or when the next episode of your favorite television show comes on.
Loosen Up and Laugh
Your first draft does not have to be perfect. Editing and revision come later. Just get that first draft out as quickly as possible. When you go back and see the mistakes you made, realize that the sky has not fallen because you did a typo. Have a laugh and enjoy the process of getting yet another writing assignment accomplished.