Most people can easily identify with the dreaded "writer's
block". It is a well-known phenomenon that just about
everyone has faced at one point in their lives.
I used to suffer from writer's block, big time! Thus, I
know through personal anguish and suffering, that it is
definitely not a pleasant experience.
Especially when the due date for one's project or paper is
getting closer by the day, and the boss asks you "how's that
project going" every time you don't manage to avoid him/her
when you're sneaking down the corridor.
WRITER'S BLOCK IS FEAR-BASED
Writer's block is a fear-based feeling. For whatever reason,
many of us have this incredible fear of committing ourselves
in writing whenever we are faced with a blank page or
Fear no longer! I'm here to tell you that writer's block can
Just realizing that writer's block is really an irrational
fear that keeps us from putting pen to paper is half the
battle. It's actually a fear of the unknown, often coupled
with a fear of failure.
We secretly wonder just what exactly is going to come out
of this pen/keyboard, and when it does, will we be revealing
some kind of incompetent idiot who doesn't know what they're
On the other hand, if we have done the proper preparation,
our rational mind knows that we can do it just like we did
it all of those other times before.
Unfortunately, fear often wins the day when it comes to
As I stated above, I suffered from writer's block for many
years and it was not the most enjoyable of experiences.
THE 7 SECRETS
Fortunately, somewhere along the way I did manage to develop
a few tricks to overcome writers block. Some are obvious,
others are not.
Here are my personal hard-earned secrets for overcoming
1. Don't Write Too Soon
Before trying to write, it is important to prepare mentally
for a few hours or days (depending on the size of the task)
by mulling the writing project over in the back of your
mind. (Just as athletes don't like to peak too soon,
writers shouldn't write too soon either!).
2. Do The Preparation
Read over whatever background material you have so that it
is fresh in your mind. I read through all background
material carefully marking important points with a yellow
hi-liter and then review it all before I start to write.
3. Develop A Simple Outline
Before sitting down to write, put together a simple point
form list of all of the key points you want to cover, and
then organize them in the order in which you are going to
cover them. (I know, I know... your Grade 6 teacher told
you the same thing... but it actually does work).
4. Keep research Documents Close By
When you sit down to write, make sure that all of your
key background materials are spread out close at hand.
This will allow you to quickly refer to them without
interrupting the writing flow once you get going. I keep
as many of the source documents as possible wide open,
and within eyesight for quick and easy reference.
5. Just Start Writing
Yes, that's exactly what you do. Once you have prepared
mentally and done your homework you are ready to write,
even if your writer's block is saying "no". Just start
writing any old thing that comes to mind. Go with the
natural flow. In no time at all you will get into a rhythm,
and the words will just keep on flowing.
6. Don't Worry About The First Draft
Once the words start to flow, don't worry about making it
perfect the first time. Remember, it's your first draft.
You will be able to revise it later. The critical thing at
the outset is to write those thoughts down as your mind
dictates them to you.
7. Work From An Example
Get an actual sample of the type of document that you need
to write. It could be something that you wrote previously,
or it could be something from an old working file, or a
clipping from a magazine article, or a sales brochure you
picked up. As long as it is the same type of document that
you are writing. Whatever it is, just post it up in your
line-of-sight while you are working. You'll be amazed at
how it helps the words and ideas flow. The main thing is to
have an example to act as a sort of visual template.
In my experience this last one is the ultimate secret for
overcoming writer's block.
To help with this, be on the lookout for good examples of
writing that you may see in newspapers and magazines, and
clip out the useful ones for future reference.
? 2005 by Shaun Fawcett
Shaun Fawcett, is webmaster of the popular writing help site
WritingHelp-Central.com. He is also the author of several
best selling "writing toolkit" eBooks. All of his eBooks and
his internationally acclaimed f-r-e-e course, "Tips and Tricks
For Writing Success" are available at his writing tools site: