Small business owners have a lot of writing to do. Keeping up with writing for social media, blog posts, books or client presentations can be one of the most challenging things to do effectively. Here are a few ways to cast aside your writer's block and write more prolifically.
1. Block your time: Writing is all about flow. It's very difficult to shift back and forth between writing and other tasks. So, chunk out several hour chunks on your calendar for writing and even consider moving locations (to a more comfortable chair or to a balcony with a great view, if available). Also turn off email and minimize other distractions. Then, write as much as you can during that period.
This is how I write the majority of my blog posts and how I wrote the majority of my book, The Entrepreneur Equation. It's a bit difficult to get started, but once you do, keep going until you can get as much writing accomplished as possible.
2. Bullet point your outline: As you come up with topics for blogs, chapters and messages for a book or takeaways for a client report, keep them logged on paper (a notepad or on your computer, whatever your preferred method is). Then, for each topic, write down a list of bullet points for the key points that you want to make in support of the main topic. It's much easier to write explanatory sentences once you have the main themes and issues sorted out.
For this blog, I had written down the topic and then added the 5 key points underneath in my list, so when I was ready to write it during my chunked time, I had the meat sorted out and just needed to fill-in the detail around it.
3. Use your mouth to write: There are some people who are phenomenal story tellers when they speak, but have difficulty translating that to written form. If you prefer to tell the stories verbally, then do that. Get a dictation software (there is a free one that comes with most Windows-based computers or you can look into something like Dragon Naturally Speaking or other Dragon dictation software). Or, have someone interview you and record it, and have the results transcribed.
Once you have the transcript of what you have said, you can edit it into a final product. This approach can help those who prefer to speak get a significant amount of content out in a short period of time.
4. Function trumps form: When you start to write, just write. Put down on the paper anything and everything you can think of to support your message. Then, go back and move sentences around, restate them and do additional editing. If you focus too much on the form of the piece, such as what should come first, how I should order the information, etc., you may never get to the content. Focus on the content first.
5. Use a lifeline: Finally, a great way to generate new content is by shifting from content creator to curator. That's right; find others with great information, stories and examples and let them submit it to you. Think of it as crowd-sourced content. You can then arrange that content, add an introduction and final takeaway and have a great piece of work without bearing the burden of the bulk of the writing yourself.