7 Ways to Get Those Words Flowing When You Don’t Know What to Write

7 Ways to Get Those Words Flowing When You Don't Know What to Write
Photo by Heriberto Herrera

7 Ways to Get Those Words Flowing When You Don't Know What to Write

When you're stuck in your writing, how do you fix that? Do you set it aside and go back to it later? What about when you're on deadline and you must finish it? Here are some ways to get those words flowing that have worked for me.

Allow Yourself to Write a Bad First Draft

Do you have your article planned out in your head, but it doesn't come out right on paper (or word processor)? It happens to the best of us. The good news is, there is an easy fix: Just write it. Allow yourself to write a bad first draft. It requires a mindset shift for the perfectionists out there, but getting it down, even if it's really bad, will get you moving forward. Then just revise it into a great, polished piece.

Close Your Eyes

Staring at a blank screen can hinder your writing productivity. Close your eyes and think about what you want to say. Then just write it down.

Imagine You're Speaking to Your Reader

Imagine you're having a conversation about your topic with your reader. What do you tell him? Write down the conversation and revise later.

Use an Outline

Having an outline isn't always necessary. However, when you're stuck, go back to the drawing board and outline the information you want to share. This will give you a better idea of how to start and organize your writing.

Set a Timer

When you give yourself a limited amount of time to complete a task (i.e., your first draft), you're more likely to complete it. Just remember to be hard on yourself. Don't give yourself a second opportunity to work on it. Don't let yourself finish it during your "editing process". Some of us need a strong motivator, either a major consequence or a high-value reward. Do what works for you.

Write on Paper

Writing on paper usually helps me get my writing down. Paper is easier on the eyes and taps into my creativity. If it doesn't work for you, try writing in mind mapping software.

Write in a New Location

Moving to a new location can often spark creativity, especially when distractions such as the Internet and Twitter are present. Go outside, sit in a closet, write at the kitchen table. Find out what works for you and use it as a backup when your office isn't working out.

How do *you* get the words flowing? Share your techniques with us in the comments section below.

Jody Calkins
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