Four tips for overcoming writer’s block
We all need to write. But sometimes writing that proposal, newsletter or email can turn into a nightmare. Everyone, even the pros, get stuck for words, so here are four tips for overcoming writer's block.
1. Ask yourself why
Why do you have writer’s block? And how will you get over it? Is it a lack of inspiration? Are you stressed?
For most, writer’s block stems from fear – fear their words won’t be good enough. They can lose sight of the big picture and what they’re writing about. Ask yourself why you started. What’s your objective? And why are you stuck?
- Do you fear what others will think?
- Are your messages ambiguous?
- Is the timing right?
- Is your office space comfortable?
Write about your writing anxieties, vent your frustrations. Then write about how you can overcome them. Once you know why you’re stuck for words, you’ll find you can quickly solve the problem and get on with that letter, biography or web content.
2. Map it out
Drop your key points into an outline and watch your words multiply.
If you have an objective, write it down. You probably know what you’d like to cover. If you don’t, having your objective written down can help spark key points.
Once you’ve got a broad outline, expand on your key points. Write down everything that comes into your head. Once finished, shuffle the points into an order that will give you direction and, ultimately, flow.
You may not even need to complete your outline because suddenly you can’t stop writing! Copy and paste chunks into your document, then simply make your statements complete sentences.
"Set yourself a deadline and write! Once it starts flowing, you won’t be able to stop."
Mapping out your thoughts can also divert your attention from the ideas swirling in your head, enabling you to focus on exactly what you need to write.
Want more articles like this? Check out the business writing section.
3. Seek inspiration
Does your writer’s block come from a lack of inspiration?
A little research can go a long way. It could inspire your words or provide you with a quote around which to structure your content. What do the experts say about the subject?
Look at related material, even if it comes from your competitors’. Perhaps your industry is in the news. This could inspire the general direction of what you write.
Write as you go so you have somewhere to turn when you get stuck. Keep a notepad bedside you or start an ideas box. Take ideas from life. Scribble down everything that inspires you.
Listen to music… in the background. It could help block out other distractions, while also breaking the distraction of silence.
4. Just write
Set yourself a deadline and write! Once it starts flowing, you won’t be able to stop.
Give yourself permission to write badly; try not to make revisions along the way as this can slow you down and dry up your inspiration.
It is nice to get it right from the start, and that will come with practice, but remember, no one will see this draft. It can be easier to fix spelling, grammar, order and flow when you’re refreshed.
Let the words flow naturally. This will free up your internal critic and allow you to write things you might not write if you were too self-conscious.
Try closing your eyes or turning the monitor off. If you can’t see what you’ve written, you can’t decide you don’t like it, and delete it.
Keep writing, regardless. Let word follow word. Breaking writer’s block isn’t about writing perfectly, it’s about getting some words out there.
What’s holding you back? What inspires you?
Tell us your tips for overcoming writer’s block.