5 Ways to Kill Writer’s Block for Good
Situation: you have something to write – a challenging email, a brief or presentation about a new project, a post for your blog you have been struggling to keep up with – and a deadline to meet, but you are at a loss for words when you put your fingers to the keyboard.
What follows is a cycle of looking at the screen, walking away, writing a few sentences, deleting them, and then walking away again. Claiming “writer’s block” is an excuse that many of us use, but it is a problem that you have complete control over. The solution is to break this negative cycle by starting a positive one and to take action to obliterate writer’s block once and for all.
Here are 5 simple approaches to get unstuck:
- Allow imperfections. Lower your expectations for your first draft and give yourself permission to write poorly. The American poet William Stafford said, “There is no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.” Having high expectations for your first draft will ensure your fingers freeze up and crush your confidence.
- Mind map. Grab a blank sheet of paper and some colorful markers. Start scribbling words and phrases about your message. Take a few ideas from your mind map and put them together to help form content.
- Record yourself. Maybe your issue is between your brain and your fingers. Speak your ideas into a voice recorder or even leave a voicemail for yourself. This helps to shorten the distance the message has to travel.
- Talk it out. Call a friend or sit down with someone face to face. Ramble to them about your idea, have them take notes, and restate what you said.
- Shrink the task. Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Break your work into smaller chunks to make it more manageable: write the headlines, insert your bio, or drop in the page numbers.
Remember that you have written before, and you will write again. Start by choosing one of the tasks from this list, and you will be writing up a storm in no time.