One thing is for sure. Writing doesn’t come easy.
The cursor that won’t stop blinking. The blank page that makes you feel like you’re going snow-blind. The words that trickle out with maddening slowness. You want to scream.
Instead you dither. “I’ll write that blog post or newsletter later,” you say. But in an age where online marketing is so crucial to any business strategy, procrastination hurts. Not connecting with people your business could serve means lost revenue.
So what can you do to overcome costly inertia?
Understand why you’re stalling
For many, the thought of writing can induce enough fear that it causes paralysis. Psychology Today psychoanalyst Barry Michels says that people often experience dread at attempting something perceived as impossible or “inner opposition” toward anything that seems unpleasant.
He further suggests that individuals often feel a need to produce flawless writing from the outset. Sometimes this kind of perfectionism gets to be so intense that it results in full-blown writer’s block: a complete inability to write anything at all.
Sit, type, rinse and repeat
Get seated and start typing, making sure you have some quiet. It’s that simple —until you look at the words on your screen. “Awful,” you moan. Now you want to quit.
Don’t. Just because what you’re writing may be at odds with you intended to say, it doesn’t mean your efforts are futile. You could in fact be on the verge of a brand-defining breakthrough.
Remember that pros often feel exactly the way you do. The difference is they put the inner critic on mute and keep going.
Set a schedule, forget perfection
Before anything can happen, you’ll need to set a schedule and stick to it. Once you have words to work with, lower your standards. With rare exceptions, most first drafts — even those by the very best — are dross.
The gold lies in sifting through what you’ve written and finding interesting and/or unusual connections between what you see and what you thought you wanted to say.
As glamorless and unsexy as it sounds, revising is the way you put your own individual mark on ideas. And that’s what you want: to stand out for who you are and what your business does.
Enhance your “flow”
Even when you can sit down and write on a consistent basis, it’s still hard. So what can you do to make writing less of a bear?
Some people find that taking a walk or exercisng before writing gets the creative juices flowing. Others like reading a book or inspirational quotations or just taking pen to paper and writing whatever comes to mind.
Listening to music — my two favorites are jazz and indie acoustic — before and/or during a writing session can help put you in the right frame of mind. Scheduling breaks is good, too, so long as you know you’ll go back to your keyboard.
No matter how much of a beast writing may seem, it’s one that can be tamed. The important thing is to take action.
And keep those fingers moving.