Communicating is a major part of your daily life. You communicate through email, talk to your coworkers, have hour-long conference calls where you answer questions and relay information. And you do all this effortlessly, without thinking about what you’re doing. But when it comes to writing something for the sake of writing, be it as simple as a blog or as involved as a white paper, the world stops. You don’t know what to write about; you don’t know how to get started; and most importantly, you just don’t want to do it.
Although a bunch of tips about how to write probably won’t make you want to write any more than you do now, they might present some techniques that can make the whole process easier. Think of getting your writing done as an accomplishment. Even if you don’t think much of it, all the online publications that come out with your name on them will live on indefinitely and stay as a representation of you. You might as well put a little effort into it and make yourself look good.
Remember Why You’re Writing
You’re writing for a reason. You were most likely asked to write because of your specific knowledge in a certain field. If you are doing research for your writing project, again, it’s because whoever put you in charge has confidence in your ability to complete it. So there it is. You’re writing because you know what to write about and you can do it.
Your writing also doesn’t have to be perfect. Not every sentence has to be a flawless, harmonious expression of your exact thoughts. It would be great if it could be, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s ok if the words come out awkwardly or not how you want them to. The beautiful thing about writing is that you can write a horrible first draft. Once you finish and the weight of having to write is off your shoulders, you can go back and edit a 2nd time, and a 3rd, and even a 10th.
Start Out Slowly
If writing is a difficult process for you that you avoid and delegate at all costs, starting out slowly might be the key. Write one sentence a day. Alternatively, you might divide up your day and write a sentence in the morning, another in the afternoon, and one or two more in the evening. By the end of the day you will have a whole paragraph.
Find the Right Mindset
Even people who enjoy writing have bad days and sometimes there is just no option to not do it. When times like these come, you need to find inspiration and a way to motivate yourself to do it. Listen to some music, take a short walk, read something inspiring. Preparing yourself to write by doing something relaxing or enjoyable can be a huge boost to get you into a writing kind of mood.
Sometimes you have to get organized to get yourself to write. Dividing up the work and making up a schedule can be helpful. You can look at your writing project as a 20-page e-book or you can look at it as 1 paragraph in the morning, 1 in the afternoon, and 1 before you leave work that you complete over a period of time. Which is better: 20 pages or 1 paragraph? Writing that is well planned and broken up into little chunks will be much easier to handle rather than thinking about how to tackle the whole, overwhelming thing at once.
Another great way to go about having to complete a long piece of writing is making an outline. Let’s think about our example again: is it better to write a 20-page e-book or a 1-page, bulleted outline? It’s easier to write a little bit for every single item on your outline rather than trying to wrap your mind around having to write 20 pages. Starting out slowly and expanding each thought and idea will make the work more manageable. By focusing on one point or thought at a time, you will also be able to express your thoughts and ideas better.
However, spreading work out over a period of time might not work for everyone. If you’re one of those ‘get it over with fast’ people, you can still apply these systematic tips, break up your work, take breaks, and still finish in a day or two. Try out both ways. Spend a week or two on one piece of writing and then see how you would do with a similar project in a day. See what works best for you.
Write at the Right Time
Do you find you write best in the morning while your mind is fresh, you have a hot cup of coffee, and the office is still quiet? Then write in the morning. On the other hand, if writing in the morning while you’re still not quite awake seems like the worst idea, do it at another time. Trying out different times to write is very simple and can be the fix you need to get rid of writer’s block. And if you get distracted easily, exiting your email program, turning the sound off on your phone, and logging off Facebook can help get the writing going.
Ask for Help
If you’re really stuck and just can’t get yourself to do it—ask for help! Simply talking to someone about what you have to write and your ideas can be helpful. Bouncing ideas off of someone can help you get the feel of what others’ will find useful about the writing you’re doing.
If someone in your office is a particularly great writer, ask that person about his writing style and process. You might find out something you haven’t thought of before.
Ask someone whose opinion you trust to proofread your piece and give you feedback.
As difficult as it might be to get yourself to write, it’s something that can be mastered if you try out things you haven’t tried before. If you try to figure out a way to make it enjoyable or think about the end result of your writing, it certainly can work out well for you. And while writing probably won’t become your favorite activity, it still might be something you do well. Being a strong communicator is a valuable skill that you can apply to any aspect of your job.
Do you have any suggestions that help you get rid of writer’s block? Share your thoughts!