7 Secrets For Beating Writer's Block
Most people can easily identify with the dreaded "writer's
block". It is a well-known phenomenon that just about everyone
has faced at some point in their lives.
For years at the beginning of my career, I suffered from writer's block big time! I therefore know, through personal anguish and suffering, just how debilitating that experience can be. It is is definitely not a pleasant experience.
Especially when the due date for one's project or paper is
getting closer by the day, and the boss asks you "how's that
project going" every time you don't manage to avoid him/her
when you're sneaking down the corridor.
WRITER'S BLOCK IS FEAR-BASED
Writer's block is a fear-based feeling. For whatever reason,
many of us have this incredible fear of committing ourselves
in writing whenever we are faced with a blank page or computer
Fear no longer! I'm here to tell you that writer's block can be beaten!
Just realizing that writer's block is really an irrational fear that keeps us from putting pen to paper is half the battle. It's actually a fear of the unknown, often coupled with a fear of failure.
We secretly wonder just what exactly is going to come out of this pen/keyboard, and when it does, will we be revealing some
kind of incompetent idiot who doesn't know what they're talking about?
On the other hand, if we have done the proper preparation, our
rational mind knows that we can do it just like we did it all
of those other times before.
Unfortunately, fear often wins the day when it comes to writing.
As I stated above, I suffered from writer's block for many
years and it was not the most enjoyable of experiences.
THE 7 SECRETS
Fortunately, somewhere along the way I did manage to develop
a few tricks to overcome writers block. Some are obvious,
others are not.
Here are my personal hard-earned practical secrets for overcoming writer's block:
In my experience this last one is the ultimate secret for
overcoming writer's block.
Don't Write Too Soon
Before trying to write, it is important to prepare mentally
for a few hours or days (depending on the size of the task)
by mulling the writing project over in the back of your mind.
(Just as athletes don't like to peak too soon, writers
shouldn't write too soon either!).
Do The Preparation
Read over whatever background material you have so that it is
fresh in your mind. I read through all background material
carefully marking important points with a yellow hi-liter and
then review it all before I start to write.
Develop A Simple Outline
Before sitting down to write, put together a simple point-form
list of all of the key points you want to cover, and then
organize them in the order in which you are going to cover
them. (I know, I know... your Grade 6 teacher told you the
same thing... but it actually does work).
Keep Research Documents Close By
When you sit down to write, make sure that all of your key
background materials are spread out close at hand. This will
allow you to quickly refer to them without interrupting the
writing flow once you get going. I keep as many of the source
documents as possible wide open, and within eyesight for quick
and easy reference.
Just Start Writing
Yes, that's exactly what you do. Once you have prepared mentally
and done your homework you are ready to write, even if your
writer's block is saying "no". Just start writing any old thing
that comes to mind. Go with the natural flow. In no time at all
you will get into a rhythm, and the words will just keep on
Don't Worry About the First Draft
Once the words start to flow, don't worry about making it
perfect the first time. Remember, it's your first draft. You
will be able to revise it later. The critical thing at the
outset is to write those thoughts down as your mind dictates
them to you.
Work From An Example Or Template
Get an actual sample of the type of document that you need to
write. It could be something that you wrote previously, or it
could be something from an old working file, or a clipping
from a magazine article, or a sales brochure you picked up.
As long as it is the same type of document that you are writing.
Whatever it is, just post it up in your line of sight while you
are working. You'll be amazed at how it helps the words and
ideas flow. The main thing is to have an example to act as a
sort of visual template.
To help with this, be on the lookout for good examples of writing
that you may see in newspapers and magazines, and clip out the
useful ones for future reference.
(C) Shaun Fawcett is webmaster of several writing help websites and is the author of several best selling "writing toolkit" eBooks. His eBooks and his world famous f-r-e-e Writing Success Course are available at:WritingHelpTools.com
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