Thursday, 22 May 2014

Five ways to beat writer's block

Have you ever sat down to write content for your website, a post for your blog or copy for your latest newsletter to customers and felt paralysed by 'writer's block'?

You're not alone. It happens to us all. The good news is that there are ways to overcome it.

Here are my top five tips: 

1. Having a deadline focuses the mind. When you work as a staff reporter on a newspaper, and a print deadline looms, it's just NOT an option to have writer's block. Your story has to be written by a specific time, so it can be placed on a page, so that the newspaper can go to press and the van drivers can get it out to the shops.  When you're the boss it's as important to set yourself a firm deadline and tell yourself it HAS to be done by then.
2. Get organised. Before you start writing do your research and gather together all the information you need. Think about who your audience is and put yourself in their shoes. What are the questions they will want your piece of writing to answer? What are the problems that you can help them solve? When you've got everything together it's often easier to see how the piece of writing needs to be structured.
3. Think about how the story starts. Whether you are writing a press release, a blog post, a news item or website content - everything is a story. If you don't know where to start, imagine that you're telling that story to a friend. You will naturally start with the most interesting or important facts and the story will start to flow.
4. Have a change of scenery. If you are staring at the computer screen and the words won't come - have a change of scenery. Go and do something else, take a walk outside, or take your laptop to a local coffee shop. It's amazing how many times a new view makes all the difference. If you have time  to do something completely different for a while, tackle a crossword or read a magazine or a book for a bit. Your subconscious will still be working in the background and when you come back to your writing there'll be some new ideas there as if by magic.
5. Just write. Don't worry about the quality of what you are writing at the start. Just write ANYTHING. No-one has to see your first attempts. Start anywhere in your story. Once the words are down on paper - however rough and ready they look - it's easier to rearrange them in the right order. 

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