Every freelance writer has experienced brain drain. It’s that uncomfortable moment when everything goes gray and fuzzy and the ideas just can’t seem to flow through to the page. For freelance writers who depend on writing for income, a long period of brain drain can be tantamount a pay cut. Freelance marketing writers can be especially susceptible to brain drain since marketing demands such consistent creativity from its authors.
Taking a break is often the best solution for this problem, but sometimes a writer simply can’t afford to take a break. This is why writers often have to fight through the drain by manually rebooting their thought process.
Can You Read a Mind Map?
MindMeister is a free online idea mapping website that also features a mobile application. It allows writers to map out their ideas for better visual organization of their articles. This leads to more effective brainstorming and an easy way to break through mental walls. Idea mapping, often known as mind mapping today, is an old school method of thought organization that many younger writers may not have used since college. Of course, writers who prefer a more traditional route can always bust out the pen and paper.
(Re)Searching for Your Inner Voice
Wikipedia is a great place to begin brain drain breaking research, but it should only be used as a jumping off point to locate peer-reviewed publications and to find related topics. About.com and eHow are other popular websites that many writers consult from time to time.
However, freelance writers need to be cautious about becoming overly reliant on their research material to fight brain drain. Fatigue can lead to writing material that is extremely similar to the source. Writers involved in research-heavy projects should use techniques to both maximize their efficiency and minimize the risk of unintentional plagiarism, such as taking brief notes on the source and referring only to the notes when writing.
Social Exchange in a Digital Age
Writing.com, an extremely well-established writing community, can be a good way for writers to immediately get feedback from their peers. Writing forums in general can be a great way for a writer to counter brain drain, but it needs to be an active forum to be of immediate use. Forums allow a writer to get advice on how to tackle a project from a different direction, and many writers are more than happy to help each other brain storm and develop their ideas.
When it just seems impossible to write another sentence, it’s often best to walk away. Taking a long walk outside, going to the gym or just having a cup of coffee can be a great way to reset a writer’s brain and help her focus again. Those who are under a difficult time crunch need to consider that they may be spending more time struggling with their words than writing effectively.
Jenna I is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.