When I’m not doing Zammerchatty things I’m trying to write creative things likes scripts and stories. Recently I’ve been prone to what is known as writer’s block.
Since deciding I have writer’s block, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering why this is, looking into ‘overcoming emotional barriers’ and partaking in numerous advised activities to get me over it.
However, the writing I do for myself isn’t the only creative writing I do. All the copywriting I do is creative, even the dull things. It all needs to be created, mused over and put into the right words.
Writing at work isn’t just limited to copywriters either. Most people have to write to persuade, describe, direct and inform in their everyday lives. So what happens when you get writer’s block at work?
Well, you don’t have two weeks to explore your spiritual barriers or spend hours ploughing through writing and creative thinking activities. You need to get over it quickly. A lot of writer’s block at work tends to be procrastination I find. It stems from something overwhelming or a task we don’t know how to tackle. So in this case writer’s block can simply mean putting off difficult tasks – which we all do.
But there’s more to writer’s block. We don’t just put off the task, we come back again and again and stare at the screen in frustration. We feel helpless in the face of words. We’re not just procrastinating, we’re unable. The more stressful it becomes, the less able we are to tackle it.
So what can you do when this happens at work?
Here is how I tend to cope…
- Decide on a time to start writing and stick to it. This can be difficult. In the past I have ended up missing my starting time and then going ‘oh well, I’ll do it another time.’ No excuses. If you don’t start on time you still have to start late. With writing at work you usually have deadlines, use these to motivate you – it HAS to be done.
- I trick my brain. Here’s my thought process - I don’t want to do this or I don’t know where to start – I’ll just write the intro, or I’ll just write down my ideas or I’ll just write down a structure outline. That not so hard, that’s all I’m doing today. Then I write the intro or whatever and hey, it’s not that bad, I’ll just do a little bit more. And then before I know it I’ve written half of it.
- Once you’ve tricked yourself into starting to write something, do a quick draft. The hardest part is getting started but once I’ve splurged all my info and ideas on a page and had a quick rearrange of the structure and a quick edit, I’m always surprised by how decent my quick first draft is. Once it’s all down in a semi coherent fashion, going through it slowly and methodically to get it right doesn’t seem so daunting.
- Reward yourself. I do this mentally, I get a deep sense of satisfaction by finishing a big piece of work. I allow myself to think I’m great for an afternoon. Some people I know reward themselves in other ways – chocolate bar, big lunch, early finish, 5 mins on YouTube. Whatever it is, make sure it works for you. Knowing you’ll get a reward at the end can be very motivational.
These are the things that work for me but there are many useful and practical tips out there. Take a look at these three (quick) blog posts to help you if you get stuck writing.