10 tips to overcome “writer’s block” – and why it matters

Chalkboard-Writers-BlockHere I am, staring at a blank screen, willing myself to come up with an article for this month’s issue. And then I saw this great quote: “Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” – Charles Bukowski

According to littlejackmarketing, blog writers post 1400 new blog posts EVERY MINUTE! Worldometers has a real-time counter listing the number of blog posts written “today” (as of 10 am today, we’re at 1.8 million and change). But why should this matter to you? After all, you can hire people to write for you, whether in-house or outsourced.

If you’re a B2B organization, the statistics around content generation and content marketing are staggering. Consider this: business buyers share the following content types with colleagues: (results for a response of “frequently”) Blog Posts (40%); Infographics (35%); eBooks (35%); White Papers (35%); Case Studies (33%); Webinars (33%); Videos (25%). 55% of business bloggers are getting 5% or more of their corporate website’s traffic from their blog.

Of course if you’re selling to consumers, the need for content doesn’t change. The need for transparency in your organization, the need for customers to develop a relationship with you and your brand, is more important than ever. The ability to deliver compelling communications, whether in the form of an email, a presentation, a speech, a brochure, or a 140-character tweet, requires you to wear a writer’s cap more than ever.

Although there are those out there with seemingly limitless ideas, for many of us the thought of putting “pen to paper” (or finger to keyboard) is a daunting task, often resulting in our productivity coming to a grinding halt, particularly if it’s not something you do on a regular basis.

Writer’s block happens for a number of reasons:

  • You think the idea just “isn’t good enough”
  • You aren’t confident in your writing skills
  • You don’t have time
  • You prefer to write when the urge strikes…deadlines are your enemy
  • You have/create too many distractions/priorities
  • Regardless the reason, the need for content doesn’t go away. At some point in time you need to face that dreaded screen.  When the deadline looms and you’ve run out of options for NOT writing, here are some tips to get the creative juices flowing:

1.   Block off time in your calendar to get it done. And don’t bump it!

2.   If you already have a topic, write whatever random thoughts come to mind…in no particular order. The more you capture, the more the ideas will flow. Google the topic for inspiration. Once you have all your ideas down, open up a clean doc and then start cutting, pasting, re-arranging, and filling in the blanks. *Tip: I often start with my last paragraph and work my way backwards.

3.   Need a topic idea? Check out some of your LinkedIn groups for inspiration. Or the news. Or industry publications. *Tip: Don’t turn on the TV or get sucked into YouTube videos. Unless of course you’re a TV critic or your topic is “How to get lost in YouTube videos” (hmmmmmmm…I sense a new article in the works!)

4.   Repurpose and/or refresh something you’ve already written. It’s amazing what you can find when you go back through your old emails, blogs, proposals, etc.

5.   Get rid of distractions. If shutting down email is not an option then turn off your alerts and set your phone to vibrate. (Imagine you’re in a client meeting). Shut your door.

6.   Go for a walk and clear your head. Let your thoughts wander. Write down all of your to-dos so that they don’t become distractions. (see #5)

7.   Change the scenery. I know countless people who do their best writing at Starbucks. Free wi-fi and copious amounts of caffeine. ‘Nuff said.

8.   Doodle. Studies have shown that doodling enhances creativity and improves focus and concentration!

9.   Brainstorm with a colleague. Hit the boardroom, use the whiteboard and just start throwing out ideas.

10.   Start writing! Anything. Everything. And if your thoughts begin to stray, write them down. Who knows…you may end up with so much content that you won’t need to write anything new for months!

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Joanne Gore

Joanne Gore is a B2B marketer who’s passionate about print and has spent the last three decades helping companies maximize their marketing and communications efforts. Founder of Joanne Gore Communications, she helps companies tell their story to a new generation of print and business buyers. Email: joanne@joannegorecommunications.com Follow her on Twitter: @joannegore121