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.