TRADE TIPS:HOW TO OVERCOME WRITER’S BLOCK By Nicole Hayes
If you were the sixth grader who wrotecreative mysteries that dazzled teachers and won high positioning on your familys home refrigerator (like me), congratulations.
Fast forward to today where you’ve been asked to write apress release or op-ed and you struggle to find the words to begin.
Take heart because you are among the best and rest of us. You are experiencing the common, frustrating symptom of writers block.
Rest easy because HeidiCohen of PR Daily offers 21 tips to keeping your writing sharp
1. Create a list of articles you want to write but dont have time. Its easy to get inspired about othertopics when the pressures on to writeabout something else. Theres nothing like a deadline to make anything else seem exciting.
2. Feed your mind.Read a book, blogs or news sites toget ideas. This isnt an excuse to get a snack or other indulgence.
3. Develop a story around a trending topic, even if its not your area of focus.The objective is to find a way to writeabout the hot topic. This can be useful when you need to keep your content relevant.
4. Keep a swipe file. Sign up for a range of newsletters that focus on your beat to see what otherwriters and bloggers cover. Save articles that provide new insights or formats for inspiration. This doesnt mean you should copy someone elses ideas or articles.
5. Collect relevant questions about your topic. Think like youre writing an endlessFAQ. A list of questions gives you a hookto build your content around. This is particularly useful for blogs and company content.
6. Get a head start. Before you quit a writing session, write down the ideas you have for the next one. Form them into an outline and add it to your current document to makeit easy for you to pick up where you left off.
7. Remove distractions.Close your social media sites, chat and email. Its useful to have a dedicated space for writing.
8. Make an appointment to write. Set your timer or alarm for a specific time. Thats when you have to start writing.
9. Change writing environments. If you always write at your kitchentable, try writing at a coffee shop or local library.
10. Seek inspiration.Do something that provides you with a muse. Go to a play or museum.
11. Write a piece using someone elses title. The goal isnt to steal another writers work, but to force yourself to write with someone elsesframework. You can also do this with one of your own articles. Forceyourself to write a second piece thats completely different from the first but has the same title.
12. Tell a story. One way to make your writing memorable is to turn it into a story.Include a beginning, middle and end.Even if youre writing about research, you need to make it memorable. Here are some storytelling tips and inspiration for 29 types of corporate stories.
13. Break complex topics into smaller chunks.Sometimes you need to have more manageable goals. A complicatedtopic might work well if you divide it into multiple targeted topics.
14. Start where the energy is.You dont have to write everything inorder or start at the beginning. Begin where youre inspired.
15. Leave room for discussion.You dont need to say everythingthere is to say about your topic.
16. Use a human voice.When you read your writing, does itsound like something a real person would say or did you let it devolve into corporate gibberish? If yourwriting is boring, people wont read itno matter how important your points are.
17. Write in an active voice.The goal is to make your writing asstrong as possible. Your article will lose a lot of vitality if you overuse the passive voice.
18. Skip the four letter words.While its good to use a human voice,its poor form to fill your writing with a lot of slang and curses. Although they attract attention, its not always the type you want.
19. Let it rest. If youve been pounding away on a piece for a while, take a break. This doesnt mean you should abandonyour work. Get the main points down and wait a bit before you edit.
20. Read your article out loud. Its amazing how many errors youll find.
21. Check your spelling and usage. While most people write on acomputer, its critical to make sure you used the correct words. Spell checkers canttell the difference between theyre, their or there since all three are spelled correctly.
We hope these suggestions giveyou more hope and less frustration in the journey of writing!
This presentation was originally published on our Voice Matters Blog. To learn more about McKinney & Associates, visit www.mckpr.comMcKinney & Associates was founded in 1990 with a commitment to social justice that has prevailed for more than 20 years. From the beginning, McKinney passionately and skillfully practiced Public Relations with a Conscience for local, national and international organizations involved inpublic policy and social advocacy. The firm has grown strategically, addingpractice areas, maturity and a strategic core to meet the needs of clients. @McKPR facebook.com/McKPR youtube.com/McKinneyPR