How to Effectively Deal with Writer’s Block

Sorry for the long hiatus since the last article. Almost two weeks! How time flies. It was not – as some of you may now suspect – because of writer’s block. It was quite the opposite, actually. I’ve been churning out so much content for my clients that I didn’t have time to write a post here. Could I have? Probably, but I didn’t become a digital nomad to spend every waking minute working, after all. Like I’ve said before, half the reason I do this is for the better work life balance.

In truth, I don’t believe in writer’s block. I mean, sure, I have the occasional day where I find it harder to write. I’ll also occasionally struggle with a story or a concept. Sometimes I might push a particularly daunting story or article back by a few days and write something else instead.
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How to be a Better Blogger and Let Your Thoughts Fly Free

Poorly written texts are cages that imprison your ideas within them. When you express yourself poorly, your reader has to break your thoughts from prison. They have to dig, sweat and work to bend the bars of your sentences and catch the thoughts between the lines.

And unless they’re motivated (e.g. they love you, you’re famous, you’ve got great marketing or they know your ideas are highly original) they won’t get far. They’ll give up and your words will remain locked up.

A well-written post, on the other hand, doesn’t lock in your thoughts. It sets them free. Your words aren’t bars, but wings. Letting your ideas soar skywards and carry your reader to exotic climes.
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Echoes of Laughter: Reflecting on a Vagabond Existence

Is the house on fire? Are we at war? Is there an earthquake? Quick, what do I do first, grab my work laptop or wake my girlfriend? As I chide myself for thinking that (what can I say, protecting one’s words is a writer’s knee-jerk reaction) the nails-on-chalkboard sound comes again.

It shreds the last cobwebs of sleep. With a groan, I slump back onto my pillow.

It’s just the Colombians returning. You’ll always know when that happens. The older sister will always unfailingly remind you how funny she thinks everything is. She greets even the most mundane pronouncement with pearls of laughter.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great attitude during the day. It is a great deal harder to appreciate at 3 o’clock, though, when behind closed eyelids you were having tea with the Mad Hatter.
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How to Launch a Successful Freelance Writing Career

I’m not going to pretend I’m raking it in as a freelance writer. Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t do so in the future. I’ve only been doing it full-time for a little over a year. Who knows what the future may hold? More importantly, I have achieved one thing. I’m making enough money for my girlfriend and me to see the world.

In this year we’ve gone from barely scraping together enough to live, to being able to travel across three continents (If you want to know more about that kind of life read my article 8 things you need to know about travelancing). Most months we break even and some we even end up ahead.

The best part? I’ve become a better – and faster – writer because of it. That means that for the most part I only work around four hours a day. So we’ve got plenty of time to see the sights. And so I’d say I’ve succeeded at my attempt to launch a successful freelance writing career.

So how did I do it? And how can you?
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Write Engagingly 303: The Secret Sauce

Sure, if you want to engage your audience, it helps if you’ve got the mechanics of writing down. For example, as discussed in Write Engagingly 101, spacing, punctuation and having a strong opinion make your articles more readable. And since ease of reading relates to how engaging text is – you need the former for the latter – that’s important. Similarly, as covered in Write Engagingly 202, storytelling, senses and similes will engage your reader on different levels and draw them in.

At the same time, you can use all those strategies and still have a text or story that falls flat on its face. Equally, you could use none of them and have a story draw your audience in like a whirlpool of emotional intent.

That’s because of the element I’d like to talk about in this specific entry of the series. With it, you’re going to be able to connect with and move your reader. Without it, your texts and stories will always remain mediocre and unmemorable.
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Write Engagingly 202: Storytelling, Senses and Similes

I hope you’re ready for the second installment of my write engagingly series. I thought long and hard what I should write about in this one. And though I’m blowing my own horn by saying so, it’s a humdinger!

And yes, you’re absolutely right. In my write engagingly 101 article, I did say you should avoid the exclamation mark. I was just making sure you were paying attention.

A gold star if you picked up on that.

Do note that I wasn’t implying you should never use it. That would be overkill. Instead, I meant that it should set off warning bells (or perhaps exclamation marks) in your head when you do hit that key.
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Write Engagingly 101: Simple Techniques You Can Apply Immediately

If you can’t write engagingly then it doesn’t matter how many words you can produce in a sitting. Nobody is going to sit down to read them. And what’s the point of spilling ink, be it on a story or to reflect on your existence, when nobody cares about the blotches you made? You might as well just throw it at the wall for all the good it will do. Modern art museums are dotted with canvases of a similar ilk.

If modern art is not the path you want to walk, however, and the goal is to write a book or launch a freelance writing career then you’re left with a question. What does it actually mean to ‘write engagingly’? It’s a bit like saying you should paint beautifully, or smile endearingly.

How do you do that?
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7 Ways Traveling Boosts your Writing Career

It is crazy how many people get that travel writing thing the wrong way around. They think that they should first launch a successful freelance writing career and then start traveling. Poppycock! (Isn’t that just a great word? Why did we ever let it slip away?). It is traveling that boosts your writing career.

Want to become a successful traveling freelance writer? Then start traveling today. Check if you’ve got the right characteristics for the travel writer life, start developing them if you don’t, scrape together some money, pack your bags, and hit the open road – though remember to take it slow.

That’s the way to do it.
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Jelte ten Holt’s Extended Portfolio

My extended portfolio includes the items I mentioned on my portfolio page, but also offers a lot more samples from further back. More material is available on request. Just use the mail button or type your email into this form and follow the instructions.

Psychology

Using my experience in social psychology, I wrote an article about how it isn’t happiness but emotional resilience that protects you from depression. You can find it on the site learning-minds.com.
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