We’ve all been there: staring at a blank screen while the cursor blinks at you; impatient, taunting…

Writer’s block hits everyone from time to time, and it’s especially inconvenient if you happen to be in the business of writing.

Although overcoming it is usually a personal thing – you need to find what’s best for you – there are some tricks you can try that might help whether you’re writing a blog post or that gripping bestseller that you’ve had in draft form for [checks document creation date] 11 years now.

We asked around the Podium office and gathered some of our tips for overcoming writer’s block, or for finding ways to improve concentration and focus generally. If you have any that we’ve missed, we’d love to hear from you!

Avoid perfectionism

Prolific horror writer Stephen King says ‘done’ is better than ‘perfect’. It’s good advice: there’s always something you could change about your writing – whether you wrote something yesterday or a year ago, when you look at it again there’s a good chance you’d find something you’d want to change. Striving for perfection will probably put a mental block on you ever being able to publish anything. So relax and get on with it.

Please note that this isn’t the same as accepting lower standards, nor does it excuse sloppiness… it’s acknowledging that nothing is ever actually perfect, especially writing.

Find a change of scenery

If you’re sitting at the same desk you have done for years, then perhaps a change of scenery’s what you need, especially if you’re looking for creative inspiration. Sit somewhere else, or move away from your computer altogether and spend some time thinking about your work instead. Just looking at different walls – or no walls – could help provide the spark you need.

Someone on the Podium team even says they often make a breakthrough just by going to the toilet. We didn’t push them for more details.

Find the right level of noise to suit you

Some people love working surrounded by noise; for others, it can be really off-putting. Some struggle to function at all if they don’t have complete silence. This is a really personal thing, so we asked around the Podium office for people’s preferences – as it happens, most of us prefer noise of some sort.

Podium MD Andy loves a bit of background music, but says ‘anything with words’ puts him off, so he prefers 90s dance to help him stay focused/remind him of his youth. Account director Steve admits he’s very easily distracted and has been known to listen to videos of people hoovering to help him block everything out and concentrate. We’re not kidding.

Emma likes instrumental versions of pop music – and Disney songs. Lia says she sometimes listens to the same song over and over again – and provided this link to support the theory when we all accused her of going crazy.

Sarah, meanwhile, says she wrote her dissertation with the now-cancelled Jeremy Kyle Show on in the background. She got a first, so it clearly worked for her!

Do the worst tasks first

This one came from account exec Katie, who referred to Mark Twain: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the BIGGEST one first.”

Undesirable or tedious tasks will play on your mind and take mental energy away from all that lovely writing. So make a list and clear the less-fun stuff first.

Avoid distractions

Distractions are part of office life, and you can’t shirk your phone-answering responsibility all the time. But if you really need to avoid distractions for a while, why not see if you can find a quiet spot away from everyone else? There’s no shame in admitting you need to be on your own to concentrate on an especially challenging piece of copywriting.

Avoiding distractions also includes staying away from social media. Your brain might try to trick you into thinking that posting on Twitter is, at least, a form of writing, but the way social media hooks you in means you’ll be checking back every five minutes to see if you’ve had any engagement on your post. Just avoid it altogether if you’re really struggling.

Ditch the computer altogether

This one definitely won’t work for everyone, but at least one member of the Podium team finds it easier to plan out blog posts by hand, in pencil, before attempting to draft them properly. Just being away from a screen can change the way your mind works, even if just for a short period. It also removes distractions, such as having the entire internet at your fingertips…

Just write!

The absolute best cure for writer’s block is to get your head down and just write. If you’re struggling with one piece of copy, why not write something different? You could try writing something completely different – or ‘easier’ – to clear the blockage. Just as running is the best way to get better at running, writing is the easiest way to get your brain working at full speed again.

These tips are just some of the tricks we use at Podium to make sure our minds remain free-flowing and productive. Blog writing forms an essential part of our digital marketing services, and well-written, fresh and engaging content is incredibly beneficial to a website’s SEO performance. If you think we could help you, please feel free to drop us a line. We don’t do heavy selling and we won’t pester you for weeks.