Curing Writer’s Block – And Other Mental Blocks

GolbGuru over at Money, Matter, and More Musings recently asked me how I’m able to consistently post so much material on a daily basis and keep it as only a small part of a daily routine. The answer is fairly interesting, and it applies to many aspects of life, not just writing.

The biggest aspect of it is that I never really stop writing, though I only mechanically involve myself in writing for a small period each day. I do this by jotting down my own ideas whenever I think of them throughout the day so that when it comes time for writing (for me, usually after my son is asleep), I already have all my ideas laid out before me.

I also keep the pressure off of myself by staying very far ahead in terms of finished posts. If I were to suddenly fall off the face of the earth, as of this writing, the posting schedule of The Simple Dollar would continue for eighteen days. This enables me to enjoy little pressure to get something done right now; if I get burnt out for a bit, I can take a break for a week without any damage to the site’s momentum.

The big question that many readers would ask at this point is what about writer’s block? It is something that hits almost every blogger at some point or another – what on earth do I write about next?

The first tactic that I use is research, research, research. I read periodicals, visit other websites, and read books on personal finance without any expectation of any writing topics. This works almost every time for me; given some time, I almost always find something that gets my fingers hopping.

If that fails, I actually ask for help, but not in the obvious “ask my readers for help on the ol’ blog” way that many people do. Instead, I visit messageboards and actually ask people what sort of money questions they’re wondering about and make up a few of my own (often, they’re the topics of posts already written but not yet posted). Almost always, I’ll find a list of potential topics and at least one or two of them is enough of a nugget to get me started.

If I’m still stymied, I take a break. I don’t look at The Simple Dollar or think about it for a few days. This is where the “advance posting” really helps me out, as it uses the days where I can’t stop writing to cover the days where I can’t squeak out a word.

These three techniques have always cleared away my writer’s block. The interesting part is that most of these techniques are good ways to help yourself through anything difficult in life, from deciding whether to buy a car or a house to making a change in your own investments. Writer’s block has taught me many lessons in life, often in areas where I would least expect it.

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  1. Golbguru says:

    Trent, that sounds pretty systematic..just repeating what I said earlier about your system.

    Btw, I am no longer on blogspot.com…so may I ask you to please please update your links to this site: http://www.thetaoofmakingmoney.com
    Appreciate it, thanks. :)

  2. Golbguru says:

    Thank you sir, that was extremely prompt.

  3. John says:

    Very nice. It works for you, keep it up!

  4. Matt says:

    Great ideas, I do beleive I’m going to have to borrow some of them. Especially writing posts and saving them to post them later. Staying ahead of the game keeps you from worrying about what you’re going to post.

  5. Kevin says:

    Good post! The late Isaac Asimov, known for his staggering prolificity, had similar strategies. You might enjoy his autobiography “I, Asimov” (available at your local library, of course).

    k

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