writer’s block

Get Writing Now

Years ago, it was the empty page that stared back at us during writer’s block. Today that cursor and on the screen blinks at us, begging us to get started. But what if you feel like you can’t? You can. Here’s how.

Whether you are writing reports or that cover letter for that dream job, the techniques are the same. Always turn off your phone and any email or text alerts.

When you’re scared to start, write what you’re thinking.
The first sentence may say, “I can’t write a bloody thing. What if I screw this up? I have no idea what to say…” Get it all out. Set the timer on your phone. Give yourself five or 15 minutes to lose your mind. It’s okay. Chances are there’s a shredder at work if you’re writing by hand, and the computer has a delete button. You’re okay.

Step two, write a goal for the document ~ even if you never share it.
Get a $50,000 contract from this proposal. Persuade the client to buy expanded services. Convince the CEO to support a community initiative. Provide a 500-word article for The District that will help people communicate better with co-workers and loved ones. Writing your goal helps you to focus.

The next step to breaking writer’s block… ahem… I call “puking on the page.”
Write your thoughts in sentence or point form. Whatever works for you. If it’s a large document, you could put one thought per recipe card. If it’s a blog, short report, or cover letter, type your thoughts.

writer's blockThen organize your thoughts into an order or into sections.
Explain more about that section until you’ve covered every section.

Create a ritual for writing to get into the writing groove faster.
Maybe you use the same pen or always wear headsets or have a cup of tea while you write. Something that tells your body and mind that it’s time to focus on writing.

Know yourself.
I write reports like proposals or training need assessment reports best first thing in the morning. I like having a clear head. I write blog posts often on Friday afternoon when I’m often so drained from teaching (which I do love!) that I can speed by any worries about getting it right or perfect and get the blog post done. Somehow that lets the writing flow for me.

If you’re in a crunch, a change of venue can break writer’s block.
Or a break (that’s a break or 10-minute walk, not 2 hours of procrastination!). Or bribe yourself with food. Promise yourself that mocha chino or chocolate bar after you prepare an outline or write four more pages.

What are you going to do this week if writer’s block threatens to separate you from your goal?

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