Getting Beyond Writer's Block

Here are eight tips to help you get past writer's block:
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Is there a "Right" way to write? In a word, "No."

What works for you does not necessarily work for another. Getting started is generally the first barrier to overcome. Most individuals get stuck and procrastinate when it comes to writing something longer than an e-mail. They don't want to look foolish or write anything that may be sub-par.

Joan Didion said, "I don't know what I'm thinking until I write about it.

She and others use the process of writing as a thinking tool. For me, getting ideas out of my head, where they may swirl around and never come to rest or onto paper, allows me to analyze my thoughts on a deeper level. Writing works for solving a simple problem or a complex business issue, or even remembering a grocery list!

Over the past eight years I have observed teams develop better ideas in Ideation sessions when they begin by writing answers to key questions. Participants capture their best thinking before the potential distraction that can follow during the discussion phase. They also are less likely to forget their thoughts while others have the floor.

Even better, if participants know how to activate the right brain and thereby capture the creative, independent thoughts originating from their "other" hemisphere, they will be able to contribute more original ideas. (For more information about this approach, based on a Nobel prize-winning discovery about hemispheric division in the brain, see previous blog piece on this topic).

Ideas are the special currency of the 21st century.

The race to produce more and better ideas is both qualitative and quantitative.

Here are eight tips to help you get past writer's block.


1>Practice. Like anything else, writing improves with practice. Re-writing enables you to practice more and become a better writer, and also improve thinking and expressing your thoughts.

2>Find an editor. When you first begin, you'll be reluctant to provide what you've written as you think it still needs some work. Guess what, you are probably right! An English teacher is a good place to start. Ask someone to look over what you've written and offer feedback before you seek to publish something important.

3>Habit. Find time in the week to get in the habit of writing something about your dreams and problems, even if it's only 15 minutes at a time.

4>Place. Choose some place you enjoy, conducive to thinking and writing, either with or without noise and distractions. Quiet happens to work better with me.

5>Exercise, Gym, Meditation. These activities make it easier to concentrate. Your body expunges anxious energy, subsequently allowing for better focusing after endorphins have kicked in.

6>Journal. Don't confuse writing in a journal with keeping a diary. Journals are for ideas, scribbling, notes, possibilities, and capturing what's swirling around in both hemispheres of the brain.

7>Thinking tool. It can be helpful to think about an upcoming meeting, idea, issue or topic by writing about it, getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper in advance of a planned meeting.

8>Schedule. If you can, give yourself the luxury of planning peak time(s) for yourself by setting aside 30 minutes or an hour when you are in top form to do your best thinking.

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