Understanding the Causes of Writer’s Block
Diagnosing writer’s block isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” situation — there are several reasons travel bloggers struggle with writer’s block. Some writers are more prone to developing writer’s block, while others rarely struggle through it. And what causes writer’s block for one blogger might not affect another blogger at all.
Common Reasons for Writer’s Block in Travel Blogging
Struggling with a bad bout of writer’s block? Chances are, the root cause is one of the following challenges or obstacles:
- Perfectionism — Do you tend to criticize yourself and your work and feel the need to critique everything along the way? Sometimes, highly perfectionistic people have trouble starting something new and are more prone to struggling with writer’s block.
- Distractions — Is something important happening in your life, like a big move or the death of a close family member or friend? If so, these distractions might be causing writer’s block since your mind is preoccupied with other thoughts.
- Fear — Do you fear rejection, or are you afraid others will judge your ideas? This is a common reason for developing writer’s block. Fear is the enemy of creativity!
- Stress — If you’re stressed about reaching a deadline for a blog post or article, or another life event is causing stress, like a strained relationship or financial problem, you might be more prone to experiencing writer’s block.
Psychological and Emotional Challenges
Whether your case of writer’s block is caused by one of the challenges above or something completely different, it can be easy to assume something is wrong with you. You might ask yourself — “why can’t I do this one thing that normally comes very easily to me?”
The truth is — writing is a challenging mental process that requires creativity, experimentation, vulnerability, meticulousness, and research. It’s more mentally exhausting than most other lines of work, especially when you’re required to write about your own “real life” experiences, like as a travel blogger. It’s no wonder travel bloggers often develop writer’s block!
However, writer’s block isn’t something you simply need to “wait out” until the next wave of inspiration strikes. You can follow these tips for breaking through writer’s block to get over this frustrating roadblock more quickly.
Tip #1: Embracing Inspiration: Seeking New Travel Experiences
As a travel blogger, one of the best ways to overcome writer’s block is to remember why you started blogging in the first place — a passion for traveling.
Immersing Yourself in Travel
When do you feel most inspired to create new content? Chances are, if you’re like most travel bloggers — it’s right after returning from a trip!
If you’re struggling with writer’s block, you may have been spending too much time behind a screen and not enough time out and about. If you don’t have a trip planned soon, consider booking a getaway to an exciting and inspirational destination.
If it’s impossible to get away, find something you can do to “mimic” a travel experience. Is there a new local restaurant you’ve been wanting to try? If so, make reservations! Are you craving fresh air? If so, get outside the city for a hike in the mountains. Immersing yourself in travel — or “travel-like” experiences will generate new perspectives, ideas, and inspiration.
Exploring Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations
Sometimes, it’s challenging to write another post about a popular destination that every other travel blogger has written about, like London or Paris. You can always offer your fresh perspective, but it’s still challenging to feel like you’re coming up with anything genuinely unique — which can lead to writer’s block.
Instead, try exploring a lesser-known and off-the-beaten-path destination. Not only will you have fewer “competing” voices to drown out, but you’ll be excited to share this hidden gem with your readers!
Tip #2: Freewriting and Brainstorming: Overcoming Mental Blocks
If you need to get over your writer’s block quickly, you can use several practical tools — including freewriting and brainstorming — to combat writer’s block.
Embracing Stream-of-Consciousness Writing
Stream-of-consciousness writing — also known as freewriting — is a practice that requires writers to write for a set amount of time (usually 10–20 minutes) without stopping. Freewriting can help to organize your ideas, get something stressful off your mind, or simply get started.
Writers often find freewriting allows them to get in the “zone” without critiquing grammar, spelling, or sentence structure. Removing creative barriers and the pressure to generate a finished piece with freewriting is often all writers need to overcome writer’s block.
Mind-Mapping and Brainstorming Techniques
Remember in high school when your teacher made you use brainstorming and mind-mapping techniques before writing an essay or research paper? The truth is — they might have been onto something.
Writer’s block isn’t usually caused by a lack of ideas but rather a lack of organized ideas — which is why brainstorming can be helpful. Brainstorming allows you to get all your thoughts on paper (and out of your head), which is often the first step to overcoming writer’s block.
Travel bloggers often find that creating content calendars and outlines are helpful mind-mapping and brainstorming tools. The former allows creators to list all their ideas and matches them with “due dates,” helping keep them accountable. The latter helps to create a “plan” for each blog post, with headers, bullet points, and ideas to make the writing process smoother. In short, content calendars confirm you’ll never run out of ideas, and outlines ensure you’ll never need to write a blog post from scratch while staring at a blank screen.
Tip #3: Setting Realistic Writing Goals: Breaking Down the Process
Blogging requires disciple, goal setting, and hard work — just like any other career. If you wait to write until inspiration strikes, the harsh reality is that you probably won’t publish many blogs at all. Instead, it’s better to set a manageable writing schedule and repeatable habits to follow daily that will set you up for success (and help you avoid writer’s block!).
