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Writer’s block versus procrastination

Marieke van de Rakt


You should be writing articles for your website. You have agreed to write a blog post every month. But creating text is hard. A blank page can feel intimidating. Sometimes it seems impossible to come up with new ideas. You are stuck. Is that writer’s block? Or is it just procrastination? And what’s the difference between the two?

In this blog post, I’ll explain the difference between writer’s block on the one hand and procrastination on the other. Next to that, I’ll offer some strategies to overcome both of them. 

The difference between writer’s block and procrastination

Both procrastination and writer’s block lead to the same outcome: you’re not producing any output. You should write, but instead, you do something else. It makes sense that people can’t tell the difference between the two. However, writer’s block has a different cause than procrastination. 

Writer’s block has to do with not knowing what to write, while procrastination is avoiding writing altogether. If you suffer from writer’s block, you lack ideas, are stuck, and don’t know what comes next. However, if you suffer from procrastination, you are ‘choosing’ alternative activities over the writing you’re supposed to do. Your brain prefers the immediate rewards while avoiding the thought and the anxiety of doing something more difficult – such as writing that blog post!

The solutions 

Different things cause writer’s block and procrastination, but the strategies to overcome these troubles are also different. Let’s look at some ways to overcome writer’s block and procrastination!

How to overcome writer’s block

Writer’s block means that you don’t have enough ideas. You just don’t know what to write about. Let’s look at some ideas to get those creative juices flowing.

  1. It could be a good idea to get away from your computer. Take a short walk or grab that cup of coffee. A change of environment could give you some new ideas. Some people get the best ideas when taking a shower. 
  2. Grab a pen and some paper and brainstorm possible ideas. Just write down anything that comes to your head that could be turned into a blog post. 
  3. Look at blog posts of competitors or frenemies. Only look at their titles. Please don’t get too inspired by their complete stories. It’s often difficult to develop an alternative approach after reading an entire blog post. But just looking at titles and browsing through archives of other blogs could help you to come up with new ideas.
  4. The website Days Of The Year could give some great ideas of what to write about. Just browsing that website could help you come up with something to write about.
  5. If you’ve already written some blog posts or have some social media posts, read some of the comments you may have got. The questions your audience asks you, the things that aren’t clear yet, could make a great new perspective for a new blog post. 
  6. Perhaps you have difficulty developing an idea, but you do know which terms you would like to rank for. Google those terms. See what comes up? Could you write something better than that?
  7. And, of course, ChatGPT could help with this as well. You could ask ChatGPT for topics in a certain field. 

How to overcome procrastination

Procrastination is avoidance. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy! It’s a logical and common response if you do a challenging task. And we all procrastinate sometimes. But how do we overcome procrastination in our writing tasks? 

  1. Make sure to set goals and deadlines. Why are you writing blog posts? What do you want to reach? When do you want to finish? Even if you are the only one writing on your website, make sure to make a plan and write down your goals and deadlines.  
  2. Sometimes, the task that you want to do is much too large. If a writing task is too large, you might feel overwhelmed, which could be why you procrastinate. Try to break up such a big writing task into smaller ones. Perhaps you’re writing an article about the pros and cons of AI. Could you make smaller bits out of that article? For example: 1. the introduction to AI, 2. the pros, and 3. the cons.
  3. Reward yourself once you finish something. Allow yourself to take a short walk, get a cup of coffee, or browse the internet (be careful with that one; you could get distracted and lose all sense of time).
  4. If you’re a notorious procrastinator, schedule your writing tasks. Block some time in your calendar to work on your articles. Scheduling the work makes it harder for your brain to procrastinate and postpone. You’re more invested in finishing that task once you’ve planned and scheduled your time. 
  5. Writers are easily distracted. Your computer offers all kinds of distractions: social media, news sites, and online shopping. If you’re easily distracted, make sure to work in an environment that is clean and organized. Clean up your workspace, close all the tabs on your computer, and put away your phone. You’ll probably be less sidetracked and less prone to procrastination when the distractions are minimal. 

Beat your block and your procrastination!

Don’t beat yourself up if you see yourself procrastinating now and then. We all procrastinate! Dealing with writer’s block is very common, too. Try to focus on the things you have done. Reward yourself after finishing that article. 

Do you need any help? Check out Progress Planner. Our tool helps you to focus on the progress you make on your website. We’ll help you to celebrate your progress. We’re developing a pro version of our tool to help you set goals and plan your work. We’ll even help you to come up with good ideas to write about.

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