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Is There A Scientific Explanation for Writer’s Block And How Do You Overcome It?

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writer's blockExperiencing writer’s block when there’s a looming deadline is a blogger’s worst nightmare.

Nothing is worse than staring at a blank computer screen after hours of squeezing your brain, trying to come up with words, phrases, and sentences that actually make sense.

When you don’t know what to blog about, it’s very easy to blame it on writer’s block.

Writer’s block–real or product of a writer’s imagination?

Does writer’s block really exist?

People view this differently. For many, this is just an excuse creative people, like writers, use when they feel too lazy to write. These people don’t believe that it’s an actual condition that hinders writers. Others simply think of it as lack of inspiration.

Bloggers, especially those who write a lot of stuff on a regular basis, are more likely to run out of inspiration. It’s not surprising because if you had to churn blog posts and articles all the time, you’d eventually run out of fuel.

When that moment comes, you’re most likely to miss a deadline or turn in a mediocre work that your boss will not love.

And that’s when “writer’s block” is used as an excuse.

But is it really okay to blame “writer’s block” when it’s not even a real condition?

Is there any scientific truth about writer’s block?

The closest thing we can get as a scientific explanation for this condition is the findings of neurologist Alice Flaherty. An article published on ScienceBlogs.com in 2006 revealed that Flaherty did a study on hypergraphia, a condition that causes an uncontrollable compulsion to write (won’t we love that?).

frontal and temporal lobe of the brain where writer's block occursThis condition makes an individual’s brain to overflow with meaning (ideas, concepts, etc.) and causes them to spill the content out by writing. Turned out that this is due to unusual activities in the temporal lobe–the area in the brain responsible for giving meaning and significance to language–that saturates the brain with so many ideas.

This led her to discover some things about writer’s block. During a bout of writer’s block, which is the complete opposite of hypergraphia, an writer’s temporal lobe is in super active mode, meaning there are lots of ideas, but the frontal lobe–the language center–has reduced activity.

That means the mind is flowing with ideas but it cannot, literally, find the words to express them. That’s why you feel you know what you’re going to blog about but can’t think of the words to express them.

While this findings can give us a little insight on what really happens when we experience “writer’s block” it’s still does not provide concrete evidence that it’s a legitimate, mental condition that affects our ability to write.

Regardless of whether it’s really a condition or just a better term for laziness or unpreparedness, we can’t ignore the fact that a lot of us experience that.

We don’t really need to know if it’s something we can use as an excuse to clients when we fail to meet deadlines the way we would when we experience allergies, anxiety attacks, or even flu because it’s not going to work.

Clients are most likely to think that you were plain lazy or didn’t have the time to work on the blog (or article).

Ways to overcome writer’s block and start writing something

overcome writer's blockThere are several ways to overcome writer’s block. That’s the great news.

When you already know what you need to write about but can’t find the words, here are some things you need to do:

Create an outline. An outline will help you plan your blog well. You’ll know exactly what you need to talk about in certain parts of the post. It makes writing easier because you don’t have to write continuously, which is where most writers struggle.

Do a lot of research. Research is the key to any successful blog post. You can’t come up with something worth reading if you don’t know anything about the topic. Look for lots of information. You’re more likely to easily write about something you know much about.

Don’t start at the beginning. Ever found yourself stuck at the first sentence but already know how your body is going to look like? Sometimes, we need to not start at the beginning. The lead or first paragraph is always crucial, which is why it’s always hard to write, and it’s possible that our subconscious is keeping us from getting started because it wants us to compose something extraordinary.

Step away. Most of the time, when we force our brains to spill words it doesn’t happen. One of the most common ways to overcome writer’s block is to step away. Turn your computer off and watch some T.V. Go out for a walk or talk to someone. Play a video game or shoot some hoops. You need to get your mind off it so you can focus more. The idea will come when your mind is relaxed.

In case you have absolutely no idea what to write, here are some techniques that can help:

Come up with a how-to post. This is a sure-fire way to get you writing. You won’t need to do a lot of thinking (creatively). Just present the facts and list down the steps on how to do something. Before you know it. you’re halfway the 500-word requirement.

Create a different spin on a post you find interesting. Think of an insightful post and try to give it a different angle. This works well because you already have a topic and the details. All you need to do is present it in a different way, using your own words.

Stir the pot. Controversy is great for blogs because it engages readers. Try to present a different view on a certain topic. Present an argument. Challenge someone else’s opinion. Since you’re writing about your opinion, it should be easy to do. Just make sure that you don’t come off as offensive. Be objective in your arguments and back them up with information.

Create an infographic. An infographic is great because it summarizes everything you need to say and it does not require you to write lengthily. The key here is creativity. Make sure you can create images that will catch attention.

Make a survey and present the results. This is an effective way to write about something totally unique. And all the data you need is right there. Just ask a question to your audience. It can be about anything that concerns them. Compile the results and come up with your interpretation.

