How many times have you started to write a report, an article or proposal but end up staring at your blank screen wondering where to get the words to type? I call this ‘writer’s block.’
In this PR industry, I am required to write a lot of material but sometimes, I just hit a wall and lose inspiration or motivation to finish. That is when I start procrastinating and decide to go on Facebook, browse through all the blogs, watch movies on YouTube and even start cleaning my room.
Before you know it, it’s 2 AM, deadline is 8 AM and the report is not even halfway done. Some tears, some unhealthy meals and a lot of coffee usually follows this mild panic attack.
Every time this happens to me, I always promise myself that it shall never happen again – “I shall be a responsible individual and avoid this unnecessary time wasting behavior. Whoever said “Actions speak louder than words” is very smart because somehow, 3 out of 5 times, the situation repeats itself and the same actions keep being done.
Writer’s block is very common and identifying what is stopping you from moving forward will also help you overcome it! Let us discuss how we can get through writer’s block by pointing out some common factors causing it.
There is an outline but you can’t seem to start writing. To be honest, some people can work with an outline and some people can’t. I feel like I work best with a very simple outline and then proceed to letting my ideas flow.
A complicated outline just confuses me! Find out which way works best with you, and you may realize that you work better without one. Don’t force it.
Worrying if it’s good or bad. We tend to be our hardest critics and this fear may be paralysing. Chances are your ideas are not as bad as you think. Keep writing and have a close friend review it and give you feedback. This gives you a chance to rewrite it till you are happy with it. Still doesn’t work?
Take a break and come back to it with a fresh mind – let’s just hope you haven’t spent too many hours on Facebook looking at pictures of Zari and Diamond in Uganda.
Too many ideas, not enough time Have you ever gotten so overwhelmed with too many choices that you decide to do nothing about it? You walk into a shop looking for sugar and you find 30 different brands.
Confused and irritated, you end up walking out without buying anything! Having too many ideas can be confusing. Create a list and strike out every idea that doesn’t jump out at you – don’t think to hard, just do it.
Over-editing. Don’t start editing till you are done. Just write and work towards finishing a first draft.
You can edit later, just allow your mind to flow so that you are moving forward and making progress. Insisting on a Perfect Draft Looking Perfection can definitely lead to writer’s block.
When you expect everything to come out at once, you put too much pressure on yourself and this may cause you to freeze. This can slow you down and waste a lot of valuable time. Just keep writing drafts until you get the right one.
Next time you see yourself starting to panic about meeting a deadline don’t give up, keep pushing and keep writing. Set a firm deadline and stick to it! That may sound easier than actually doing it but it will help you always be ahead of yourself.
Find ways to relax, stress less and focus more on the task, after a few tries you will find yourself making those deadlines in no time. “Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.” –
The author is young Tanzanian entrepreneur. Email – firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter – @studioredpr
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