The 3 Step Cure for Writer's Block

If you are a talented writer who occasionally cannot produce the quality or quantity of work you know you are capable of, you can easily get back on track by identifying which one of three essential activities may be holding you back.

2011.5.8 Karate Kid

1. Have a Visual Plan

Recently I was watching the film The Karate Kid.  While having viewed it more times than I care to mention, I have evidently seen it from the beginning only a few times because I barely recalled the scene where the karate kid is taught the art of bonsai by Mr. Miyagi.

Mr. Miyagi gave Daniel-san a bonsai tree and the proper pruning tools and just told him to get a clear picture in his mind and then start pruning. Daniel-san responded, "How do I know I can trust the picture?"

Here's what Mr Miyagi said: "If picture come from inside – always the right one."

Brilliant!

Writing is a process of sharing your unique perspective on a particular subject.  Your perspective is what is most relevant, and because only you can share what is uniquely yours, it has to be the right one. 

If you do not have a plan for what you want to convey to your readers then you cannot have a picture to accompany it.  You must have that picture – and you must trust it.

2. Trust Yourself and Your Reader

If you are writing for an online reader, such as in your blog, there are three audiences you are writing for:  you, your community, and the search engines.  

Writing for the search engines is a matter of awareness.  It only requires being mindful of keywords, links, and things of that nature.  Here's a comprehensive article I wrote on blogging that describes how some of the pros keep their work relevant for the search engines. 

The challenging part of writing in any form is trusting yourself and the reader. When you write well, everything just flows. That's because you are trusting your capabilities and that picture in your mind.

When you let doubt creep in you are not trusting your abilities. This is usually a result of not trusting your community to find your work valuable.  Just know that they will.  

3. Be Willing to Do the Work

Creating great content does not always come easy.  Writers know that writing well requires rewriting. Sometimes your best work comes at a point when you are willing to make the effort to start over.

The truth is you aren't starting over.  You are merely rewriting a piece with a different attitude and a great deal more knowledge about what didn't work.  

There is a flow to writing that you have to respect.  When you attempt to piece together separate paragraphs from work that you have previously written, you will often end up with a disconnected mess.  

A better approach is to just read and understand the material you plan to use and start from the beginning with renewed energy – trusting yourself to deliver.

Trust me.  You will.

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Until tomorrow,  Jeff

Photo Credit:  sakocreative

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