May 6, 2015

How to Start Writing when you Feel Stuck


Are you struggling when you sit down to write? Do those first couple of sentences elude you? Recently I learned a powerful technique for dealing with this dilemma.

During a coaching session on writing with Neil Everton, I was asking him for help with closing my articles. Neil directed me back to the top of the examples I had brought and suggested we start at the beginning.

You want your reader to nod and think “yes”, Neil told me. That first sentence needs to connect with the reader and bring them along for the rest of the article. One way to do this is to ask a question, as I did at the start of this article. Whether it’s a question or a statement, try to elicit feelings about the topic and empathize with the reader’s situation.

Did I also figure out my endings? I learned that getting the beginning right made writing the closing so much easier. I simply need to answer that opening question.

When you're stumped at the start, write out the question or problem that you will answer. Even if you eventually edit it, you’ll be over the hump and onto the rest of your article.

photo by becca.peterson26 / Flickr 
originally published in Work Better, Not Harder May 6, 2015

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