Managing Writing Tasks Effectively
As a travel blogger, you already know there is so much more to “writing” a blog post than just writing. The entire process also includes research, outlining, editing, search engine optimization (SEO), and curating images — just to name a few.
It’s essential to manage all these writing tasks effectively and realistically to stay organized and motivated. For example, it can feel defeating if you plan out plenty of time to research and write but not enough time to edit. Instead, plan ample time to complete each step in the process.
As time passes, you may realize that you dread specific steps in the writing process, like editing or search engine optimization. Then, when you reach that step in the process — you hit a wall. Try outsourcing these tasks to an editor or a virtual assistant if possible. That way, you’ll be able to avoid writer’s block by steering clear of these dreaded tasks while entrusting them to a professional who can help you succeed. It’s a win-win situation!
Establishing a Writing Schedule and Habits
Setting a regular writing schedule is one of the best tips for overcoming writer’s block. Clear out a time on your calendar daily or weekly to work on your travel blog — and don’t let anything else interfere. Even if you don’t feel inspired when you sit down, try the techniques mentioned earlier, like brainstorming or mind mapping, and you’ll have some ideas flowing in no time!
In addition to scheduling a regular time to write, it’s also important to schedule the right time to write (no pun intended). Most writers have a time of day when they are naturally most creative — either in the morning, before their schedule becomes jam-packed with things to do, or at night, when their minds are winding down after a long day. Schedule your “writing time” during a time of day when you feel more productive and inspired. This will set you up for success!
Tip #4: Exploring Writing Techniques: Finding Your Style
One of the common causes of writer’s block is “imposter syndrome” — a feeling of self-doubt, incompetence, and feeling like a fraud. Even though these feelings are not true (you’re not an imposter — you’re an incredible travel blogger!), developing a solid and unique writing style can help you combat these feelings and, in turn, a severe case of writer’s block.
Some bloggers prefer to use humor in their writing and add snarky jokes or witty comebacks in their articles. Others prefer an informative and “down-to-earth” approach by straightforwardly listing the details. And some writers take on a friendly, chatty, and conversational tone that resonates well with their readers.
There is no “right” writing style — but as you grow in confidence as a writer, your style will solidify into a tone that is uniquely you. If you’re having trouble finding your voice, spend some time writing with no rules. Do you lean towards humor? Are you a straight shooter? Do you use poetic metaphors? If you find a style you naturally lean toward, try using it in your next blog, and see if it resonates with your readers. If so — you’ve found a winner!
Tip #5: Seeking Feedback and Collaboration: Engaging with Others
When you’re at the end of your rope (creatively speaking) — ask for help! Other successful travel bloggers are one of the best resources for getting over writer’s block. Chances are, they’ve struggled with writer’s block too, and they may have some tips for getting over it.
Several Facebook Groups, like Women Travel Bloggers and Women Travel Creators, are filled with thousands of knowledgeable travel bloggers who would love to provide you with constructive feedback. You can also read through the success stories of Travelpayouts Partners who have combatted (and successfully overcome) writer’s block for encouragement.
Tip #6: Overcoming Perfectionism: Writing Freely and Editing Later
Perfectionism is one of the leading causes of writer’s block, so if you’re a perfectionist — it’s time to let go of the need to be perfect. While striving for an error-free final article is reasonable (and admirable!), you must allow yourself to embrace the “messy middle” — also known as the imperfect first draft.
Writing is a process, which means the first draft will be flawed. If you’re in the middle of a blog post and can’t think of anything to say for one section, just skip it and come back later instead of becoming frustrated and walking away. Chances are, you’ll find something to say for one of the sections below — and when you return to the skipped section, you’ll have new inspiration!
Also, to avoid perfectionist-induced writer’s block, steer clear of editing a blog post until you’re completely finished writing. In fact, step away from your computer and go on a walk or make a snack — really anything that will take your mind off the piece. Then, you’ll come back with a fresh mind and sharp eyes, ready to edit and critique the article. Now, this is the time to turn on the inner perfectionist — when all the writing is finished!
Use These Tips for Breaking Through Writer’s Block — Then Watch Your Blog Flourish
It’s crucial to develop reliable tools and strategies for combatting writer’s block, like the ones listed in this post, to avoid developing travel blogging burnout and “blogxiety” — stress and anxiety related to running a blog.
If you’d like to learn more about combatting writer’s block, burnout, and feelings of discouragement related to travel blogging, watch the recording of the Blogxiety Webinar: How to Avoid Travel Blogging Burnout. This event featured successful travel bloggers, including Matthew Kepnes, Jessie Festa, and Shelley Marmor, who shared their best tips for staying organized, combatting imposter syndrome, and overcoming writer’s block as a travel blogger.