Overcoming writer’s block

One of the greatest gift I got from my training as a journalist is that I rarely face writer’s block. Staring a hard deadline and a mean editor in the face makes you get over what’s bothering you mighty quick. Here are a few tips for getting past this common problem.

Give yourself permission to stink. Sometimes, when I know I have nothing good to say, I try to write the worst thing I can. Usually, that is something that can be tweaked into something usable later.

Just start writing. When I was a reporter, my usual M.O. was to type in my notes. That’s not thinking or organizing…just transcribing, and that’s a little less scary. Usually, that’s enough to get me thinking about what I might want to say or how to say it better.

Write the headline first. This works when you have lots of ideas, but no idea how to make something compelling afterwards. A good headline gives you an idea of the content, focus and tone of what follows. It’s pretty easy after that. 

Write the beginning last. The first sentence is often the hardest, so skip it. When you have everything down, it’s a LOT easier to write. 

Learn more: 

If you write regularly, like a blogger or columnist, an inspiration file is definitely a good idea. Here’s an article about how to set up an idea file. 

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