A new look!
Time for spring, and a new, fresher look for this newsletter! Based on a design by Jeannette Modic, who also designed the Full Circle website, this newsletter still has the same goal: to share practical tips to improve your writing.
Email to suggest writing-related problems to cover in future issues. Also, feel free to republish or excerpt from this or past issues--just remember to respect copyrights and give
appropriate credit to the source. Thanks.
Overcoming writer's block
If you are struggling with a writing project, you're not alone. Gene Fowler once wrote, "Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank piece of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."
No blood-letting, especially when the piece is due, say, next Friday. Here are a few other techniques to help fill that blank piece of paper or computer screen:
- Set a slightly tight deadline: While a crunch causes carelessness, too much time leads to aimlessness.
- Break the project into pieces: Thinking about writing a 20-minute script or a 32-page report is scary. Setting a goal for the day to write the Introduction, or the section on [whatever] is less scary.
- Walk away: Not permanently. But take a short break to loosen up your ideas. Another technique that often works: Think of a part of the assignment that is causing problems before you go to bed. Sleep on it. You may wake up with your problem solved.
- Nip around the edges: Before you delve into the Big Ideas, or as a break from them, tackle some of the details that you'll need to deal with eventually -- the correct spelling of a name, the exact date, etc. It's like wetting your toes in the ocean before a total plunge.
- Talk to someone else: Check in with a colleague who is also involved in the project to test some of your ideas, make sure you understand the goals of the project, get yourself back on track. Or, if you are working alone, at least talk with someone else who understands what you're going through.
- Turn off your email and phone: Unless you have a pressing reason to be available, these distractions are too tempting. Next thing you know, you're forwarding bad jokes to your brother.
- Remember the word "draft": You are writing a draft that, in most cases, you will have another chance to revise and improve after receiving feedback. Do not let the quest for the perfect paralyze you from just...completing and submitting the darn thing.
Have you written a book or article? Do you have a communications-related blog or newsletter? I would love to share the information with others. Let me know what you have created. I'll write about it (and link to it) in another issue of this newsletter.