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Overcoming writer’s block. Right now

Everyone’s a writer these days. From tweets to LinkedIn posts, from blogs to white papers, writing skills are high up the menu for anyone working in a business that relies on content for digital marketing.

But even when you’ve got a great idea for a blog, for example, there are plenty of obstacles between that cranial light-bulb moment and a good first draft. And many of them fall under that dreaded condition, writers’ block.

Normally experienced at the start of the drafting process, writers’ block typically involves staring at a blank Word document, mucking around with a headline, and trying a couple of introductions before abandoning the article in favour of something less taxing.

Talk, don’t write

Which is where your smartphone comes in. Most people think that the secret to writing a sit-up-and-take-notice article is, well, writing. But so often it isn’t. Remember the time when you had that great conversation explaining to your colleague why blockchain was the future of finance and the reasons why?

Wouldn’t it have been great if you’d been able to record that conversation and write it down later. Well, of course you can. Like so many media technologies, the dictaphone was once the preserve of specialist professionals. Now it’s just another app on your smartphone.

Take advantage of this. When the words won’t appear, in fact even before you sit down and put fingers to keyboard, try recording your ideas, play them back and then transcribe the words onto the digital page. Don’t expect to be a one-take wonder. Explore different tones of voice, or imagine you’re in conversation with a colleague, a friend or your boss.

If talking to yourself doesn’t work, or just feels a bit odd, then enlist the help of a colleague. Try to forget the device is recording and use the discussion to draw out your argument – while exposing it to helpful scrutiny.

Get creative, get moving

Other tips. Before you start speaking, get a bit of exercise, breath in lungfuls of air, and throw in a couple of shots of caffeine for good measure. Science shows that creativity increases when you walk so get out of your chair, take a stroll around the block or head to the park and find room for some well-earned thinking space.

Finally, don’t forget that quality trumps quantity every time. A short punchy blog post sparked by a chat with a colleague or a gentle jog often contains more substance than 1,500 low-energy words typed at your desk. The message is clear. Ditch the keyboard, get out of the office, start a conversation and kick writer’s block into the bushes. Off you go now – and don’t forget your iPhone.


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