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Writers Block? Try this Quick Tip

Recently on Twitter I was asked by a follower how to overcome an extreme case of writer’s block.

My answer was:

“Think about a problem you had three years ago and write a post that solves that problem.”

Writer's block

Image copyright JRB - Fotolia.com

The reason I find this technique helpful is:

  • It identifies a real need that someone will have—if you have had the problem others will have it too.
  • It identifies a topic that you have personally had, which makes your post more personal and empathetic.
  • It identifies a problem that you’ve overcome or at least have some wisdom on, so hopefully your post is constructive and helpful.

Try it today—identify a problem that you’ve had and then solve it with a post. Once you’ve done it, share a link to your post in comments below. I’d love to see the problems that you solved today!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Jeff Bollow says:

    Excellent tip! Combine it with my mantra of starting every day with the 100-words-as-fast-as-you-can excercise, and you’ll have a powerful daily blog in no time.

  2. Happy New Year!,

    Timely post!, it was only the other day I was saying to my friend that guest posting is getting a lot easier because I have over 3 years of on-line publishing experience, in that time I’ve pretty much hit all the walls like traffic generation etc.

    This year brings a whole new set of challenges with projects and should make a great read in the future!.

    Have a top year!,

    David Edwards

  3. Hi Darren,

    Sensational tip. Automatically puts you in problem solving mode, and isn’t that what blogging is about?

    Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Think about your problems, which will certainly mirror many other’s problems, and you effectively connect with your audience.

    Thanks for sharing!

    RB

  4. This is definitely one of the way how I get ideas to write new articles especially when I face with the writer’s block. I feel this kind of post to better than my normal posts because the tutorials/tips that I share with my readers are from my past mistake & success.

    As I write about WordPress related articles, my readers will see my tutorials/tips in real life as the things that I share are the things that I have done to my WordPress blog. If they love how it works in my site, they will follow it. If not, it is for them to share with others who may love it (I hope so…)

    For example:

    -Improve the Default WordPress Search Engine With Relevanssi
    -How To Add Addthis Floating Social Sharing Bar Into Your Blog?

    Cheers!

  5. I often suffer from writers’ block (and I’m a writer). I have made a commitment to update my blog every day this year. I can’t wait to try this tip. Thank you.

  6. The best part is that you know exactly what the solution is. There are no ifs and but involved and things are very precise

    • Michael says:

      I think it is a good and direct way to use these tips to be able to figure some tips to be able overcome of those little problems that you have. Focusing on the needs that your readers will have can be a great source of overcoming that problem of having that writer’s block.

    • Tim says:

      Hmm. That’s great, and I plan to use it when needed however I could see some situations where it might not be as helpful to look a full three years back. For some reason, my new post titled “How to upload your profile picture to your MySpace account” isn’t doing so well.

  7. Raquel says:

    Thanks, good tip that I will definitely use in my next post. Reading other blogs also helps to get back into the writing ‘zone’.

  8. If someone put a gun to your head, you would write. There’s no such thing as writer’s block.

  9. Obinna says:

    Offer a solution to a problem, right?

    I guess one has to be tuned in to the readers’ wants, else the proffered solution will be in vain.

    Thanks all the same!

  10. Dan Smith says:

    I’ve been writing since I was a kid and I never heard about this. Of course, blogging wasn’t around back then, so maybe that’s why. I’ve heard of several strategies and the one I have used most is returning to what I’m passionate about (usually the US Navy or mentoring), but I’ve never heard of this. I will definitely keep this in my tool box!

  11. Shane Arthur says:

    Like what you did here. Never thought to turn writer’s block into content creation. Smart indeed.
    Of course, if a person just wants to crush writer’s block and have fun doing so, they can consider doing writing prompts.

  12. Mike says:

    Darren – Great idea!

    In fact, I wrote such a post yesterday. Here’s the link: http://www.bestrongstaystrong.com/communication-is-key/

    Thanks for the tip…and all the inspiration you give me and so many other bloggers!

    Cheers,
    Mike

  13. Thanks for such useful post. I would like to start the Guest Blog Posting.

  14. Trung Nguyen says:

    Hi Darren, your answering for this question is a great idea for those who is finding idea to write his new post. Thanks so much.

  15. Richard Ng says:

    Hi Darren, great tips! But think that 3 years might be abit too long in the current speed of information age. Besides, it might not be relevant now (at the pace of changes at the moment)… I find that maybe last 1 or 1.5 years ago might be more relevant.

    Just my 2-cents worth!

    Thanks for sharing…

  16. Dmitry says:

    Thanks, Darren! Good method for blogging.

