Writer’s block can strike at any time.
It can be so frustrating when you’re eager to write but can’t seem to think of a topic on which to focus.
I often find myself thinking “I’ve got nothing left to write about!”, but of course, there is always something to write about – we just need some inspiration.
I think it’s important to understand that just because an idea has been “done before”, that doesn’t mean that our contribution is redundant. We all have different perspectives, different experiences from which to draw, and we all have different ways of presenting our content.
Of course, outright plagiarism is NOT COOL. Not every idea has to be 100% unique and never done before, but if you take inspiration from someone else’s work, you should make sure that the content you produce is original and truly yours, not just a copy of someone else’s.
Also, remember to reference your sources!
I’ve put together a list of five sources of inspiration that help me to defeat writer’s block. I hope you find them useful. Let me know your thoughts in the comments at the end.
1. Think about your own experiences
Do you have a story to tell? Some of the best writing about mental health comes from lived experience. If you are comfortable doing so, you could write about your experiences; the good, the bad, and the ugly. People who have lived with mental illness or struggled with their mental health can provide invaluable insight into what it’s really like.
It’s not always necessary to “spin” your experience into a positive story with a “happy ending” – the reality of mental health isn’t always so clean cut. However, if you have useful tips and advice on how you dealt with difficult experiences, it may be beneficial to write about and share them.
2. Interview your friends and/or family about their experiences
If you have a friend or family member who is comfortable discussing their experiences with your audience, interview them. They may have an interesting perspective regarding their own experience with mental health issues or they may wish to tell their story about loving and supporting someone who is struggling with their mental health.
It is useful to have some questions ready to ask, but don’t be bound to your script. Allow for tangents and side-stories, and add or remove questions as you see fit.
Important note: Make sure the interviewee has given their full consent for you to share their story on your blog. If they would prefer to remain anonymous, you can assign them an alias rather than using their real name and make sure you don’t include any specific details that could identify them.
3. Consider current events
Mental health is a subject that permeates a great deal of what happens in the world. You could look into how a particular current event affects mental health. An example of this at the moment could be how the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown has affected people’s mental health.
Avoid creating clickbait (using a current event in your blog post title so people click on it but then not really discussing that topic in your article) and make sure there is a relevant connection between the current event and mental health.
To identify an appropriate current event to cover, you could watch or listen to the news, or have a look at what’s trending on Twitter. Make sure your sources are reputable and avoid accidentally spreading misinformation.
4. Check out other mental health blogs
As I mentioned in the intro – plagiarism is not cool. That being said, it can be helpful to browse other mental health blogs to see if they give you any ideas. It could be that you come across an article with opinions with which you disagree and you could write your own piece with your opinions on the subject. Perhaps another mental health blogger has posted a tag or challenge that you could share (with credit, of course).
Additionally, by reading other blogs from within your niche, it’s more likely that things like relevant keywords or terminology will crop up in their content, and these words or phrases alone may spark your inspiration for a completely different article than the one you’re reading.
We can often become overwhelmed by too much information coming at us from all angles. Rather than helping us to find inspiration, this can sometimes have the opposite effect – we have too many thoughts going on and struggle to identify one clear idea.
It may seem counterintuitive, but we can also find inspiration by moving away from the laptop, finding somewhere quiet and comfortable, and meditating. Keep a notebook and pen in your hands and when you feel calm and relaxed, allow yourself to practice free writing or automatic writing.
If we take a step back and let our thoughts settle, we give our brain the chance to sort through the barrage of information so it can hone in on a particularly good idea that might have been hidden under a pile of distracting, not-so-good ideas. The methods of free- and automatic writing give us the opportunity to discover hidden gems that we didn’t know were already inside our brains!
I hope these tips help to defeat your writer’s block and keep the ideas flowing!
Do you have any more sources of inspiration? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.