It does not matter what others think of writer’s block because all that matters is how you deal with it. You must learn to deal with it. It should not impede you. You have the power to control your mind and what you can write. Hopefully, these tips can help you continue writing even when you don’t feel inspired.

 

 

 

 

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Irwin creates awesome content for various businesses online. He blogs about writing and other stuff, like Survivor. He also contributes for a lifestyle magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Blogging

Do You Establish Work at Home Boundaries?

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Some people love attention.

I know a few who do their best to grab my attention. Phone calls, emails, cryptic Facebook Messages.

I ignore everything and every one outside of what I do in the moment since I set up work at home boundaries. I close the door and go into my office. No way I stop working for anything or anyone who starves for my attention. The house could burn down and I would scoot out at the last minute because work time is work time and I do nothing else save work during work time.

If you do not respect your time, people will not respect your time. If you give people your time whenever they want your time, for:

  • favors
  • gossip
  • small talk
  • chats
  • general BS

people will gladly ask for favors, engage in gossip, engage in small talk, chat you up and BS for hours, because you chose not to establish work at home boundaries.

100% of the time, if people appear to be using you or eating up your precious time, it is your fault. People treat you how you choose to treat yourself.

How a Happy and Successful Blogger Sets Up Work at Home Boundaries

Easy; I close the door, walk into the office and get to work. I do not leave the office until I complete my work. My phone? I turn it off. I check email rarely. I only check Messenger 2-3 times daily for 5 minutes at a clip.

I set up definite, clear, work at home boundaries to respect my time. People reflect my time-respecting back to me. Easy peasy.

If someone tries to grab my attention through Messenger, or the land line, or through email, or at the door, I completely ignore attempts made to grab my attention and time. Boundaries folks; you need to be clear and firm on your work at home boundaries to ensure everybody else respects your boundaries.

You Are Walking into a Word Office

Would a friend, family member or casual neighbor barge into your 9-5 job office asking for a favor? Would said folks barge into your 9-5 job office to spread the latest gossip? Nope. Then why allow said folks to barge into your work at home office to do similar things? Nope. Put up boundaries. Door closes. Enter office. You are busy. You are working. Even my 3 year old niece understands when Uncle Ryan goes to work in the home office. Everybody else can easily grasp this concept.

What About Impatient or Desperate Online Folks?

I completely ignore impatient, fear-filled, desperate folks who demand I answer Messenger or email requests in 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or in 24 hours. I respect my time and completely ignore people who do not respect my time.

I built my blogging business almost completely on a passive income model so nothing I do online is time sensitive. I have answered most questions 1,000 to 10,000 times through my courses, eBooks, blog posts and videos. It is up to these awesome but unclear folks to find and use the answers I created, to improve their lives.

I am generous daily, publishing a blog post and/or video. Plus I published about 800 posts on Blogging Tips, and over 2,000 posts on Blogging From Paradise. It is on the impatient folks screaming for my attention to follow my blog posts, guest posts, videos, eBooks and courses because I answered their questions many times.

People treat you exactly how you teach them to treat you. I have posture so I set up work at home boundaries for offline and online folks.

Respect your time and work schedule and other folks will do the same.

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Who Do You Surround Yourself with in Your Blogger Network?

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Some bloggers cannot see the forest for the trees, like the beautiful, lush, thriving national park I visited in New Jersey recently.

The masses tend to be caught up in fear, pain and struggle because they cannot see the big picture.

Birds of a feather flock together.

You have heard that one, right?

I circle the globe and change time zones like most folks breathe. Would I be wise to surround myself with people who tremble at leaving their home town or home neighborhood? Nope. Such people would teach me the world makes for a scary, dangerous place. I would get advice like play it safe, be comfortable, get a job, buy a home and take it easy, from such folks. Such folks also live a bland life because if you rarely or never leave your comfort zone, you cannot:

  • grow
  • thrive
  • face your fears
  • serve humanity
  • be a bright light for people to follow
  • live your deepest, wildest dreams

Obviously, I chose to surround myself with bloggers who happily circled the globe as successful bloggers. I also surrounded myself with happy, successful, home body bloggers too; to learn the basics of building a rocking blog effectively. I learned how to succeed from my blogger friend network, sponging up their knowledge, inspiration and insight.

Meanwhile, if you surround yourself with new, struggling or failing bloggers you will get advice on how to struggle, fail, or flounder through your blogging day.

Do bloggers around you complain about losing $50 on blogging? Lose these zero’s immediately and surround yourself with bloggers who invest thousands of dollars on their blogs. High rollers teach you to succeed. Broke jokes teach you how to fail.

Do bloggers around you see making $25 as being a huge amount of money? You better lose the low-aiming crowd to surround yourself with bloggers who see $1000 and $10,000 and more as making coin.

