I was having a casual chat with some friends recently, and they mentioned how they found it difficult to write something about their product or artwork after completing it.
As a freelance writer for almost a year now, and a writer for a magazine and a lifestyle portal before that, I understand their predicament. And over time, I've developed handles for dealing with writer's block, mental inertia, and insecurities. Find them below, and I hope they are useful for you!
What I have personally applied - and found to be effective - in overcoming writing roadblocks:
- Take a break.
The article deadline is looming, or you just NEED to post something on your Instagram account today but you just can't find the words. The first thing I do when I feel like this is to push the work aside for at least half an hour. I do something that I enjoy instead - watching a comedy sitcom, getting some exercise in (I'm a barre addict!), or randomly scrolling through Instagram and Facebook. When break time is up, I'll return to my work again.
- Identify your key message.
What my editors have trained me to do is to always start with the end in mind: What is the USP of this product? Why exactly are these creatives worth reporting on? Do the same for your writing: What is the most important thing that you want to say to your readers? When you are clear in your message, your writing is clearer, and your readers will see it too.
- Re-visit your work.
Whenever I finish an article (oh, that sweet feeling of victory!), I turn my attention to other things, and come back to it after a few hours (or even a day later). Why? It helps me to look at my writing with fresh eyes, to spot typos or improve the flow, or notice areas where I have not adequately explained a concept or product.
- Trust your voice.
There have been so many times in my life that I've looked at a finished piece of writing and felt it was, well, crap. But after writing almost everyday for the past five years, I've grown to be more confident in my voice. I suppose it's like picking up a new skill: The more you practice it, the better you'll become. So when ugly insecurities rear their heads - when you feel like you have nothing of value to say, or that other people write so much better than you - silence them immediately and don't allow these to take root in you. Trust in yourself, and trust in what you have to say.
If you have any other tips to share, leave a comment below!
[Sidenote: The ultimate irony in writing this post is that just when I was finishing up my last point, my computer hung and everything got erased. So I had to write it all AGAIN. OH EM GEE!]