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Nine Karate Moves to Crack Through Writer’s Block

We’ve all been there – stuck staring at a blank screen, a blinking cursor throbbing in time with our headache. Public relations professionals are called upon daily to write all kinds of documents: press releases, pitches, corporate communications, marketing materials, newsletters, photo captions, and more.

In fact, any PR practitioner will tell you that good writing – not to mention quick composition under deadline and effective crafting of messages – is absolutely essential to their job.

So what happens when writer’s block plops down on your keyboard? It can hit at any time, usually when you’re already a bit burned out. But take heart. You can power through writer’s block with a couple well-placed karate chops. Try a few of these techniques, and let the prose flow.

  • Are you stuck on your opener? Write the last paragraph instead. Then, write the second to last; and third to last; and so forth, until the opening line takes shape.
  • Change the scenery. Do you usually write at your desk? Take your laptop to your kitchen table instead.
  • Stuck on a particularly ornery turn of phrase? Can’t find a way to phrase a thought? Instead of writing it, speak it out loud. Speak into your phone’s voice recorder if you need to, and transcribe it later.
  • Just do it. Write about anything. Switch to another writing project, write a diary about your day, write about not being able to write. Just get the words moving, and soon they’ll start moving in the right direction.
  • Organize, organize, organize. Create an outline of your piece’s structure. Keep filling in details until you’ve got a path laid out in front of you – then, just follow the yellow brick road.
  • Having trouble finding the right phrasing? Here’s an exercise that can help. Do a Google Image search for images related to your topic, and mentally or verbally describe them. That might help you develop a turn of phrase or engage some forgotten vocabulary.
  • Use your deadline to your advantage. Force yourself to write a paragraph every ten minutes. Even if what you write is really awful, you’ll have written something, and that’s a starting point.
  • Do something active – ride your bike, take a walk, go for a swim – for half an hour. Getting the blood flowing is shown to improve cognitive function, and it just might get the ideas flowing too.
  • If you don’t even know where to start, try mapping your ideas out visually. Draw a flowchart or word cloud to organize your thoughts and the touchpoints of your piece.

 

What’s your top tip for breaking out of writer’s block? Share it in the comments.

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