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Another Way Compassion Can Cure Writer’s Block

When I saw the title of Brandon’s post on compassion and writer’s block earlier today, I instantly had an idea of what the post was about.

But it turns out Brandon had a different take on the topic than I do! So I wanted to add to his ideas in this post, and suggest another way that compassion can cure writer’s block.

What lies at the heart of writer’s block?

I think for each of us, any of a number of issues might cause writer’s block.

There’s exhaustion or burnout, which Brandon dealt with in his post. There’s the sense that you’ve already covered every aspect of your topic. There’s the feeling that there’s nothing new to write. There’s a fear of writing something that others will criticize or disagree with. And then there are distractions—the things we’d rather be doing that sitting inside writing.

I think the variety of “versions” of writer’s block is one of the reasons that we find it so hard to overcome—it seems like there’s no single answer to the problem. I felt this way, too, until I saw Brandon’s post.

How compassion can cure it

As his post suggests, you can cure writer’s block by being kind and compassionate to yourself.

But another approach is to be compassionate to your readers.

Whatever the cause, we tend to feel writer’s block as a pressure to produce—we feel the demands of our blog, or our readers, or the expectations of our peers to create, and do it well, all the time.

But obligation is never a good motivator, and in my experience, while pressure can be a motivator, it tends to burn people out pretty quickly.

Instead of feeling blocked by expectation and demand, why not turn that concept on its head?

As bloggers, our job is to help our audience. So instead of feeling resentment toward the masses waiting on the other side of our blogs to race through our next post, we can approach our writing from a position of compassion:

What can you help your readers achieve today?

How can you show them that you understand their challenges? That you’ve been in their shoes? That you have some advice that could help?

What can you do to make their path easier and clearer? Their lives that little bit simpler or more enjoyable? What’s happened in your life that they might find interesting and relevant?

Turn the block inside out

If you start thinking like this, your reader immediately stops becoming an enemy you need to placate, and can be seen as they truly are: someone who’s looking for understanding and advice.

Instead of focusing on “coming up with answers,” you can focus on the readers themselves, and connect emotionally with them and their individual situations. You know how they feel, because you’ve been there too.

So show them some compassion! Write a post that really hits the nail on the head for them. Record a heartfelt video that explains how you overcame the issue they’re facing. Spend some time doing interpersonal research with actual audience members on social media to get a sense of what’s current for your readers, then sit down to write.

However you play it, a little compassion for your readers can go a long way in inspiring your writing, and helping you to break out of writer’s block not just with publishable content, but content that truly connects through compassion.

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. I like it. It’s way too easy to view readers like they’re out to get you instead of thinking of them with compassion. Thanks for this post.

  2. Eric says:

    I don’t know if I really believe in writer’s block. I think it’s a fear more than an actual writer’s block. It’s fear to be out there, it’s a fear to be vulnerable, it’s a fear to please others.

    But if you focus on your passion within, and just let it all out. That fear gets smaller and smaller.

    Just my two cents

  3. What a great perspective, Darren! Thanks for adding that postscript to Brandon’s post.

  4. adeeb says:

    The best way to beat is just do it anyways,
    and not give a damn about the outcome.
    I feel perfection is the main enemy of writer’s block.
    Waiting for perfection is a killer.
    The only way to get perfection is just go out there and do it.

  5. This is spot on Darren. As bloggers, we’re not under any form of obligation to please anyone. Instead, it should flow from our heart of love. Because we truly care for our readers, it has to be spontaneous and not pressured.

  6. Samuel says:

    So true Darren,

    We get so occupied with ourselves and our thinking that we forget that we have an audience that is waiting for what they are “expecting”.

    Writing can have an endless amount of production along with your wonderful readers helping you on your journey.

    Very true stuff here!

    Thanks for writing!

  7. Brandon Yawa says:

    I always find it amazing how one idea can be expressed in so many ways. When I started this post, I was planning to do the typical comment thing, but to be honest, I’m too starstruck. You could have said anything, and I would have said, “Amazing.” My site is actually down from the jolt in traffic, but I am still grinning from ear to ear. As bloggers, we always talk about monetizing, but I have to say, this priceless moment of reading your response defies all that monetizing mumble jumble.

    Thank you.

  8. “…but content that truly connects through compassion” – I think this is the most important thing you can do as a blogger or other professional. Learning how to do it better every day. Thanks!

  9. Deina says:

    Great post Darren! Will definitely use this when I’ll have writer’s block (hope it won’t be soon)! :)

  10. Julia says:

    I recently got terrible blogger’s block, simply because I had nothing to write about, yet the thought of writing nothing and leaving my followers wondering where I was made me put pressure on myself.
    In the end I wrote a post explaining my feelings and exactly what was going through my head (even if it was jibberish!) and I always find that those kind of posts get more response, because people know that you are not being fake and you can gain a lot more respect for being honest and open, even if it isn’t your best work.

  11. When we write for a professional blog there are more expectations to be, well, professional. Somewhere along the line that became framed as “impersonal” and money-oriented. No wonder compassion for our readers seems such a novel idea in this context! But as you deftly showed us, Darren, it shouldn’t be.

    Those of us who write for personal blogs encounter writer’s block, I suspect, when we hesitate to disclose too much. What unblocks us is that same compassion—that at the cost of privacy, we may be able to help one soul out there feel a little less isolated, a little more understood.

  12. Rahul says:

    i am agree with you short analysis of own blog is very necessary that visitors what they want and go through visitors requirement then we get more visitors thanks for sharing..

  13. Richie David says:

    As a Blogger or a Writter, there would surely be times when you feel like writing something but yet you don’t know what to write. What I usually do in such a situation is to get up and relax, or I just go and do something else that will make me mentally stable. Like taking tea or listening to a soft music.
    Then after, I can go back to writing.