We’ve all been there, staring at a blank document or sheet of paper, trying to get started writing a blog, essay or a report. It’s one of the most frustrating feelings, and when pressed up against deadlines, the anxiety to produce increases. Over the last few months, I’ve been writing, researching, blogging quite a bit on GovLoop, and thought I would take some time to share some of my tricks to fight through writers block, and keep positive energy flowing.
1. Start by taking a walk
The GovLoop office is right around the corner from the White House. I've randomly left my desk and walked around the block, thinking about the subject I am writing about and having a conversation with myself. Sounds crazy, but it really works. Don’t bring your phone or anything that may distract you, take the time just to think about the subject you are writing on how to get through writers block.
2. Change up the Scenery.
Try changing up your location. I've sat in a conference room, gone to coffee shops - sometimes just being somewhere new helps you get started again. On walks, I’ve also sometimes carried a notepad and sat down to jot down ideas.
3. Talk it out.
Ask your co-worker if you can just talk about it. Sometimes I've found myself sitting and struggling, ask a simple question to a coworker, and then writing is way easier. Engaging in conversations has been critical to me to keep up energy.
4. Write About Something Unrelated
For me, blogging is all about rhythm. Sometimes you get into a rut where you can't get posts out as quick as you would like. When this happens, start by building up your confidence. Write something you know a lot about and comes easy to you. I've written quick poems, jotted down family stories, just getting something down on paper helps get everything rolling again. I’ve also read through my old posts if I am writing on a similar topic. If you have written a lot of posts, a good trick is to reference back to previous posts you have written. It’s good to either drive some traffic back to an old post, and also just as a solid starting point to help get ideas flowing.
5. Draw a picture
As much as I blog and write, my first instinct is to always draw a picture. I've drawn bizarre pictures of cloud computing, citizen engagement, organizational charts, mentoring, I’ve found it works for me. I've also found this to help me in storytelling, it's just the way my brain operates.
6. Keep a running list of ideas & outlines
Anytime you think of an idea, just throw it into a Google Doc and make some bullet points. Down the road it will help if you are really stuck on a topic. The best scenario is if you are able to write a few "stock" posts that you can use at a later date. I've done this lately and it really helps me, so rather than writing, I am editing. If you find yourself in a hot streak, try out writing a few extra posts and take advantage that you are in a creative peak.
The creative process has a certain rhythm to it, as you continue to write, draw, design, you begin to realize what your rhythm is and how you operate. Take some time to think about what works best for you, and what your style is. Those are just some strategies that I have used, and would love to hear some of yours.
How do you fight through writers block? What are you strategies to improve the creative process?
This post is brought to you by the GovLoop Communications & Citizen Engagement Council. The mission of this council is to provide you with information and resources to help improve government. Visit the GovLoop Communications and Citizen Engagement Council to learn more.