It’s a typical day at the office and we’re up against deadlines, putting out fires and being pulled in a million different directions. Because we understand the importance of written communication with our customers, we attempt to carve out time to write.
But when we finally sit down to write that blog post, email, newsletter article or e-book, we draw a complete blank. We freeze in our seats, watching the computer curser blink as it waits impatiently for us to make it move across the page with our insightful, inspiring words. But the words aren’t there. Our minds are an empty slate, and the harder we try to think of something to write, the emptier that slate becomes and the panic begins to set in.
As if our plates weren’t full enough, we are now dealing with a classic case of writer’s block.
Writer’s block happens to everyone—business professionals, college students and even professional writers. Chances are, it’s happened to you before, and it will happen again in the future.
The demands on business owners are unrelenting and distractions are a normal part of our day. It’s no wonder we have trouble sitting down to focus on one thing, attempting to corral our scattered thoughts into smooth, coherent sentences that our customers will appreciate and gain value from.
When its crunch time and the projects just have to get done, here are a few strategies for combating writer’s block and helping you clear your head.
- Take a timed break. Give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to let yourself calm down. Do whatever you need to do to relax – meditate, close your eyes and take long deep breaths, pray, or brew a fresh cup of coffee and step outside to enjoy it. When the time is up, sit back down and try again.
- Have a brainstorming session. Set a timer and write for 15 minutes about anything. It doesn’t have to be about the project you are working on. Just don’t stop writing. Sometimes the simple act of consistent thought flow can be enough to break the locks on your creativity.
- Do something else that is creative. If you like to paint, sculpture or play a musical instrument, take a timed break to do it.
- Change locations. Write in a different room of your house, the conference room of your office, or eliminate all workplace distractions by going to a restaurant, coffee shop or the library.
- Talk it through with a co-worker or friend. Sometimes putting a voice to your thoughts and getting input and feedback from others can be enough to open the floodgates.
- Participate in physical activity. Go for a walk, a run or lift weights at the gym. Get your heart rate going and don’t think about work. Come back to it with renewed energy.
- Reward yourself for progress or completion. Make a deal with yourself that when you have written for a predetermined number of minutes, have met a certain goal or have finished the project, you will treat yourself something small. An extra long break, a cup of coffee or a small piece of chocolate can be great motivators.
- Always carry a small notebook or use a voice memo app for your phone. The perfect words will come when you least expect it, and you should be ready to record them when they do. Keep a notebook in your laptop bag, your purse, your car or by your bed.
Writer’s block is a function of being over-programmed, distracted and unable to focus. Taking the time to step back and eliminate distractions can help us ease anxiety and feel refreshed, relaxed and ready to tackle the task at hand.
If you’d like to receive my best advice, please join my mailing list: