Write Now! – 6 Tips to Cure Writers’ Block. Part Four of Effective Communication Skills
Writing is something most of us do, to one extent or another, but sometimes it can feel almost impossible to write well when you need to. Getting your ideas out of your head and onto paper in a way that’s engaging to your readers, takes practice. When writers’ block strikes – it might feel like you’re just never going to beat it.
In previous articles, we’ve looked at the importance of grammar, proofreading, editing your own work and writing speeches. This article looks at tricks you can use to move past that blank sheet of paper or empty screen. Starting any piece of writing from scratch feels daunting. Once you find a way to move beyond the infamous ‘writers’ block’, you’ll be relieved to find that your ideas and thoughts flow with more ease.
The longer you procrastinate and worry about how you’re going to fill a page, given that your head feels totally blank, the more you convince yourself that it’s an insurmountable task. Follow these six tips to get your pen (or fingers) racing.
1 Random Notes
Allow your mind to focus loosely on your topic and note down any ideas that occur to you, no matter how random they seem. Your creativity works best when you enter a ‘free flow’ state. Let your thoughts wander around your ideas. Some of the notes you make may feel unconnected, but could lead you in the right direction, or provide inspiration.
2 Brainstorm onto Paper
Brainstorming (or mind mapping) onto paper is similar to random note taking, but with the beginnings of structure included. Write each topic or theme you wish to discuss in a circle, connect sub-topics to your initial circle. You can then break down the sub-topics with further connected ideas. This method starts to provide you with a visible structure.
3 Review and Plan
Using your brainstorming structure, start to write a plan. Use sections to make your writing easy to follow for readers. Using sections will also make it simpler for you to ensure you have covered what you need to. Bear in mind that most ‘business writing’ needs a concise introduction to tell your readers exactly what information you are covering, sections dealing with each major theme and a conclusion. Your conclusion should restate your main themes. As readers, we are used to information presented in this way and the familiar structure makes it less mentally taxing for us to follow and process.
4 Walk Before You Write
Take a walk outside in pleasant surroundings. Do this either before you sit down to write or at any time you feel writers’ block is surfacing. Just allowing yourself to unwind helps you break through the block. Whilst you walk, try not to think about the writing task – just focus on the moment. Stress and perceived pressure are major causes of writers’ block. Taking some time to relax enables you to focus clearly when you begin to write again.
5 Swap Keyboard for Pen
Some people find the creative process of writing works better with a pen in their hand rather than using a keyboard. Try changing your usual method of writing. If you use a pen, type; if you type, use a pen. Just mixing the process up a little, sometimes gets your creative juices flowing.
6 Read for Inspiration
If you really find yourself stuck with a topic, try reading what others have written about it. Obviously, this isn’t a suggestion to plagiarise someone else’s work! But just looking at how others write can be inspirational and enable you to conceive your own, unique ideas.
Writers’ block happens to most people who write. Many professional writers find they have to use one of the techniques listed to help them break through this ‘mind blankness’. Once you’ve found a trick that works for you, make it part of your writing routine.
Do you suffer from writers’ block? How do you get past it? Illumine would love to hear what techniques work for you.
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