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Hughes blog post: You can lead a man to a computer… but you can’t make him type!

20 January 2011    

Writer’s block is annoying. And as a junior PR consultant I fear I’ve been more prone to it than my senior colleagues. In fact I had it just a few moments ago when thinking about this post.

I’m sure you too have experienced it at some stage – it is an ongoing problem for writers young and old. There have been movies around it (Stranger than Fiction), there are plenty of tweets to help you avoid it (see @advicetowriters and @bookwritingtips) and if you type it in to Google it returns a search of 2,530,000 websites.

Most of the time, overcoming writer’s block is bit like getting all the green lights when you’re running late for work - it’s just not going to happen. In fact your writer’s block may be coming from deep rooted psychological trauma experienced during your childhood. If this is the case... I can’t help you.In all other scenarios I’ve found these tips to be the most useful:

  • Go for a walk around the block to clear your mind and start fresh. Perhaps stop for coffee on the way
  • Jot down the main points you want to make and build sentences around them
  • Accept that your first draft will be rubbish and move on. You can resume your perfectionist traits during the edit process
  • Staring at a blinking curser may be the problem. Try switching to ye olde pen and paper
  • Listen to music...or stop listening to music. Try both.
  • Reward yourself after meeting targets. i.e. ‘After I write 3 paragraphs I can check my Facebook!’
  • Switch between project to avoid getting stuck in a rut

If all else fails perhaps consider these words of wisdom from American poet William Stafford: “There’s no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.” – Perhaps that’s why I always get stuck :-)

If symptoms persist seek advice from your doctor. Good luck!

- Samantha Cain