Avoiding Writer’s Block By Working With Your Brain

    How to work with your brain and avoiding Writer’s Block.

    Olive oil
    Garlic, Cinnamon, Oregano, Minced lamb, Tomato purée, Parsley
    And red wine

    Writing an article is like making a yummy dish called moussaka

    Making the moussaka takes a bit of work. The first port of call is, of course, the ingredients. You have to make that all-important trip to the supermarket, the butcher and the veggie store to get the ingredients.

    Then there’s the prep work, the cooking and finally, the serving.

    In short, four major steps.


    Article writing is a lot like making a dish


    There’s the outlining, the research, the writing and then finally the editing. And the best way to get frustrated and head right into Writer’s Block is to do all four steps at once.

    If you stop to think about it, it’s crazy. Just doing the outline will get you a bit tired. Then maybe it’s time for a bit of research, but even a little can get you pooped. By the time you get down to writing the article, you’re all wrung out. Who the heck is thinking of editing or formatting right now? All you want to do is get out of your misery.


    But this misery is pretty easy to avoid if you understand your brain


    If you notice, the brain works just fine in batches. It functions nicely when handling one thing at a time.

    But try and do all the stages at one go, and you get physically and mentally tired. Then you start making mistakes and of course the entire article often falls apart. You can’t think, you’re too tired to act, and now you believe that you’re not a writer after all.


    All you need is a bit of planning


    I know that you think you don’t have the time to break up a single article into several stages, but that’s the most efficient way to write. Here’s what to do:

    – You outline.

    – Then you do your research, if needed.

    – Then, possibly the next morning, you write.

    – Finally, let it sit for a while, then edit and tidy it up.

    Cooking, writing, dancing—any activity that requires brain power also requires the brain to power up and power down; to have rest periods so that the enthusiasm and energy come flooding back.

    The gap between different stages gives you time so you can think and ideas can percolate, giving your article a better chance of being a work of art instead of it becoming a chore.


    But can’t you get it all out in one go?


    Yes you can. There are times when you’re all fired up and turn out that dish from start to finish. But in most situations, you want to work with your brain, and work in stages.

    Stages allow for much better, less frustrating articles.

    And yes, yummy moussaka.

    Bon appétit.

    Or should we say, “kali orexi!”?

    Do you write in stages and does it help beat writer’s block? Share in the comments below!

    About the author

      Sean D'Souza

      Sean D'Souza is a writer, marketing guru and expert on sales psychology. Read more by Sean on Psychotactics.com

    • Loved it how you said “aubergines” instead of eggplants, Sean. lol

      And you are so right: writing is very similar to following a recipe – very structured and purposeful.

      Great post; I actually included a link to it in my recent post (enclosed as CommentLuv link).

      • Well, they’re known as aubergines and egg-plants. But also brinjal. Did you know that?

        • Brinjal is a new one for me. And most Americans have never heard of aubergines. lol

    • Abel says:

      Great tips here. I think I finally managed to put together a great ritual for getting started when I’m lagging, but new tips always help. Thanks for sharing.

    • Outlining? I only use outlining for speeches.

    • I should’ve said “with” a shoddy result. 🙂

    • I usually outline, research, and write all in one go and then edit later, but sometimes that process just doesn’t work. Now I know why! Planning ahead and allowing myself to break things up will be much more efficient and much less frustrating. Thanks for the tips!

      • I even do this for my cartoons. I will sketch in the morning, then do a wash later in the day, and only then do the final painting. Trying to do everything at once just tires you out and usually ends up in a shoddy result.

    • Patricia says:

      Hi Sean,
      So you are a cook and a writer. You analogy is spot on. Just like food ingredients need to marinate, take time to ‘live’ together, words need the same treatment. My best stories worked that way.
      But I still have problems writing outlines. I tend to jump right in..
      So I’ll take it slower, read the recipe FIRST.
      Buon appetito.

      • Yes, cooking is one of my favorite activities. I even do it on vacation. Slowing down the process of writing is extremely important, but there’s also a situation where you can slow down so much that you forget what you wanted to write about and miss the fire in your belly.

    • I do write in stages.
      What I usually do is one household chore, then I go back and write some more. I’m well-know for my short stories (#ShortAttentionSpanErotica) and I’ll write, edit, or work on one story, get up and do a chore, and then come back and do another story.
      I try really hard to hack out novels, but it doesn’t seem to work out very well. I’ve done a couple, but it’s really hard and takes at least a year.
      I’m learning to be happy with what I can do, though, and therefore, I guess I am working my brain.
      Thanks for the article, Sean!

    • Thanks it’s good to remember these points.
      Last week I was desperately trying to put an article

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