  17. Zul says:

    Simple and concise post, just like the title. . Yet, effective and meaningful advice. Thank you!

  18. Amit Shaw says:

    Thanks Darren, Thanks a lot for this useful Tips.

  19. pawan says:

    Thank for this strategy. I’ll have try.

  20. Andy says:

    The idea is great. Finding problem and solve it with a post. Great really great.

  21. Ryan says:

    Awesome advice. One thing I’ve used myself for years and for some reason it works is running. When I run after a few miles my brain just opens up and ideas flow.

  22. Eleazar says:

    Hello, Darren. Happy New Year. This is another great advice from a great ProBlogger like you. I’ll gonna try your tips, for I think, these will help me open up my mind to lots of possible ideas to write this month.

  23. Dean Saliba says:

    This is very good advice. I suffer from writers block more than anyone so I will keep this in mind for when it happens.

  24. Jeff Bronson says:

    You hit a couple important reasons why…

    1. A problem you’ve had in the past = you have experience.
    2. How you solved this problem = answering an existing need.

    This provides value, plain and simple.

    Possible upgrade to this method, is providing a couple alternative others have solved it?

  25. Steve/ ESM says:

    Great idea Darren, this is an issue that hits everyone at some time or another. Weather its writers block, design problems or may be overload. We stop and can’t seem to get going again.

    One of my personal issues was to start looking for the get it done quick method. No worries about after the fact just get it out there and don’t worry. As you can realize, that came back and bit me in the ass at a later date.

    The best way is hard work. When you can’t quite seem to finish a task, STOP! Staring at a screen and drooling on my keyboard never got me anywhere. Leave the immediate area! Walk the dog; dig a hole in the yard, even if you don’t need one.

    Once refreshed, come back, start again, the good ideas are all around us; But at times, there just not in our minds for proper processing.

    Here is my Link:
    http://esmconcepts.com/1258/other-information/home-business-problems-writers-block-indecision-too-many-ideas/

    Thanks again and as always great brain popping info.
    Steve

  26. Drewry says:

    I have to to admit that sometimes I do get writer’s block.when I do, what I like to do is read couple pages out of a book or magazine. From there, I tend to write a short commentary or personal analysis on my desktop PC, pulling up Microsoft Word. I try to make the commentary anywhere from 4 to 600 words, while keeping it short and sweet. This way, not only am I talking about something meaningful during the commentary which are writing in rough draft in Microsoft Word, but am also sharing personal insight with people on the World Wide Web, once the publication is published.

  27. John Cole says:

    There are lots of affiliate products and sites that are surely good, but how do I know if it is reliable that will benifit you on the long run?

  28. John Cole says:

    There are lots of affiliate products and sites that are surely good, but how do I know if it is reliable that will benefit you on the long run?

  29. Brandy says:

    I have found posts like this get the most traffic and shares because they are from the heart but solving a problem probably everyone has dealt with from time to time. Great tip! Happy New Year!

  30. I wrote: When Your Child’s World Comes Crashing Down: Dealing with Childhood Trauma and a Warning About Toxic Stress
    http://freechristmasproject.com/2012/01/07/when-your-childs-world-comes-crashing-down-dealing-with-childhood-trauma-and-a-warning-about-toxic-stress/

    Thanks so much for the help with the idea for the post. I also have to say I love the picture that I took. I read
    Digital Photography School every day.

  31. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best and missed. I never really looked at this way to solve writers block. I certainly have had other problems answered on forums so why not this. Thanks

  32. Good advise. Much more practical, and less physical, than other advice I have received, like going for a run.

  33. Drewry says:

    wishing everyone here at Pro blogger a fantastic weekend :-)

  34. Josh Sarz says:

    Thanks for the tip, Darren. That’s a nice and quick way to think of an idea for a blog post.

  35. Denise says:

    Awesome tip, Darren. Im always stuck on what to write about. But right now theres tons of ideas floating in my head.

  36. Hehehe, well to tell the truth this is funny. You have a problem, so to solve that problem you think of another problem and solve it, which in turn solves your first problem.(if that made any sense). You’ve got good content here Darren. You are actually making me want to rethink my whole blog (though I only started it a week ago). Kudos

  37. Thanks for this tip Darren, I had a thought along these lines rolling around in my head and finally sat down to write it. Published it today:

    http://www.tattedtreasures.com/2012/01/dont-make-this-terrible-thread-mistake/

  38. Great and simple post Darren! Congrats! =)

  39. Wendy says:

    Hi Darren,
    Thanks for your wise words. You can see how you inspired me at http://wendystorer.blogspot.com/2012/02/is-anybody-out-there.html