The Writer’s Block Remedy

Girl with writer's block

I wish curing writer’s block was as easy as grabbing a prescription from the pharmacy.

What’s a girl (or guy) to do when the creative juices won’t flow?

Unfortunately, writer’s block is something that comes and goes at its leisure. Although I would love to chase it and beat it down with a stick, I ‘ve learned not to fight it. Writer’s block tells my brain to take a break and naturally allows me to find inspiration. There are times when I write and my fingers tap like they’re on speed, but then there are times where I’ve got nothing. During those times when nothing comes to mind, there are a few actions I take.

-Freewrite: Sometimes writer’s block comes because you’re putting too much pressure on the project. I love freewriting because you just write with no ending goal. Run on sentences, fragments, and misspelled words are welcomed.

-Listen to Music: Music is a great relaxer. Most of time when I’m writing, I’m also listening to music. You may hear a line from a song and find inspiration there. The song may remind you of a certain memory in your life which may spark a lot of ideas. Next time your brain is stuck in a rut, turn on the Pandora.

-Take a Break: Sometimes all you need to do is nothing. Forgetting all about the assignment and letting your mind stray can be a good thing. Stop what you’re doing, and temporarily let it go .

Jon Morrow offers 27 Wacky Ways to Beat Writer’s Block. It’s definitely worth the read.

Advertisements

The Reason Why You Can’t Write

 

Imperfection

I’m a Freelance Writer, but aren’t we all? While I would love to think my profession is exclusive and only open to some, it’s open to everyone. Even you! You have the ability to write, but the reason you can’t write is because you’re seeking perfection. There is nothing wrong with perfection, but this is a major barrier for people who want to start writing. It use to be a huge barrier for me.

Perfection happens after you start. Perfection happens after you practice. Perfection happens after you become willing to learn.

Businesses, building structures, and novels start as a draft. Before it’s a draft, it is an idea. There is so much pressure out there about the importance of content and content marketing causing us to forget what’s really important. If you want to write, my advice to you is to just start. Let go of the perfection concept long enough to get 300 words on the paper.

Beware of the Dog Puppies

dogpuppies

Are you absolutely certain that you want to enter in to this blog post at the present time?

I spy dog puppies in the above statement. Do You?

It may be helpful if I actually explain the meaning of dog puppies. A dog puppy is a redundant phrase because it contains words that have similar meaning. My college professor would be happy to know that I paid attention to these lessons. And, I must say that my Public Relations and Journalism classes at University of Houston really paid off. Go Coogs!

Ok, back to the dog puppies. A lot of people are redundant to sound more educated or to feel up space, but it is not attractive. A few years ago, I became more aware of my writing style. I trained myself to be more concise, and to eliminate dog puppies from my work.

In order for you to avoid this writing crime, here is a list of common dog puppies.

Add an additional

close proximity

consensus of opinion

end result

enter in

final outcome

free gift

unexpected surprise

plan ahead

past history

forever and ever

revert back

7 am in the morning

Remember: Dog puppies belong in your back yard, not in your writing!

Four Questions to Ask Yourself

communication process

When you drive to an unknown location, do you use a map or GPS device? I don’t know about you, but it’s difficult for me to figure out where I’m going without looking at directions BEFORE I start my journey. Similar to driving, I apply the same concept when writing. It’s all about preparation and direction. Before you write another essay, blog or e-newsletter, there are four questions you should ask yourself. These four questions were introduced to me by a great professor, and they have been my guide to writing great content.

What is your purpose?

There is purpose behind everything we do. Why are you writing the blog? What is your intended outcome? My purpose for writing “Four Questions to Ask Yourself” is to suggest an effective writing method to others.

Who is the audience?

Once you know your audience, you can structure your content to relate to their interests, wants, and emotions. The audience for my business is small business owners. When I created the content for my homepage, I included “I’m an entrepreneur, writer and social media manager dedicated to helping small businesses turn up the volume in the noisy online world. You can trust me to take care of your business as if it was my own!” If I was targeting busy moms or large brands, I may have went in a different direction.

What is the medium?

How is your content being delivered? Is it a book, website, newspaper, magazine, eBook or e-newsletter. Smashing Magazine does a great job of explaining the importance of mediums in the article The Medium is The Message.

What is the message?

What message do you want to get across to your audience? You have to make sure that you get the intended message across without any confusion. If you use jargon your audience won’t understand, they may miss the entire message. A message is only successful when the sender and receiver perceive it the same way.

Take a look at this LinkedIn article Want to Be Taken Seriously? Become a Better Writer.

I know that we’re all pressed for time, but this method shouldn’t add more than 5 minutes to your writing process. Let me know if you try it!

9 Ways to Become a Better Writer!

Can I tell you a secret?

I wasn’t always in love with writing. Similar to a relationship, once we became familiar and learned to coexist, we’ve been able to live happily ever after. Of course, I can’t take all the credit for this divine union. I was lucky enough to have great teachers who influenced my writing skills. Through the years, I’ve used the following 9 methods to become a better writer.

Sleep on it: I understand that time is money, but don’t be in a rush to complete every single publication. By letting your article sit overnight, you recharge your creative juices, wake up with new thoughts,and a fresh pair of eyes.

Proofread: It’s imperative to proofread. Nobody likes run on sentences and misspelled words. Proofreading gives you credibility, and it makes your paper look a whole lot better. Read it three times, and read it backwards. You can never over proofread.

Ask yourself four questions: What is the purpose? What is the medium? Who is my audience? What is my message? Being unaware of  your purpose before you write is like driving without a destination.

Read: The best writers are the best readers. Reading opens you up to new vocabulary and ideas. Make it a goal to read something once a day. It can be a short article or a blog. The only rule is: it has to be written by someone else.

Freewrite: Create now. Organize later. Your writing does not have to be perfect (at least not the first time). Brainstorm with original thoughts to work into your final draft. Sometimes no structure produces the best results.

Share with a friend: Friends don’t let friends publish bad work! Let a friend or coworker be your test audience, and accept criticism from those around you.

-Practice, Practice, Practice: Like the cliche says, “practice makes perfect.” Michael Jordan didn’t become the best by sitting on the bench. There will always be something to write about. Exercise your writing muscle as often as you can.

Change your environment: I’ve been contemplating taking a creative vacation. Maybe a cabin in the woods, a hotel at a resort, or beach house. If that doesn’t work I know my local Starbucks would do the trick. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery to enhance creativity and inspire new ideas.

KISS, (Keep It Simple Stupid): So, you know a lot of sophisticated words? Your readers shouldn’t have to depend on a dictionary or thesaurus to understand your article. Use laymen terms and avoid jargon. Simplicity beats out complexity everytime.

There are so many resources available to help you strengthen your writing skills. Subscribe to Copyblogger  or visit the Purdue OWL Writing Lab.