Content strategy, content development, content marketing… What is the common denominator here? CONTENT. Content is king, and you or your team may be largely responsible for generating a significant amount of content.
So, what to do when the words just won’t come? Here are some tried-and-true, strategic tips to keep on hand for the next time writer’s block rears its miserable, monstrous head.
- Create a content outline. Let your outline be your guide. Starting with an outline provides a huge benefit to writers, forcing you to sketch out your pages before writing begins. It’s a great exercise to review your notes and information, gather your thoughts and come up with a strategic game plan. With a content outline in place before you get going, writer’s block may become a thing of the past.
- Write something, write anything. Start writing for a set period of time and don’t stop – keep typing. When time is up, walk away from it for a while. When you revisit that content, it might not be ideal, but you will have something to work with, and there will probably be at least a sentence or two that can be salvaged or iterated into something better.
- Revisit your research. Or, go back to the drawing board. Take another look at your notes, and consider a different angle or approach. See what needs to be said and come up with alternative ways to say it. One should stand out as better, or more interesting than the others, and then you can move forward in that direction.
- Reflect on your reader. Stop and think about who is going to be reading your content, and what they really want in terms of their experience. If nothing else, re-focusing your attention may provide a much-needed moment of reflection. Put the focus squarely where it should be, on your audience, and make sure that you are speaking their language. Our healthcare writers know to look at forums, Facebook pages and other sites to get a sense of the types of questions patients have, and the information they find most valuable. Stepping into your readers’ shoes is a great way to overcome writer’s block.
- When all else fails, step away from the computer.Tips to overcome writer’s block inevitably include a similar suggestion – and that is because it usually does help. Get up and run around your house, play with your dog, put on a favorite song, walk around the block, do some stretching – move your body and rest your brain. Even with a looming deadline, taking 5 minutes to recharge the batteries usually does do a body, and a brain, good.
What are your favorite techniques for moving past writer’s block?