It happens to us all from time to time – some more often than others. I’m talking about the dreaded writer’s block, those times when words allude you and you’d rather do something, anything, other than writing. Like when your newsletter needs to be written and all of a sudden you notice that the window you haven’t touched in 5 months needs an immediate scrub-down. Or when your website needs copy and you sit down at your desk to get it done, only to end up rearranging your office supplies instead.
It’s a strange phenomenon that rears its ugly head even for the most seasoned writers, and if you’re not a professional writer but rather a business owner who happens to write your own marketing content? Forgedaboutit! So in honor of April Fool’s Day, today we’ll cover 3 ways to “fool” yourself into overcoming writer’s block, so you can get your copy done and move on with your day.
Fool Yourself Tip #1: “Chunk” your work to avoid overwhelm
When you’re looking at the project as a whole, it can seem daunting and even impossible to complete. How on earth are you going to put together 500-700 words for a decent newsletter article? But when you approach it that way, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stop yourself dead in your tracks. It’s much better to break your task into pieces and work on them a bit at a time. For instance, that 500 word article becomes 4 pieces: 1) a compelling title, 2) an introductory paragraph, 3) 2-3 main points broken into paragraphs or a bullet list, and 4) a conclusion paragraph to wrap things up. Start with one and work your way through, either all at once or in separate chunks. If you tell yourself that all you have to do is write 2-3 sentences for an introductory paragraph, the fear and tension you’ve been feeling inadvertently relaxes. You just might find that once you start with one piece, your procrastination fizzles and you’re able to keep going right through the end!
Fool Yourself Tip #2: Start with a basic outline
Sometimes procrastination kicks in when we don’t have an overall idea of the message we want to get across, so our brains see the task as even more overwhelming. But when you have an outline of basic ideas you want to cover, all you have to do is fill in the blanks and suddenly the task seems more doable. Even determining the 2-3 main points you want to cover, in the case of a newsletter article, can give you the direction you need to get the ball rolling.
Fool Yourself Tip #3: Use a template to ease the writing process
Starting with a blank screen can be enough to bring on a bad case of writer’s block. Your mind takes in all that glaring white space and alarms start going off, screaming, ‘Where do I START?’ At times the simple act of tackling an unknown task can stop us from taking action, which means our writing tasks just don’t get done. (Sound familiar? It will to anyone who’s ever put off publishing a regular newsletter article because they just don’t know how to write good articles month after month.) But when you have templates and samples to ease your path, the indecision begins to wane and you’re able to move forward with confidence. (If you’d like to take advantage of some of our templates and samples for various writing projects, click here to check out the monthly Get Clients Online Action Club, which covers a new topic each month and comes with samples and templates to ease your path, or visit our online store to check out existing products, complete with samples and templates on subjects like newsletter articles, website copy, and more.)
Oftentimes writer’s block is caused by insecurities, uncertainty, and other mental blocks. Using these “tricks” can fool your subconscious mind into getting past these blocks so you can get your writing done.
What do you do to avoid writer’s block? Feel free to comment and share your own ideas and suggestions below!