Do you do a lot of writing at work? Do you write a lot of emails, articles, press releases, or job aids? If so, you might occasionally suffer from a dreaded ailment – writer’s block.
Writer’s block happens when you know you need to write something (and you might even have a deadline staring you the face), but you just can’t think of how to say it. Instead of producing words, you stare at a blank, white computer screen and wait for inspiration that never arrives.
So what should you do if you experience this terrible condition? Here are a few suggestions:
- Make a list – You probably have some ideas about what you want to write. So before you forget those ideas, write them down. Make a list of the points that you’d like to make. If there are charts and graphics that need to be included, put them on your list too. Creating a list can help to give you some direction and inspiration.
- Do some brainstorming – Stop worrying about the quality of what you’re putting on the page. Instead, try to spend a certain amount of time (for instance, 5 to 10 minutes) just writing about your topic – whatever comes to mind. Write your sentences without worrying about whether they’re grammatically correct or there’s a logical flow. You can move them around and make fixes later.
- Start from the middle – Sometimes it can be difficult to think of how to begin. So instead of struggling to come up with the perfect opening paragraph, just start in the middle. Tackle a paragraph that you feel confident about writing. Once you get going, it should help you to write the rest.
- Use placeholders – If you ever get stuck trying to come up with the perfect sentence or even the perfect word, just use a placeholder. Write anything that comes to mind, highlight it, and move on. Later, you can go back to the highlighted areas and smooth out the rough spots.
Do you have any other tips for getting over writer’s block? If so, please share your ideas in the Comments section below!
Center for Writing Studies, University of Illinois. (2013). Writing tips: Strategies for overcoming writer’s block. Retrieved from http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/writersblock/