5 QuickTips for
Chipping Away at Writer's Block

by Joel Saltzman


1. Don't Sit Around Waiting for Inspiration

Contrary to popular belief, writers do not say to themselves, "Now that I know what I'm going to say, I'll sit down and write it." If you don't know what to say or how to say it, just start "talking" on paper, writing down whatever comes to mind - no matter how vague or confusing it is. The more you keep at it, laying down your thoughts on the page, the better your chances for discovering your way. As Henry Miller put it: "Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery."

If you sit around waiting for inspiration, that's just what you'll do - sit around waiting for inspiration. What about the accountant who doesn't feeling like crunching numbers today? Or the surgeon who's just not in the mood to remove your appendix? Writers do not have the market on feeling uninspired. If you're a writer, you write. That's your job.

2. Stop Being a Perfectionist

If you're a perfectionist, you suffer from the "It has to be brilliant the first time" syndrome. You start to write, then stop yourself - sometimes after just a word or two - because it "should" be perfect but it's not even close. This is a brilliant, foolproof strategy. By refusing to accept anything less than perfection you've reduced your failure rate to zero. Problem is, you've done the same thing to your success rate.

Instead of trying to make it perfect - especially from the start - give yourself the freedom to make mistakes. Make lots of mistakes. Just get something - anything - down on paper!

3. Don't Worry About Grammar

For your first draft, don't worry about grammar, spelling, punctuation or anything you learned in school. You'll get to all that later - after you've gotten your first thoughts down.

4. A Rotten First Attempt is a Great Way to Start

Got a terrible first draft? Good for you! Reward yourself by taking a break and getting some distance on what you've done. Coming back to your work, you'll discover it's not as terrible as you imagined. You'll also discover just how easy it is to fix things, as long as you don't take it personally. What you wrote may stink, but you don't. Writing is rewriting. Simple as that. The more whacks you take at it, the less stinko it gets.

5. Being Stumped is Part of the Process

From time to time you will get stuck, totally stumped as to what to write or how to fix things. Get up. Get a change of scenery. "Any momentary change," says Woody Allen, "stimulates a fresh burst of energy." Or go find a friend and lay out your problem. Sometimes, just explaining your plight to someone else gets you to the answer. It's like bringing another brain into the project - even if they don't say a word.

Remember: Being stumped is part of the process. So's getting back to work.


Joel Saltzman is a speaker, facilitator and consultant who teaches people in business to
Shake That Brain! and discover solutions for maximum profit.
Hes also the author of the best selling book, If You Can Talk, You Can Write.

Joel can be reached Toll Free at 877-Shake It! (877-742-5348).
e-mail: joel@shakethatbrain.com