How to Write When You Think You Can’t

Even the best writers need writing help! These tips will help you write when you think you can’t – they range from overcoming the fear of writing to learning how to create better freelance article ideas.

How to Write When You Think You Can’t“Writing is elemental,” said Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. “Once you have tasted its essential life, you cannot turn from it without some deep denial and depression. It would be like turning from water.”

Don’t turn away from writing, fellow scribes.

Lower your expectations, shake off your need to write perfectly, and stop comparing yourself to other writers. Taste your writing. Keep going back for more. Sooner or later, you won’t need writing help — you’ll be helping other writers learn how to write. And, check out my writing tips…

Writing When You Think You Can’t

If you know you can write but your writing is weak, read How to Write Powerful Words That Grab Attention.

How to write through fear of rejection, failure, or success

Write as much as you can. Don’t just write for yourself — write for Suite101,, Associated Content, your own blog, or your friend’s blog. Hell, e-mail me and write on my blog! I’m nice to guest bloggers — as long as they’re not better writers than I am. 🙂

If you want to get over your writing fears, you have to practice the very thing you’re afraid of. Writing. Submitting. Dealing with editors’ decisions to publish or not. The only way to be a successful writer is to keep writing — and accept writing help whenever you can get it.

How to write through discouragement

Discouragement is a death knell for successful writers because once it sets in, it suffocates your motivation to write. To write even when you’re discouraged, focus on either: 1) your past writing achievements; or 2) the failures and successes of writers you admire. Every writer has his or her own way of staying motivated to write. Your job is to figure out how to fire up the muse!

Here’s some advice to bloggers who are discouraged about their traffic (or lack thereof):

“Never give up,” writes Petteri Ollila in 5 Things Madonna Has to Teach You About Blogging Success. “If you are not get­ting enough traf­fic to your blog right now, find out what the rea­son is and work more. Maybe you are not mar­ket­ing enough, or maybe you have to write bet­ter con­tent. There is always some­thing you can do better.”

How to write when procrastination is screaming your name

I’m doing it right now — instead of writing copy for my best client, I’m blogging. It’s not that I think I can’t write the article…it’s just that it’s work.

To force myself to write when I think I can’t, I say: “Laurie, after you’ve worked on your client’s stuff for 30 minutes, then you can reward yourself by blogging for an hour.” That’s an effective way to write when you think you can’t: schedule 30 minutes to write what you think you can’t, then do something fun.

How to write when you have no ideas

Some writers have more ideas than they can use; other writers struggle to come up with ideas they think editors, agents, or publishers will buy. One way to write despite “idea block” is to spice up what’s already been written. For example, there’s a glut of articles about making money as a freelance writer. Instead of adding to the pile, add a twist.

Another example: I have a chronic illness that may slow my writing career. I met a freelance writer a few days ago who spent several years in jail. How do freelancers like us make money — do our “issues” hold us back or help us be better writers? Teach yourself how to spin your life or an article idea so it’s not just an idea — it’s a story.

How to write when you think your work will never be read

Most writers want to be read…and I’m one of those writers who once thought writing something that’ll never be read was a waste of time. But, I know better now! Even if nobody reads this article, I’m becoming a better writer by honing my writer’s voice, developing my writing style, letting my personality shine through my words. The best writing tip I ever got was to relax and let myself peek through my writing — and forget about whether or not my writing will be read.

How to write when you have no incentive

If you’re a new freelance writer, you may find it tough to spend hours writing article query letters and have no idea if you’ll get an assignment from any magazine. So, my writing tip is to find an “accountability partner.” He/she can be another freelance writer or an entrepreneur. Find someone who has career goals similar to yours, and work together to achieve your goals. Make a pact to share your progress – and figure out effective “punishments” if you don’t perform satisfactorily. Be there for each other.

For more tips, read How to Make Writing Easy and Increase Your Energy to Write.

Writer's Market 2020: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published
Writer's Market 2020: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published - Yes, you CAN get published! It's not impossible - but only if you're willing to do the work. Writer's Market 2020 offers thousands of opportunities for writers, including listings for book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards and literary agents — and even new playwriting and screenwriting sections.

What’s the best writing help you’ve ever received? Did it help you write, even when you thought you couldn’t?


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