5 Simple Strategies to Snap Out of Writer’s Block
“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”—Margaret Atwood
You agreed to write an article for a trade magazine or blog to bolster your credibility to prospective clients. But now the deadline is quickly approaching, and the project isn't coming together.
You're stuck, staring at a blank screen. You’ve “waited for perfection,” and now you have no words to show for your time.
So, how do you snap out of it? Follow these five steps:
Take solace in the fact that you're in good company. Even seasoned professional writers encounter writer's block from time-to-time. It's just that they no longer get overwhelmed because they believe they will eventually uncover a solution—if only they persist until they find it. Take on the same attitude. Believe that the project will come together no matter how tight your brain seems to act right now.
(One hack that helps me loosen up my brain for extended periods of creative work is to break up my writing time into 15-minute “intervals” using this format.)
One way to alleviate the anxiety is to break up the project into separate parts and then focus on writing each section, one at a time. Your confidence—and creativity—will increase as you write with renewed momentum.
(To keep me focused and moving forward on my projects, I follow this 27-step writing process.)
Ask yourself, What do I need? What am I missing? Do I lack research that will help this project come together? Do I need to take a break?
Your answers to these questions may hold the key to breakthrough.
(At this point, if you still find yourself frustrated and ready to throw in the towel on your project, read “Why Leaders Should Be Writers.”)
Tap into the reader's pain and aspirations. Brainstorm: What challenges does my article intend to help my audience overcome? What does the reader want that my content can help them get?
The idea here is to reconnect with your reader’s persona—a composite profile of your target audience. The persona is designed to help you focus your story in a way that addresses the hot-button concerns and aspirations of your reader as if you were speaking to one person.
Then determine how you can position your content as the bridge that helps the audience move from their pain toward what they want—which forms the basis for your communication strategy,
As you brainstorm, allow your thoughts to flow on paper (or on the screen) for several minutes, until the mental logjam breaks.
(To dig deeper into this idea of reconnecting with your audience, see “Love: The Key to Open Your Customers’ Hearts (and Change Their Minds.”)
This isn't likely the first time you've been stuck. So, think about all instances where you've faced similar challenges that seemed insurmountable at the time, but you overcame them. Draw strength and encouragement from those memories and take action...Now!
(And if you’re still having trouble getting started, try the “15-minute bargain” to nudge you into taking that all-important first step.)
Sean M. Lyden is CEO of Lyden Communications LLC, a Strategy and Storytelling consultancy that helps entrepreneurs tell their story in a way that grabs attention, garners trust, and grows their business.
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