Technical “Writer’s Block”

As a Technical Writer, I often wondered about getting “writer’s block.” I mean, it’s not as if you have the choice to have it or not when you are at work. If the deadline is there, or you are working by the hour, you’ve just got to be productive and write.

I’ve seen the cartoons and the movies just like you. The frustrated writer sitting in front of a typewriter with a trash can behind them, and loads of crumpled and torn papers thrown into and around it.

The fact is, I don’t think I have ever suffered from writer’s block as a technical writer. It could be that the work is more black and white than say, creative writing. But even still, you have to think about the best and clearest ways to present complex information, so there is still a creative element. It could be that I do get writer’s block, but by doing the following have managed to mostly avoid it. So below, I will present you with my top ten list of how to avoid writer’s block as a technical writer.

These are things that have worked for me:

  1. Multi-shuffle your tasks. (i.e. if you get stuck on one task, have other tasks ready that you can switch to).
  2. Think about ideas in the back of your mind even in off hours.
  3. Start your work, then come back to it the next day, or even the next week (if time allows for it).
  4. Research for inspiration!
  5. Go out for a walk to free your mind.
  6. Bounce ideas off of a coworker or friend.
  7. Create an outline of your thoughts and ideas.
  8. Deal with the more complicated writing tasks first thing in the morning.
  9. Practice writing all the time, by writing in a journal or blog.
  10. Join a writing society or group where you can meet and learn from other writers.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writer%27s_block
(includes a list of strategies for overcoming writer’s block)

http://www.essortment.com/all/howtoovercome_rsjm.htm
(this person says writer’s block isn’t real!)

http://thefuturebuzz.com/2008/12/03/how-to-overcome-writers-block/
(15 tips on overcoming writer’s block)

Find me on Twitter: @jacbird @masitblog

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