For writers, there is nothing worse than sitting down to your computer and watching the cursor blink for more than an hour because you are at a loss for words. Eventually an idea may cross your mind, but you find yourself in a vicious cycle of starting the first sentence, deleting what you type, then starting and deleting again.
Sound familiar? Whether you write on a daily basis or infrequently, you have probably experienced writer’s block at some point.
According to Purdue OWL, writer’s block can occur for a number of reasons: lack of preparation, boring topic, or anxiety but, most commonly, because writers are self-conscious about their writing abilities.
For the purpose of this blog, I am going to address the last possibility – the writers who are self-conscious about their writing abilities. In the business world, it can be especially easy to doubt your writing abilities. For one, there is pressure to meet deadlines and you are expected to write at a quality level. There is also pressure knowing that your work will be ready by people at your organization before it can be approved and moved to publishing.
Unfortunately, writer’s block is one of those things that cannot be controlled and your confidence in writing – once you’ve overcome writer’s block – can decrease even more. Recognizing this, we have listed some suggestions below that will hopefully help improve your writing, self-confidence, and decrease the occurrence of writer’s block.
1) Just write: Often, in a business setting, we get caught up making sure every sentence is perfect before moving on to the next one. One of the keys to successful writing is to just start typing and get all of your thoughts out on the page – you are going to edit anyway, so you might as well wait until you finish writing.
2) Listen to music: Did you ever hear of the saying, “music sparks the creative mind?” Try listening to music (fast tempo, slow tempo, classical) when you are trying to type. It can be distracting for some, but for others it helps them focus on what they are writing – less likely to be distracted by the outside environment.
3) Don’t worry about specifics: First, focus on getting your general ideas written down – then you can worry about the specifics. According to CopyBlogger, short, clear and concise writing is a reader’s “heaven.” The longer you write, the less likely readers are to finish the article.
4) Love the number three: If you have been writing in the business world for a while, you have probably heard your boss or editor tell you to use three examples to support your topic as the body of the paper – no more and no less. Why? Readers tend to call information more easily if it is presented in threes.
So the next time you are trying to write something and find yourself struggling to write the first word, pull out your headphones, pick a snazzy tune and try out a few of these tips. See if you can’t get your fingers moving along the keyboard in no time.