Let’s face it…One of the hardest parts of writing is getting started.
It’s all too easy to end up just sitting there, staring at a blank page or screen as a clock tics away in the background (because of course, the worst writer’s block always hits when you have a tight deadline).
Or writing and erasing until you give up, frustrated and stressed out. Because somehow, you can not come up with a single worthwhile thing to say.
Or finding something else (like checking emails, making phone calls or surfing the Web) to do.
Luckily, you’re not the first person to come down with a full-fledged case of writer’s block—or procrastinator syndrome.
Over the years, I’ve picked up a number of tricks you can use to get your writing juices flowing. And it’s a good thing. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to effective newsletters and marketing copy week after week.
So, without further ado, here are my eight favorite tricks for getting more writing done.
These days, we’re all programmed to be constantly accessible by email, cell phone, IM and more. But the reality is, no matter what line of work you are in most things can wait for at least 30 minutes. And if you really want to get your writing done, you need uninterrupted time to focus.
So put the Do Not Disturb sign on your door and turn off your cell phone. And don’t even think about checking your email (I promise you’ll survive ).
2)Set It In Stone
Don’t just say you are going to “write today”. That makes it far too easy to put off in favor of a coffee break, phone call or raking leaves. Instead, schedule time in your calendar.
Then, go one step farther and set a specific amount of time that you will write without stopping…say thirty minutes or an hour. Some folks find it helps to set an alarm. That way you are less tempted to constantly watch the clock.
3) Dangle a Carrot
Having trouble focusing? Try setting a reward for yourself like “When I finish the first draft, I’ll go out to lunch (or buy new shoes).” Or, “I’ll edit this one more time, then go for a walk.”
That way, you are motivated to get a certain amount of work done before taking a break. And, you get positive reinforcement for your accomplishments.
4) Get Away From It All
Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to spark fresh creative juices. Try going to a coffee shop, local park or library to get a new outlook. I’ve even found that just moving to the stand-up workstation in my office, sitting on the couch or lounging in my backyard can do the trick.
5) Be Your Own Library
You don’t have to come up with every idea yourself. Start collecting articles or ads from magazines, surfing the Web, and subscribing to a few newsletters. For a serious infusion of new ideas, try reasing a few titles or sites you wouldn’t normally check out.
Then jot down (or tear out and file) anything that seems interesting. Fun factoids and memorable quotes can give you inspiration, and also spice up your writing.
6) Get It Together
Your high school English teacher was right about one thing: outlines work. But if creating an outline sounds about as enticing as a root canal, you can get the same results by making a few short lists.
First, write down the key points or ideas you want to discuss. Then note any specific information that must be included (price, directions, contact info, guarantees, times, etc.). Now add any additional facts or quotes you know you want to include.
By the time you finish this, whatever you’re working on will be half-written. Then all you have to do is flesh it out.
7) Don’t Write
Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to talk about something than it is to write about it? If you said yes, consider buying an inexpensive digital recorder, or recording software and a headset for your computer. Then just say what you want to say, have it transcribed, and edit the transcripts to suit. Viola!
8) The Big Brain Dump
One of the best tricks, and one I use every time I put fingertips to keyboard, is the big brain dump. Instead of trying to get the words just right, write down everything and anything you can think of until you completely run out of ideas.
Ignore spelling and grammar mistakes. Write the same basic thing three different ways if you feel like it. And don’t worry about any of it being any good. Just write.
In fact, give yourself permission now for the first round to be total junk. Then you won’t feel the pressure of perfection.
Because buried in all the junk are sure to be a few pearls, or at least diamonds in the rough. So now you can go back and start editing. Remember, the beauty of writing—especially on a computer—is that you can edit your work quickly and easily.
With all these tricks at your disposal, you’ve got no more excuses. So silence your inner critic. Quit struggling with the first sentence. And start writing.
Practical Marketing Expert Stacy Karacostas is on a mission to end entrepreneurial overwhelm and burnout Discover how to grow a thriving, six-figure business—and still have life—by downloading your FREE copy of her “Success without Shackles Starter Kit” at http://www.TheUnchainedEntrepreneur.com
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