Like you, I also suffer from writer’s block, procrastination, and everything else a writer goes through. Unfortunately, we cannot tell our clients that the reason for our delayed or sub-par submission is due to the above-mentioned causes.
I have been writing online for over six years. By this time, I must already be good at it, right? But no, I am not as good as I would want to be. I still get those moments when I stare at my monitor for an hour or two without any output. And it can really be frustrating. It makes me feel like crap. Unworthy of being called a writer. Unprofessional. Sigh.
Yes, I still experience writer’s block, but not as frequently. What did I do? I took advantage of both traditional and modern tools for writing. I now use apps, both online and offline, to make my life easier, and hopefully yours too!
So, without further ado, here is a list of my favorite tools!
Overcome Writer’s Block: My Eight Tools
I have a huge collection of ebooks. I print the most helpful ones so I can underline important passages or dogear (yes, guilty!) pages. Sure, there are lots of information online. Unfortunately, free and reliable sources are limited to PDFs, government, and educational websites.
Why do I trust books and the online resources I mentioned above? Because these were carefully researched and written. And in case I need further readings, I check the bibliography. Now, this is something that most online publications lack.
My favorite writing books:
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
On Writing by Stephen King
Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi
Hypnotic Writing by Joe Vitale
Lol! I can go on and on! This list of books is enough for now.
Here’s a trivia: I have very bad handwriting. I remember how my grade school teacher tore up my composition paper because my penmanship, according to her, looked like “kalahig ng manok”.
I don’t know if it’s still practiced today, but way back when I was still studying, our teachers checked our notebooks regularly to make sure we copied everything written on the blackboard. Mine was always marked N.I. (Needs Improvement). 😦
So you might be wondering why this notebook-hater suddenly became a fan?
It’s because studies show that writing with pen and paper sparks creativity!
I tried it and yes, it works for me. And the fun side is – no teachers to check my handwriting! 🙂
3. Answer the Public
As an SEO copywriter, I have to know what readers are searching for in relation to a client’s product.
Here’s an example. My client has an accommodation in Australia. So I need to know what keywords or keyphrases Australians are using when looking for an accommodation.
This is where Answer the Public comes in. I just key in “accommodation in Australia” and out come the results, in just a few seconds. And the best part? It’s FREE! However, you’ll have to go pro if you want to access more features.
4. Google Keyword Planner
Ah, this is every SEO writer’s best friend. Although it doesn’t give you exact volume search for your chosen keyword anymore, it helps when you need to generate ideas. It’s free and easy to use. No idea on how it works? This guide is very helpful.
In his book, “Real Artists Don’t Starve”, Jeff Goins says, “The starving artist strives to be original. The thriving artist steals from his influences.”
Yep, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can take inspiration from those before you.
And if you want to pursue copywriting, here’s a great site that can help you: Swiped.co. It’s a swipe file and internet file archive. They’re chosen by the website owner according to their “swipe-worthiness”. Take a peek and be inspired!
6. Coschedule Headline Analyzer
Experts say that the headline or title is the most important part of any written material, from books to news articles, blog posts, white papers, etc. And with millions of articles being published every single day, yours must stand out. And yes, it all starts with the headline.
Your headline affects a reader’s decision: to read or not to read your article. It impacts the overall performance of your article: bounce rate, clicks, engagement, and conversions. Thus, it should be written with utmost care.
To make it easier, I use Coschedule Headline Analyzer. I like it because it gives me an analysis of my title. Take a look at how I used this tool for creating the title of this post:
Do you love bookmarking content you find online? Or do you want to leave lots of tabs open so you can read the content later? Did you know that doing so can slow down your computer? That’s why I use Pocket. If I find a save-worthy article, image, infographic or video, I just click the Pocket icon (you’ll have to add it as an extension on your browser), and viola, it is saved.
Here’s a video on how to use it:
8. OneLook Dictionary and Thesaurus
Since I am not a native English speaker, I’m sometimes at a loss for the right word to use. Or sometimes, I want to look for words that rhyme, or homonyms. This is why I use OneLook Dictionary Search. It has everything I need and is pretty easy to use.
For example, if I need a good adjective to go with the word “magician”, I just type the word, hit enter then use the filters. Great tool, I must say, when you want to overcome writer’s block!
These are just eight of my favorite tools. I hope you find them useful. If you want to learn about the other tools I use, write “MORE TOOLS” in the comments. I’d be happy to share them with you.