We’ve all been there before—stuck staring at a blank screen, a blinking cursor throbbing in time with our increasing pulse.
Public relations professionals are required daily to write all kinds of copy: communications plans, press releases, pitches, tweets, marketing materials, blog posts, memos, emails, newsletters, photo captions and more.
In fact, any PR practitioner will tell you that good writing—especially under the pressure of a deadline—is absolutely essential to their job.
So what happens when writer’s block plops down on your keyboard? It can hit at any time, usually when you’re already burned out. But take heart: You can power through writer’s block with a few simple tricks.
Try these techniques next time you’re struggling to and let the prose flow.
Go in reverse
Are you stuck on your opener? Write the last paragraph instead. Then, write the second to last,then third to last, and so forth, until the opening line takes shape.
Change the scenery
Do you usually write at your desk? Take your laptop to your kitchen table instead. A little change can go a long way.
Stuck on a particularly ornery turn of phrase? Can’t find a way to phrase a thought? Instead of writing it, speak it out loud. Speak into your phone’s voice recorder if you need to, and transcribe it later.
Just do it
Write about anything. Switch to another writing project. Write a diary about your day. Write about not being able to write. Just get the words flowing, and soon they’ll start moving in the right direction.
Look at the big picture
Organize your thoughts. Create an outline of your piece’s structure. Keep filling in details until you’ve got a path formulated in front of you. Then, just follow the road you’ve laid out for yourself.
Google Images to the rescue
Having trouble finding the right phrasing? Do a Google Image search for images related to your topic, and mentally or verbally describe them. That might help you develop a choice of words or engage some forgotten vocabulary.
Use your deadline to your advantage
Force yourself to write a paragraph every 10 minutes. Even if what you write is really awful, you’ll have written something, and that’s a starting point.
Do something active
Ride your bike, take a walk or go for a swim for half an hour. Getting the blood flowing will improve your cognitive function, and it just might get the ideas flowing too. If you don’t have that much time, just getting up from your desk and walking to the water fountain or doing 10 jumping jacks can help.
When it doubt, flowchart
If you don’t even know where to start, try mapping your ideas out visually. Draw a flowchart or word cloud to organize your thoughts and the touchpoints of your piece.
What’s your top tip for breaking out of writer’s block? Share it with us in the comments.