Writer's block. It happens to the best of us. It's frustrating and can leave you feeling very unproductive but don’t lose hope because there is a way out!
In this article, I'll share with you how I beat the dreaded writer's block.
If you're struggling to make headway with a brand new article, start with some of the easier tasks such as: finding a cover photo, adding headings/placeholders, and starting a list of further reading resources.
It's amazing how starting out this way can give your article a shape from early on, and if you're like me, you'll get motivated and inspired in the process!
Who said you need to start a new article with full sentences. If you've committed to writing about a certain topic, chances are you know what main points you need to cover. Why not get these down quickly as bullet points or keywords, and let the sentences grow from these.
You can kill two birds with one stone here and plan the layout of your article with bullet points and headings.
This is something I figured out when I wrote my first piece for a non-scientist audience. I couldn't seem to get the wording right. Everything I wrote seemed either too simple or too complicated, and I was close to throwing in the towel. Then, I started to talk about the topic out loud, as if I was telling a non-scientist friend, and I got the idea to record myself. And what I came out with was much better than anything I’d written!
If you can stand to hear a recording of yourself, you might be surprised how much this strategy can help you.
If you've been sitting in front of your screen for an hour (or 3!) without writing a single word, or if you've written and deleted the same sentence 40 times, it's probably time to take a break! This could be a quick cuppa and 10 minutes away from your computer, or a walk around the block.
If you've been at your computer all day, chances are you need to shut down for the evening, and come back to it tomorrow with fresh eyes.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
This is useful if you have a rough draft and you don’t know where to go next. If your audience is a scientific one, ask a peer to go through your draft and jot down questions that come to them. This will help you to add in more detail if relevant, and to sharpen up the existing text.
Similarly, if your audience is a non-scientist member of the public, ask a friend or family member to have a look.
That was it for my top tips. What works for one may not work for another, and if you're still stuck for words after this article, I encourage you to ask around in your network. There is bound to be something out there that works for you.
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Image Credit: Drew Coffman