So you have to deliver an article to a client by the end of the day. You have blocked out four hours to do it – should be plenty, right? Wrong, it’s one of those days where your vocabulary has inexplicably halved and you couldn’t form a coherent sentence if your life depended on it! Writer’s block is pretty common in PR, especially when deadlines are looming and you are up against the wall. What to do? Here are some strategies that might help:
1. Plan it
We get so used to writing off the cuff that we forget how useful a plan can be! Go back to basics and ask yourself (out loud if necessary) what you are trying to achieve with this piece, who will be reading it and what would benefit them the most.
2. Talk about it
Stumped for ideas? Still got that last client meeting in your head and having trouble switching gears? Grab a colleague, phone a friend, chat about it. Even if you’re a sole trader, find someone willing to listen because even the smallest of comments from another person’s perspective (sometimes even just verbalising it out loud) is often enough to get those creative juices flowing again!
Do what you need to do to be able to focus. It sounds crazy but I can’t write if I have hunger nagging at me. Figure out what you are preoccupied with (get a cup of tea, make that pressing phone call, write a ‘to do’ list for later) and then allocate a short (yes short) amount of time to resolving distracting issues. It’s easy to get carried away and keep finding other supposedly more important things to do, so try not to fall into that trap – but do remove the source of your irritation if you can.
4. Write something – anything!
If you ideas are just not translating into a beautiful piece of copy, don’t stress, just write it down anyway. Maybe you will end up with a page full of rubbish but at least your concepts are recorded, then you can concentrate on addressing style! Sometimes this ‘one thing at a time’ approach is what it takes to get the job done.
5. Bin your work
That said, don’t waste time labouring over rubbish –if you are really unhappy with how your piece is taking shape it can sometimes help to screw it up and flick it in the bin! Starting afresh might just jump start a whole new approach to writing that works!