Do bloggers around you circle the globe as swash buckling travelers? Check out this photo from my trip to Vietnam. Kong: Skull Island was filmed here.

Time to ditch the comfort zone crowd to hang with adventurous types.

Don’t get me wrong; I celebrate every cent I make online. But if you think I’m placing a sponsored post for less than $1000, you are insane. Like a famous super model who said she didn’t get out of bed for anything less than $10,000 a day, you need to develop a prosperity consciousness that demands big money and ignores appearance of poverty, lack, limitation and fear.

Who Do You Hang With?

Who do you count as blogging buddies? Happy, highly successful, prospering bloggers? You better, to increase your success.

For example, observe my blogging paperback on profiting. The aftermarket price is $45 USD. If most or all bloggers in your network would feel uncomfortable receiving $45 in royalties for a paperback, you better lose that network and surround yourself with bloggers who believe in abundance. I know John Chow feels comfortable receiving $45 for anything he offers online. Who cares? It is just money. It is only money.

Surround yourself only with bloggers who:

  • have posture
  • have authority
  • charge top dollar
  • profit freely
  • prosper freely
  • exude confidence
  • have a highly developed prosperity consciousness

You learn from the best, gain inspiration from the best and become the best by surrounding yourself with the best bloggers on earth.

But you need to be honest in who you choose to hang with in your blogging circles. Be clear. Be truthful with yourself. Maybe you feel comfortable trading comments with struggling bloggers you befriended 10 years ago but nothing spectacular happens for you if you surround yourself with struggling bloggers, being firmly fixed in your comfort zone.

Release all bloggers who are not happy and prospering.

Fill your blogger friend network with empowered, inspired, happy, successful, prospering bloggers.

Nothing personal.

Just your blogging success at stake.

 

 

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Are You Chasing the Flavor of the Month?

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My first fundamental of successful blogging focuses you on being present.

All of our power resides in the moment.

None of our power resides in the future or past because neither exists.

Time is illusion.

Only Now is real.

Look at that brilliant featured image. I snapped it from the front porch during our trip to Fiji. Sweet things happen when you are in the moment, focusing all power on the present.

This marks my 796th blog post on Blogging Tips. I feel grateful to Zac for the opportunity to serve you. Plus I feel grateful for all success that flowed to me through these guest posts.

How in the heck did I write and publish nearly 800 guest posts on one blog?

I am in the moment, mostly. I am present. Plus I never, never, ever chase the flavor of the month.

Bruce Lee and Blogging

Alonzo Pichardo and I often chatted about being patient, persistent and present during the Online Success Chats Podcast.

Being patient, persistent and present helps you tap into immense powers, including the power of being creative *and* prolific. See my 800 blog posts on Blogging Tips as evidence of such power. Toss in my 2,008 articles (between posts and pages) on Blogging From Paradise and you understand: focusing on one core task, or core purpose, in the present, leads to amazing things.

Bruce Lee spoke of fearing not the man who practiced 10,000 kicks once, but he did fear the man who practiced one kick 10,000 times. He embodied this mindset in his genius, Renaissance Man type ways.

Lee’s wisdom and physical prowess are both timeless because he understood and lived this great truth: do 1 thing so frequently, with a focused energy, being in the moment, that you do it incredibly well. He understood the truth of how I live my life: where your attention and energy goes, grows.

The Flavor of the Month

Most bloggers struggle because they practice 10,000 kicks once, chasing hot niches, running after trends, and choosing to blog today, and podcast tomorrow, because everybody runs a podcast these days. Wait a second; live video reigns supreme? Time to become a live video expert. Meanwhile, as you jump from niche to niche, and from blogging to podcasting to live videos, I just wrote and published 800 posts on Blogging Tips alone. Plus I wrote and published 1,000 more guest posts on other blogs.

While most bloggers chase hot trends, profitable niches and the latest game changing opportunity, guys like Alonzo and I thrive by doing one thing alone so we do it incredibly well.

Success is yours, but success is not an overnight or week-long endeavor.

Stop chasing hot niches. Visualize your dreams in detail. Focus on your blogging wins. Invest in coaching and courses from top bloggers. Surround yourself with positive vibes and positive people.

Write, publish and connect with top bloggers by helping top bloggers.

Success Finds Specialists

I took a nap this afternoon. A calm, peaceful breeze kisses my face right now as I write and enjoy the day.

Imagine if you could work from home every day? Visualize that fun and freedom.

Sweet, right?

Specialists are the only folks who work from home full time. People who do 1 thing persistently, practicing this skill, so they become super skilled in a single, specialized niche.

I gave all of my professional energy to being a blogger for the past 10 years. I became really skilled at blogging because I never chased the flavor of the month.

Avoid program hopping, niche hopping and all forms of flavor-chasing.

Do one thing. Do it well.

Succeed.

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