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Tackling Writer’s Block to Push Through a Deadline
By: Mike Bush
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As Flacks, we’ve all been there. It’s a situation we share with journalists. Maybe it’s a blog post we’re ghostwriting for a client. Perhaps it’s a press release about recent survey data. Maybe it’s a post for the Flack Me blog on Talent Zoo…

Regardless, we’ve all had that situation:

We’ve got a deadline, and we’ve come down with a case of writer’s block.

There are thousands of articles online about different types of writer’s block, and overcoming them, so I thought I’d highlight a few of the tips that have helped me get through.

Prepare in advance. Sure, it seems like cheating to say “do some pre-writing to make sure you don’t ever run out of subjects,” but it doesn’t have to be. Some of the best writers I’ve worked with will keep a notebook (or word file) with story ideas to be used at a later date. If they come up with a potentially interesting blog post, for example, they’ll write down the title or a paragraph, and leave it for another day. (I tend to use the “Save for Later” feature in Feedly in this very way).

As pointed out with regards to the second type of writer’s block discussed in io9’s take on this subject, “ideas are dime a dozen — but ideas that get your creative juices flowing are a lot rarer.” Having a list of ideas to work from can simplify the process and get you past your writer’s block.

Get a different perspective. We all have our routines. In my case, checking Feedly and Twitter first thing in the day tends to be the start of my morning. However, that doesn’t necessarily lead to voices or writing styles that are out of my comfort zone. Maybe that’s identifying an article in a journal that I should be aware of. Or a long-form journalism piece. Oftentimes, just reading something that breaks up the typical day can help you overcome writer’s block. As the future buzz says, “What helps more is to read content from people/subjects not in your field, as they see the world from a different perspective and will help you get inspired to write something unique.”

Move your location. Sometimes, our writing environment (a cubicle) can cramp our creative juices. While coworkers and freelancers might be more able to move to an entirely new venue like a coffee shop or park bench, even those of us working in a corporate office can find some solace in an available conference room.  As WIkiHow points out, it can be helpful to “Sit at a place where you feel comfortable, whether it's a coffee shop, or your room.”

Actually write the story. In third grade, I learned to write in cursive. Maybe “learned” is too strong a word, since my handwriting appears to be a mix of the alien markings you’d find in a corn field and ancient hieroglyphics. However, grabbing a pad of paper and pen tends to make it easier for me to get going. QuickandDirtyTips agrees with me (number 8): “You will be amazed at how much less anxious you become by occasionally going old school and using old tools: paper and pencil.”


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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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