By Jack LaRue
I talk a lot about writing things - e-mails, firm brochures, websites, and the like. I talk about how they don't have to cost a lot and they often aren't difficult.
But the fact is, sometimes writing is difficult. A blank screen with its relentlessly flashing cursor can inspire fear in just about anyone. Even the celebrated Douglas Adams once said, "Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until your forehead bleeds."
That feeling is called writer's block. We all get it. The good news is, it's often curable. Here are some ways I've found to beat it:
Start in the middle. Or the end. Or anywhere else. Just make sure you start somewhere. Make an outline, a drawing, a headline, a desired goal. The key is to get past that blank screen. Once you do that, the rest will come more easily.
Don't edit as you write. Word processing software encourages the nasty habit of writing a few words, then endlessly tinkering to get them exactly right. Don't do this. Instead, write the whole thing at once.
Don't worry if it's not exactly right. You can go back and fix it later.
Set a deadline. This might seem counterintuitive, but it's often a very good motivational tool.
Break the project into pieces. Writing a whole website, for example, can be a very intimidating proposition. But writing a single web page? Much easier. Tomorrow, you'll write another. Before you know it, you'll have your website.
Work on something else for a while. Let's say you're working on a marketing campaign and you just can't seem to get started on the e-mail. Try putting it down for a while and picking up another piece.
Getting started is the hardest part. That's why the only solution is to just write something. Write anything. Once you've done that, you might find that you're fear-free and on your way to success.
About the author:
Jack LaRue is the senior vice president, myPay Solutions , at Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting.