Dealing with Writer's Block When You're Job Hunting

Updated on December 29, 2017
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Sally Hayes is a business communications coach who teaches speaking and leadership skills to adults in the midst of a career change.

Ok, so you're looking for a new writing gig and you're right in the middle of a bad case of writer’s block. Does that mean everything in your search for a new job must come to a complete standstill? No. Whether you are looking for a new writing job or thinking of switching careers and becoming a freelance writer, these tips on how to cope with writer's block can help you stay hopeful and motivated to keep pursuing your dream job.

Writer's block doesn't have to stop you from finding a new job.

Don’t let your networking skills get rusty! No one has to know that you are in the middle of writer’s block unless you choose to tell them. So don’t shy away from other writers just because you think your creativity is at an all time low. Stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself from the literary scene even if you feel like you have nothing to contribute at the moment. Keep networking with other writers and “literary entrepreneurs” (a.k.a. Freelancers!) If you take yourself off the market and hideaway while you recover from your writer’s block, you’ll be missing out on current trends in marketing and promotions from writers.

Make sure you stay on the radar of your past clients and career mentors. When you emerge from your writing slump with a new burst of energy and creativity, you’ll want to approach them with your brilliant story ideas, your unique article pitches and your innovative marketing and ad copy strategies. The last thing you want is to call up a past client and have them say, “I’m sorry. John Who?” when they answer. Your key writing contacts should never feel like you just called them “out of the blue.”

Learn about and experiment with other literary genres and writing gigs. Sometimes writer's block is the product of boredom and a lack of stimulation. After all, why bother trying to write something “new” when all you can think of to write about has already been written by you or someone else? well, why not take an old piece of your writing, for example a personal essay and rewrite it as a play or film script? Transform a print ad that you wrote into a 15 second sound-bite for the radio. Break out of your usual writing genre and try something new! This will not only help you move past your creative block, it might even inspire you to expand your career search into areas you hadn't considered before.

Re-read your old writing from five years ago. You’ll likely notice that even in the middle of your current career slump, you're still further ahead in your writing development than you were five years ago. When you see how much progress you made and that you did keep moving forward, you’ll realize that this slump is temporary. It may seem like a long kind of temporary but it is not permanent.

Volunteer in a reading program or at your local library. When you help other people discover the beauty of words, you’ll remember why you fell in love with reading and writing in the first place. Looking for new writing jobs can be exhausting. That's why it's important you remind yourself why you want to be a writer.

Help someone else reach their writing career goals. I am currently working as a freelance writing coach and I’m finding it to be one of the most rewarding, satisfying writing jobs I have ever had! The best way to reach your career goals is to help other people reach their career goals.

Take care of your health and catch up on your R & R. Perhaps your current writing block is the result of poor eating and sleeping habits. When you are looking for a new job, pounding the pavement, it's all to easy to neglect your health. Feeling busy when you're job-hunting may make you feel like you are moving forward, but you won't get very far if you aren't looking after yourself.

If you want to get past your creative impasse, make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, eating nutritious food and exercising regularly. Neglecting your mental, emotional, or spiritual needs can hold you back from reaching your writing goals to, so make sure you haven’t been sweeping personal problems under the rug.

Read. It’s as simple as that: just read. Career search how to guides, fiction, professional journals, trade magazines---there are some many different types of books and reading materials you can turn to in order to get out of a writing rut. Feed your mind with inspiring words and ideas and your writing slump will be fading away in no time.

When you've got writer's block, make a date with yourself and a good book. Reading for pleasure is a great way to take your mind off your writer's block.
When you've got writer's block, make a date with yourself and a good book. Reading for pleasure is a great way to take your mind off your writer's block.

Call in the experts. If you are finding that your writer's block is standing in the way of important job search skills such as updating your resume, writing cover letters, and sending out proposals, then consider hiring a professional career coach or resume expert to help you polish up your promotional materials. When you are looking for work, you don't always have the time to patiently work your way through a writing block. You need to respond to job ads as quickly as possible.

© 2016 Sally Hayes


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