I guess I’m lucky, but I haven’t had writer’s block for a long time. When I think of something to write, I just write it.
But that isn’t true for many of the people I work with.
A current client, “Rhonda,” is really struggling with an article right now. I’m giving her a lot of support, and she’s getting there, but it’s not easy.
The biggest thing that’s slowing her down is a set of fearful beliefs that keep popping up as she writes. She wrote me:
“My challenge is that I see so many options and possibilities and to put something on paper means that I am choosing one path over another – but what about this path or that? How can I let this one go if I choose that one? The feeling is fear. I’m so afraid to make the wrong choice that I get paralyzed.”
As a result, she procrastinates, backing herself into a corner and making poor choices that only reinforce her fear of choosing.
“That drives my indecision and slows my progress.”
Perhaps you share some of “Rhonda’s” feelings. Beliefs such as, “I have to write it perfectly, nobody will read it anyway, and, I’m just not a good writer.” These all contribute to massive writer’s block.
Realizing what your internal blocks are is an important step to getting your marketing unstuck.
When you realize you get stuck mainly because of “head stuff” not an external circumstance, you can work on patiently questioning or challenging those beliefs until they don’t have such a hold on you anymore.
But it’s also important to develop successful writing habits that make writing a whole lot easier. Here are some I’ve learned over the years that have made writing easier for me and for my clients.
1. Write something every single week for your business. The more you do anything, the easier it gets. The most obvious piece is an article for your eZine or an article on LinkedIn or other online publication.
2. Try to pick the same day each week to write. I’ve been writing this ezine for 18 years on Mondays. It’s become so habitual that it’s hard NOT to write it!
3. Generally best to write earlier in the day, before other projects take on their own momentum. I also rarely book client appointments on Monday so the writing doesn’t get bumped.
4. Write fast and edit slow. I’ll usually do the first draft of a 600-750 word article in about an hour. I don’t stop to think, second-guess, or worry if it’s good enough. Then I edit it several times from top to bottom and keep fine-tuning it until it’s done.
5. Know that the easiest articles are “tips articles” like this one. They all include an introduction and then several tips, steps or ideas that are useful to the reader.
6. Wrap up with a summary or closing points and often a call-to-action. Remember, you want your articles to be useful and actionable, not just a collection of good ideas.
7. Run it past an editor. It seems that no matter how carefully I write and self-edit, she always finds something to improve, from grammar to word choice (thanks, Daphne Gray Grant).
8. Another thing to consider is to start your article with a story or a vignette of working with a client. This grabs interest faster as stories are more emotional and therefore connect with both mind and heart. And it also makes the article more memorable.
By following as many of these steps as you can, your writing will become habitual, thus easier. Don’t worry about writing a masterpiece every time; you won’t. First, write to contribute some solid value to your readers. Second, write for clarity. Third, write for memorability, that is, do what you can to make the article more interesting and engaging.
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