Although sleeping during work hours is frowned upon, I do make excuses for my CSO, which stands for Chief Security Officer or – more accurately — Charlie Sleeping Often.
But it’s really bad if your own writing – or lack thereof — is putting you to sleep. You stare at a blank screen, the blinking cursor alternately mocking you and hypnotizing you. You wait for a wave of creativity to hit, but a tide of sleepiness rolls in instead.
Writer’s block happens to everyone. The question is how do you combat it?
Here are a few tips that help me when I have difficulty writing. The advice varies depending on what type of communication you’re working on:
- Just start writing – Don’t wait for divine inspiration. If you start writing, chances are you will gain momentum and find your groove.
- Get organized – If you’re working on a long document, don’t just wing it. Create a simple outline – not the three-page detailed outline you had to do in school. Identify your three to five critical sections/messages. Then look through your background material and highlight what you want to include and which section it falls under. This organization will make your document come together much more quickly.
- Walk away — Sometimes procrastination is the better part of valor. Staring at a blank computer screen isn’t productive. If you’re working on something creative and nothing is coming to you, it’s good to clear your head. Get some exercise. Work on something else. Get inspired by reading something from one of your favorite authors – could be a classic, a presidential speechwriter or great advertising campaign. There are some days when you aren’t going to be creative. Don’t force it.