I love the idea that we – writers – are sitting on a porch somewhere with a lovely view, a delicious coffee-based beverage nearby and typing away to our heart’s desire.
Now, we can often be found typing away with a coffee in hand, but we are not always writing a story or an article. (And the view doesn’t always rock, but that’s beside the point.)
And while we love writing, sometimes we are stuck. Sometimes we’d do anything but, no matter how much we love writing.
But just because you can’t write doesn’t mean your whole work has to go to hell:
16 Non-Writing Tasks to Do When You Have Writer’s Block (or Don’t Feel Like Writing
- Pitch. Unfortunately, editors and clients don’t always come to you with assignments and story ideas. You have to create your jobs. So you pitch. You usually have a pitch template than can be tweaked, so this is more editing than actual writing.
- Follow-up on previous pitches. You have pitched stories a while back, but you haven’t heard back. So you customize that follow-up template if you need to, and fire away.
- Keep track. You make notes on where you pitched and what you followed up. You don’t want to send the same idea to an editor that already turned it down.
- Clean your inbox and answer important emails. It’s not advised to check your email every 2 minutes, but you should probably check it at least twice every day – especially if you are expecting responses and you have clients from different time zones. You don’t want to miss an assignment because the message got buried among 100 unimportant other messages.
- Read the articles in the publications you are pitching– aka also known as market research.
- Read unrelated stuff for fun and inspiration.
- Deal with blog administration. There is always a plugin to update, a post to edit.
- Apply to jobs and/or pitch to clients.
- Post on social media. You have a presence; you need to maintain it.
- Talk to other writers. It’s one of my favorite methods for staying sane.
- Update social media profiles. Maybe you did something interesting or acquired an impressive byline.
- Update your website copy. You might want to review your services and how you present them.
- Update your portfolio. Those new bylines won’t add themselves.
- Hang around aimlessly – online and offline- looking for inspiration and story ideas. Some of the most obvious ideas arrive when you feel like giving up. And ideas can come from anywhere, including from your favorite comedians.
- Clean. I don’t mean spring cleaning, but just a general, mindless tidying up that won’t take too much time. Also, how clean is your computer screen? I swear mine is playing in the dirt when I’m not looking.
- Organize. Organize files, on the computer and in your office. Do you need all the paper? Did you notice a publication you loved but forgot about? Saw a book you need to refresh up on? Leave the cleaning and organization to the end, though. You don’t want to use them as procrastination tactics.
What do you work on when you are stuck? Please let me know in the comments.