It’s not just you. Writing is hard. I’ve been doing it for more than 20 years, and just yesterday I sat down to write a blog post for one of my clients and thought that exact thing. I proceeded to stare, eyes glazing over, at my blank screen.
And while stepping away from your desk for the 15th time may help, if you’re on a deadline, you eventually have to get words on the page.
So whether it’s a press release, blog post, website copy or a larger article, here’s how I fight writer’s block:
Don’t worry about grammar, style or whether it sounds good.
It may sound silly, but ignoring these removes a lot of obstacles to just getting started.
Start by writing the main point you’re trying to get across.
Again, see #1. This is just about centering on what you want people to get from your piece. Don’t think it. Write it.
Don’t start at the beginning.
Seems counter-intuitive, but it works every time for me. Save the lead until the end, or until you are inspired. Write the rest of the piece first, starting with the section you feel most confident with.
Talk it over with a friend.
Sometimes just explaining what you want to write will help you frame the piece. I frequently tell our clients that they are welcome to give us a call and talk through anything they are writing. I’ll send outlines based on those conversations to kick-start the process. We’ll also ghost-write, because sometimes it is easier to tell your story (no matter the length) than it is to write it.
Sometimes you just have to step away. If the piece is not due in an hour, work on something else, leave your office for a walk or save it until the next morning. Frequently I’ll write at night when I’m less likely to be interrupted by an email or a call.
Don’t forget to have someone edit your work. Whether it’s a professional editor or just a friend, make sure it’s someone that will give you objective, honest feedback.
What works for you to get over writer’s block?