Most people can easily identify with the dreaded "writer'sblock". It is a well-known phenomenon that just abouteveryone has faced at one point in their lives.
I used to suffer from writer's block, big time! Thus, Iknow through personal anguish and suffering, that it isdefinitely not a pleasant experience.
Especially when the due date for one's project or paper isgetting closer by the day, and the boss asks you "how's thatproject going" every time you don't manage to avoid him/herwhen you're sneaking down the corridor.
WRITER'S BLOCK IS FEAR-BASED
Writer's block is a fear-based feeling. For whatever reason,many of us have this incredible fear of committing ourselvesin writing whenever we are faced with a blank page orcomputer screen.
Fear no longer! I'm here to tell you that writer's block canbe beaten!
Just realizing that writer's block is really an irrationalfear that keeps us from putting pen to paper is half thebattle. It's actually a fear of the unknown, often coupledwith a fear of failure.
We secretly wonder just what exactly is going to come outof this pen/keyboard, and when it does, will we be revealingsome kind of incompetent idiot who doesn't know what they'retalking about?
On the other hand, if we have done the proper preparation,our rational mind knows that we can do it just like we didit all of those other times before.
Unfortunately, fear often wins the day when it comes towriting.
As I stated above, I suffered from writer's block for manyyears and it was not the most enjoyable of experiences.
THE 7 SECRETS
Fortunately, somewhere along the way I did manage to developa few tricks to overcome writers block. Some are obvious,others are not.
Here are my personal hard-earned secrets for overcomingwriter's block:
1. Don't Write Too Soon
Before trying to write, it is important to prepare mentallyfor a few hours or days (depending on the size of the task)by mulling the writing project over in the back of yourmind. (Just as athletes don't like to peak too soon,writers shouldn't write too soon either!).
2. Do The Preparation
Read over whatever background material you have so that itis fresh in your mind. I read through all backgroundmaterial carefully marking important points with a yellowhi-liter and then review it all before I start to write.
3. Develop A Simple Outline
Before sitting down to write, put together a simple pointform list of all of the key points you want to cover, andthen organize them in the order in which you are going tocover them. (I know, I know... your Grade 6 teacher toldyou the same thing... but it actually does work).
4. Keep research Documents Close By
When you sit down to write, make sure that all of yourkey background materials are spread out close at hand.This will allow you to quickly refer to them withoutinterrupting the writing flow once you get going. I keepas many of the source documents as possible wide open,and within eyesight for quick and easy reference.
5. Just Start Writing
Yes, that's exactly what you do. Once you have preparedmentally and done your homework you are ready to write,even if your writer's block is saying "no". Just startwriting any old thing that comes to mind. Go with thenatural flow. In no time at all you will get into a rhythm,and the words will just keep on flowing.
6. Don't Worry About The First Draft
Once the words start to flow, don't worry about making itperfect the first time. Remember, it's your first draft.You will be able to revise it later. The critical thing atthe outset is to write those thoughts down as your minddictates them to you.
7. Work From An Example
Get an actual sample of the type of document that you needto write. It could be something that you wrote previously,or it could be something from an old working file, or aclipping from a magazine article, or a sales brochure youpicked up. As long as it is the same type of document thatyou are writing. Whatever it is, just post it up in yourline-of-sight while you are working. You'll be amazed athow it helps the words and ideas flow. The main thing is tohave an example to act as a sort of visual template.
In my experience this last one is the ultimate secret forovercoming writer's block.
To help with this, be on the lookout for good examples ofwriting that you may see in newspapers and magazines, andclip out the useful ones for future reference.
© 2005 by Shaun Fawcett
Shaun Fawcett, is webmaster of the popular writing help siteWritingHelp-Central.com. He is also the author of severalbest selling "writing toolkit" eBooks. All of his eBooks andhis internationally acclaimed f-r-e-e course, "Tips and TricksFor Writing Success" are available at his writing tools site:http://www.writinghelptools.com