Three tactics communicators can use to beat writer's block
It’s that pitch that you’re about to send that just doesn’t feel right.
Or the one word you’re missing in your clincher headline that you can’t seem to find.
Or even that final sentence in your article that just doesn’t seal the deal.
Sound familiar? You’ve probably been there- I sure have. It’s that rip-out-your-hair, want-to-scream-out-the-window, I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-my-life feeling that always gets to us. And if you care about your pitch, headlines, and copy as much as the next person, it really gets to you.
It's called writer's block.
So how do you fix it? You can’t just give up.
1. Walk Away
Seriously, get up from your chair and leave your computer. Many times if I’m struggling with a headline or not sure what direction to take a post, I’ll move onto another task. I might even switch gears entirely and go run an errand to reset my focus. Working out is another great way to refresh your mind, especially if you’re stressed out! Whatever activity it is that can temporarily get your mind out of that rut, go do it!
That extra time you take to walk away will pay you back big time when you come back to your computer with the right idea. I regularly use a handy app on my iPhone called Captio where I can write a quick note to myself that then emails itself right to my inbox so I can pick up the idea when I get back to my desk.
2. Look For Inspiration Elsewhere
With so much other content out there today, it’s easy to check out a few similar blog posts, headlines or pitch ideas that are available on the web to get new ideas. Maybe another author uses a word you feel fits your message well. Or perhaps they inserted some quirky personality that you like too, so you feel inspired to add some personality to your copy.
Many times before I write a new piece of content, I’ll look for that inspiration, whether it be in emails I’ve received from other companies and saved in a dedicated Gmail folder, or in my Feedly account filled with blogs and bloggers I admire. I’ll look for those fresh ideas that can inspire me to create my own unique take on the content I’m about to write.
3. Talk It Out
This can be done two ways: saying what you’re trying to write out loud to yourself or talking to another person about it. It’s amazing how much clarity you can gain just by speaking the words you’re writing or thinking about in your head. And after reading the headline you were just struggling with, or the pitch you were about to send, you might say “What?!” after you say it out loud or to someone else. I like to call this “keeping it real”.
All is well to keep some ideas in your head and in your digital space, but actually speaking them out loud can bring so much reality to the issue and you might easily see where you need to fix or improve upon something.
Many times the best ideas will come to you at the oddest times, even when doing non-work related things like errands and workouts. So the next time you’re stuck in a situation like this on the job, know that you can just walk away, look for external inspiration, and “keep it real.” It’s your job as a PR pro to write the most compelling stories and pitches, so ensuring you’re taking care to do that, even if you need to take a break to reset your mind, will go miles towards your success.
Do you use some other tactics to help you work through situations like this? Share your tips in the comments below!
Kristin Dziadul is the Founder of KDMedia, a digital marketing firm in Boston. She began her career in as the Marketing Analyst for Backupify and then went on to become a part of the Developer Relations team at Crashlytics which was acquired by Twitter. She is passionate about digital communications strategy, community management, social media marketing, and blogging. Outside of work, she loves to run, cook, and watch the Boston Bruins.
Photo: Crumpled paper via Shutterstock