apprehension, cold feet, consternation, dismay,
distress, dread, fear, fright, horror,
nervousness, panic, scare, strain, stress,
tension, terror, trepidation, unease or
uneasiness: whatever it's called, you've got it.
And the reason is ...
you've got to write an article!
or 'writer's block' happens to all writers at
some point in their writing lives. It may be that
you don't know what to write about or, with your
topic firmly in place, you don't know where to
At this point,
procrastination sets in.
rather than actually writing, seems a whole lot
better than putting pen to paper or fingers to
the keyboard. Even walking the dog, in pouring
rain and gale-force winds, has higher priority!
Try some of
these ways to restore your writing equilibrium:
starting with a blank page. There's nothing more
daunting than beginning from nothing. Work with a
template. This will help you to stay focused on
your topic. Download and print out some
appropriate free graphic organizers from the
Internet or use graphic organizer software, like
NotateIt, that will help you to rearrange and
organise your thoughts in freestyle format.
your topic. Take some time out for creative
thinking with a friend or colleague. You'll get
some new twists on the theme, especially if
they're not 'experts' in your subject matter!
3. Write an
outline. Just set out a list of headings. They
don't even have to be in order - you can always
rearrange them later. Write each heading on a
separate card or piece of paper and shuffle the
result. A new order may emerge that you hadn't
thought of, giving you a new slant on your topic.
4. Use a
whiteboard. Fix a large magnetic whiteboard on
your wall and use it to rearrange your ideas. If
a whiteboard on the wall feels too intrusive, try
some inexpensive whiteboard software on your PC
5. Break your
task down into smaller chunks. From your outline,
choose one heading and write. Then go on to
another heading and write. It doesn't matter
which order you write in, because it can all be
rearranged later. Not only that, you're achieving
your larger goal in a series of smaller steps and
that makes it much more manageable.
6. Write in the
way that you speak. It's friendlier to read and
it's an easier and more natural way for you to
7. Don't worry
about perfection too soon. Spell checking,
indenting paragraphs, changing font size - this
is the icing on the cake. Just let your writing
flow and, just for once, forget the grammar.
Perfection can come later - at the redrafting
8. Think about
your readers in a different way. You may be
anxious that your article is not "good
enough" to be read by your peers. Remember,
even if your audience are "experts",
they don't know what you think about your
subject. Nor does it mean that they know
everything there is to know about a subject area.
Target your writing towards an intelligent,
enthusiastic, but non-expert, reader and your
writing confidence will grow.
completed your writing. This is your first draft.
The secret, now, is to redraft and redraft again.
You'd be surprised at just how many things you'll
want to say differently when the sun rises
tomorrow! Read your article once a day, make
changes then put it aside until the next day. In
a few days, you'll read your article and find
nothing to change. That's when you're ready to
10. Believe in
yourself. The first articles you write may not be
perfect but the more you write, the better your
style will become. It's like learning to walk -
all it takes is a little time and lots of
Blake is a UK freelance writer.
Resources used in preparing this article:
http://www.notateit.com Free Graphic Organizers: