Overcoming Writer’s Block

main.jpgI don’t always do very well when people tell to me write/speak on something. Someone will tell me that I need to write a blog post or speak at a conference. But then that’s all I usually get—no topic ideas or anything. Suddenly my mind goes blank, and it’s suddenly as though I don’t have any expertise or experience with anything in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Seriously, it’s an empty slate. And then I wrack my brain for hours or days trying to figure out what on earth I could possibly talk to anyone about and have it be interesting enough to read… so basically battling a serious bout of imposter syndrome.

However, there are some advantages of fretting about what on earth to write/speak on and procrastinating, including the opportunity to:

  • Super clean your apartment
  • Organize shelves and closets
  • Create a spotless bathroom
  • Wash and fold the laundry
  • Sort the junk mail pile
  • Research those contacts I’ve been thinking of buying
  • Donate five bags of stuff to Goodwill (from all that cleaning and organizing) 

Does anyone else get a TON of stuff done when they have big looming projects hanging over their heads (that has nothing to do with the project)? No, just me? That’s fine.

So when I finally made myself sit down and think, I brainstormed five tips for beating that writer’s block (or presenter’s block... but you still have to write what you’re going to say):

  • Switch up where you’re working. Maybe you need to work outside on a patio somewhere for a little bit, or at least sit by a window. Maybe you just need to jog or bike or walk around for a bit to clear your head before you go back to your presentation.
  • Find a way to tie-in something you love. Have you seen this amazing post about X-Men and Nonprofits? I used my excitement about the Avengers movie to talk about CRMs. Seriously guys, everything can be connected.
  • Remember that you are an awesome individual with talents and skills. You were hired for your job for a reason, and just because the things you do seem routine or easy/uninteresting, doesn’t mean that it is for other people! Do people compliment your awesome infographics and say how jealous they are, but you just make them in powerpoint? BOOM, topic.
  • Make a list. Just start listing any possible idea that comes to mind. Things you like, things you do for work, etc. Once you have a good list going, comb through and find things you can tie together into a solid writing piece.
  • Here’s a novel idea: Ask the person who volunteered/asked you to do said thing for some ideas. That is a totally legit and fair thing to ask about.

Or you could cop-out and write about how you don’t know what to write about. Not that I know anyone who would do that… 

Here is an article on overcoming writer’s block that has some good tips as well, but it also has five great anti-tips that I’ll share here as well. Please note: I’ve tried them all, and they do indeed not work for overcoming writer’s block. 

How to not overcome writer’s block

And just for fun, here are some anti-solutions to this problem:

  • You do not overcome writer’s block by refusing to write until you feel “inspired.”
  • You do not overcome writer’s block by wallowing in self-pity.
  • You do not overcome writer’s block by procrastinating or making excuses.
  • You do not overcome writer’s block by watching TV.
  • You do not overcome writer’s block by reading articles on how to overcome writer’s block. (Kinda shot myself in the foot there, huh?)”

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