You’re ready to write, so you sit down, open up Google Docs or WordPress, and…nothing. You’re blocked, and have no idea where to begin.
Writer’s block has been around pretty much since the beginning of writing, although the phrase itself only dates back to the 1940s. Practically everyone who’s ever written has had a case of it at some point or another.
The good news for you is that you don’t have to suffer in front of a screen, trying to force words out. Several handy content marketing tools are available that are designed to help you overcome writer’s block.
Hubspot Topic Generator
Often, the hardest part of writing is figuring out what to write about. Many content marketing tools focus on giving you topics to write about, based on keywords you put in. A tool such as the Hubspot Blog Topic Generator can be particularly helpful when you’re sitting down to create your editorial calendar.
To use the tool, type in three words that you’d like to write about. The topic generator prefers nouns, and the titles get a little nonsensical if you use adjectives or other parts of speech. Once you’ve typed in your terms, the tool produces five titles, giving you enough ideas for an entire week’s worth of daily blog posts.
Portent’s Content Idea Generator
Portent’s Content Idea Generator is similar to Hubspot’s tool, but only gives you one title at a time. To use it, you type in a subject or keyword (again, it’s better to use a noun or noun phrase). It then creates a title for you.
One of the highlights of the idea generator is that it explains the reasons behind the title it creates. For example, for the keyword “fashion,” a title it suggested was “15 Ways to Become the MacGyver of Fashion.” Thought bubbles by each part of the title explained the benefits of creating a story arc, and the importance of writing about a topic you have specialized knowledge in.
Blog About is another topic generator, but it works differently than the other two. When you first visit the tool, you’re presented with a topic to write about. You can click the refresh button on the page to get a new topic.
If you like the topic you’re presented with, you click next. The tool then suggests titles to you, giving you the option to fill in the blanks with relevant keywords.
The tool also includes a scratch pad, which lets you sketch out ideas to help you visualize what you could write about.
Sometimes, finding new keywords can be what it takes to generate new ideas and get your creative juices flowing. With Ubersuggest, you type in a keyword and get back a comprehensive list of other related keywords. You can then click on the keywords to see search data for each. The tool can also create a word cloud for you, so that you can get a sense of which keywords are the most popular.
Write or Die
If you need more than a few ideas to light a fire under your seat and get writing, a tool like Write or Die can come in handy. The original concept of the app was that if you didn’t write X number of words in Y number of minutes, something unpleasant would happen. The unpleasantness can involve loud noises or pictures of spiders. The app encourages you to write to avoid the consequences.
It now offers a more positive option, too. You can choose a reward instead of a consequence, so that something good happens if you do achieve your goal.
Write or Die isn’t free, but if it gets you typing, it can be well worth the $20.
Ilys is an official sponsor of National Novel Writing Month, so you know it’s serious about beating writer’s block. The tool helps defeat writer’s block by only showing you the last letter you’ve written. You’re not allowed to review your work or even see it until you’ve written the number of words you set. The goal of the app is encourage you to write, and save the editing for later.
The Hemingway app isn’t a tool for busting writer’s block, but it’s an essential content marketing tool. It proofreads your work and offers suggestions to make it clearer. The app tells you when you’re using passive voice, and also highlights tough-to-read sentences. Once you get your ideas out, you can use Hemingway to really make your writing pop.
Writer’s block happens to everyone, but you don’t have to suffer through it alone. Sometimes, a tool can be your best friend when it’s time to get writing.