12 most smart strategies to stop your writing woes

You’re staring at a blank page with nary a word to say, but your deadline looms. It’s OK, we’ve all been there. Here are some quick ways to get the words flowing.

We can’t always predict how long something will take, but that’s not an excuse to discontinue doing what we love.

I love to write. That’s why it’s important to me to have an outlet to do so when I find the time.

Here are 12 activities that will help you write faster when your time is limited:

1. Take notes.

Not everything you write needs to be the length of an essay. Jot down quick notes during the day. I use Dropbox as a personal secretary that takes down all my memos.

2. Keep a journal.

Keep a journal on you at all times. Every time my plane is delayed you’ll see me writing in my diary. I never pack it; I prefer to write about my surroundings and feelings as they happen.

3. Record your thoughts.

Speaking your thoughts out loud doesn’t really count as writing. The trick is to go back over these messages at a later date and write them down. I find I can speak as quickly as I think.

4. Write for one minute.

I used to run writing drills when I was in college. I challenged myself to see what I could write in one minute. You can do this activity during a work break.

5. Use writing prompts.

Write down one-sentence writing prompts on slips of paper, and put them in a jar by your desk. Pull one out at random when you need a creative boost.

6. Use templates.

I’m fond of templates; I have several specifically for blog posts. This takes the hassle out of proper formatting—such as creating headings—so I can focus on writing.

7. Get inspired.

One of my favorite writing prompts is looking at art. I make up stories about what I see. You can do the same with a quick Google image search.

8. Pull from metaphors and similes.

Divide a piece of paper in half to create two columns. In one column, list all the topics you cover on your blog. In the other, write words related to your hobbies. Then draw lines connecting a topic to an interest, and use the comparison to tell a story.

For example, “How marketing is like working on the Death Star” combines my interests in marketing and “Star Wars.”

9. Write about something you don’t know.

Sometimes we’re unaware of what we don’t know. Write a paragraph or two asking your readers to help you.

10. Use focus words.

Write a word at the top of the page and one at the bottom. Now you are no longer looking at a blank page. Give yourself permission to continue writing.

11. Doodle.

Sometimes getting your hands moving is enough to get you started. I need space to get out the “blargh” feelings I have. It’s like doing a warm-up before you run.

12. Write where you are.

Any time or any place can be inspiring when you change the lens through which you look. Pretend you are an alien observer.

There is a famous line from John Lennon: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

We can’t stop what we love because life gets in our way. Find a way to channel those blips into energy toward your passions.

Will the blue sky, bustling streets or cars driving by inspire you today?

Susan Silver is a contract copywriter. This article is republished with permission, courtesy of 12 Most.

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