I don’t know what I want to write. And that’s preventing me from starting. I’ve put off writing my own business blog for weeks. And I write for a living. So, when the writer can’t write, how does the non-writer ever get off the starting blocks?!
And the funny thing is, I don’t believe in writer’s block. Years spent training and working as a journalist and editor taught me that when you need to write, you write. There are no divine interventions, no muses waiting to be found, no fairies at the bottom of the garden hiding the magic writing dust. Set a time to write each day and write.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve learned a few techniques to get over the hump of not being able to start writing. So, whether it’s a blog, LinkedIn article or just a Facebook post you’re trying to write, if you think you’re blocked up worse than a pig in truffle season – try these tips.
Time and space to write
Set a time to write and write. Don’t do the dishes. Don’t brush the dog. Don’t molest the postie. Just write. I start my working day by writing for half an hour. Every morning, after the round of coffee and cuddles with the menagerie, I come to the Little Pig Hut and write old skool style with a biro and notepad in a sort of journal/ diary type of way, just to get the old writing juices flowing and the rusty brain cogs gyrating.
The best technique I learned for starting writing came from a creative writing class I attended. It’s called Morning Pages and the idea is that you put pen to paper every morning and write three pages of whatever comes to mind. Even if you start with ‘I don’t know what to write’ (see what I did), and just keep writing that over and over until something else comes out. Something else inevitable comes out and you just keep going, don’t take your pen or fingers off the keyboard until you’ve written three pages. A blank page can be the enemy of creativity so just writing anything on it, means it’s no longer empty and you have something to amend.
I walk the dogs every morning in our local park and plan my writing for the day. So, if I already have a particular topic in mind or know the subject I want to write about, I break down the rest of the piece and roughly plan what I want each paragraph to say. Just a couple of words per paragraph is enough. Then when I get home, I sketch out that skeleton piece on my keyboard and start to fill in the space.
Keep writing until the end
No, not until the end of time. The end of what you’re trying to write. Keep writing your piece until you finish the first draft. Don’t stop to correct words or sentences or look up facts. If you know you need to come back to a point to check it, highlight it in yellow (other colours are available) and come back to it later. Stopping to correct and look up facts curtails the flow and chances are you’ll get lost down the wonderful and weird rabbit warren that is Google.
Mindset for writing
If you think you have writer’s block, you will have it. If you think you can write, you will. I’m no expert on psychology but I do know that we believe what we think and it usually comes true.
Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
So here I find myself at the bottom of a blog without needing the magic writing fairy to make an appearance. Hopefully these techniques will get you started with whatever it is that you’re trying to write today.
If you’re still not ready to start writing, let us do it for you. We write guest blog posts, business blog posts, press releases and more. Or write it and we’ll edit and proofread it for you.