January 2, 2012

Taking Notes or Outlining may be the Cure for Writer's Block

All writers have experienced it in one way or another. You just suddenly stop writing as your mind struggles on what to say next. It seems that your mind just switched off and no words seem to be forthcoming in the immediate moments. However, with the thousand-fold increase in the writings that we find in the Internet, writers seem to be succeeding in overcoming it.

Different writers of course will have different approaches to the persistent problem. And different writers may experience the malaise in different ways. For example, my main problem is I don't experience writer's block not as much as I write but before I even started writing. My problem seems to be more of lack of anything to write about than being lost on how a write-up can be completed.

One possible way of beating it is not to confront it. You can stop writing and shutdown your laptop but keep the thought of the write-up in your mind. Do something else that has no relationship whatsoever to what you were writing about. Work on another project that has nothing to do with the article you were working on. Let time replenish your mind with thoughts and ideas that may find their way in the written work that you are creating.

Other writers may simply stand up, go somewhere else, make a cup of coffee or tea, or just go outside and smoke a cigarette. Some will look for another person to talk with and strike a trivial conversation about inane topics of absolutely no importance at all. Writers who may prefer to be alone would just look for another chair on which to sit on and think of a funny thing that happened a long time ago and yet still does not fail to elicit a few good laughs.

Another possible solution is to erase one or more paragraphs that you were working on before the writer's block struck and start over from the last point that you were making. Sometimes this will work and the writer realizes that he was inadvertently led to a road that leads to a brick wall. This could sometimes feel a little bit difficult to do as you think of the wasted effort on writing the passage that you are about to delete. But most of the time, it is the only escape from being stuck and the deleted parts are the price that you had to pay for letting yourself go astray.

But the best cure that I could think of for this dreaded experience is to ensure that you would never fall into such a situation again ever. By having a nearly complete notes or a nearly full outline of the write-up that you're making, you can completely remove the causes that may unwittingly lead you face to face with writer's block. Experiencing writer's block is very much akin to going without direction and getting lost in the process. Arming yourself with a map drastically eliminates your chance of losing your way.

A nearly complete notes include everything that you want to cover in your write-up. By just looking at your notes, you feel confident that the resulting article will have enough substance to warrant being read by your audience. With a nearly complete set of notes, you can already visualize how your article would look like and how long it would be. You become surer that you would be able to cover everything that you want to say about the topic you have chosen to write on. This thought gives you confidence, diminishes the pressure to finish the article on time, and lets you relax while you're writing the article.

Having a nearly full outline not only makes you sure that you would be able to cover all the relevant points in your write-up but also gives you the general plan of how your write-up is going to proceed. Your outline firms up the structure of your write-up and determines the position of each thought or idea in the overall map of the article that you are creating. In every step of the way, you know where you are and you know where to go next. Thus, there is no way for you to get stuck except at the end of the write-up, after you have summarized your points and stated your conclusions.

Experienced writers dispense with making full notes or complete outline when making relatively short write-ups like articles that are intended for posting to the Internet. They are able to do this because they have mastered their craft so well that they never lose control of what they are doing. But for not so experienced writers like us, it may be a good idea to use tools like note-making and outlining to guide us as we traverse the wonderful world of writing.

Read my other article on writing faster and controlling the length of your web article with phrase outlining at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/12/write-faster-and-control-length-of-your.html.

Read my other article on writing an article for your website as much like packaging a gift for a dear friend at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/12/writing-article-for-your-website-is.html.

Read my other article on good ideas about writing as a mental process at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/03/good-ideas-about-writing-as-mental.html.

Read my other article on practical ways to improve your writing skills at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/11/practical-ways-to-improve-your-writing.html.

Read an article on what and how to write an article for your personal website at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-and-how-to-write-article-for-your.html.