Overcoming Writer’s Block – 7 Methods That WorkWritten by Associated Content
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Lower Your Standards
Avoid perfectionism on first draft and do not stop when you’ve made a mistake. Keep going, mistakes and all and just write. Do not try to edit while you write. This comes later. Let your first draft be a free flow of ideas, thoughts and concepts leaving “critical editor” part of yourself for later. Just think to yourself that perfection is not to be tolerated on first draft. After you’ve completely finished writing first draft, then it is time to bring put on your editor hat and start rewriting process. Don’t jump gun, though, as conflict of trying to write and edit at same time causes many cases of writer’s block. Keep these two tasks separate.
Clean House Literally and Figuratively
Sometimes writers will start a writing project but become stuck over a particular line or paragraph that just isn’t working. Either delete this or copy and paste it into a new document and save it for later. Don’t let a line or paragraph disrupt flow of your writing. Get rid of it. Clean house.
In addition, sometimes a writer’s messy surrounding will reflect on their ability to write. Take a break to clean up your writing area. If you work from home, take a break to clean house. Many times act of cleaning and throwing out old will open us up to new, such as new ideas, thoughts or perspectives. Cleaning house literally and figuratively can help sweep away writer’s block.
Take an “Art” Break
Take a break to draw, paint, sculpt, collage or any other right brain artistic endeavor. Sometimes a writer’s brain can get out of balance with all stimulation and activity that is happening on left side. Taking a right brain artistic break will help balance this activity out. You may even wish to paint yourself and then write. Kooky, offbeat ideas that get you out of norm will work wonders for conquering writer’s block.
Overcoming writer’s block is something that most writers will need to learn how to deal with for long haul. One method may work for you now and a different one in future. It will be handy to have these methods at your fingertips. Print out these methods for future use and share them with other writers, writer’s groups and clubs. Writers need to stick together and this is eighth method for overcoming writer’s block, which is to put together a support group to help overcome it.
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The Office WriterWritten by Peter B. Mann
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In text: Here, too, you should choose an “up” or “down” style. The “down” style: Capitalize only first word of every sentence, plus proper nouns. The “up” style: Capitalize Federal, State, Department, and so on. Your choice of “up” or “down” style will also apply to any subheadings. Whether you choose “up” or “down,” you should always capitalize pronoun “I” and relatives’ titles when used with proper name (for example, “Uncle Dan,” but “my uncle“). Capitalize Mother or Father when addressing parent directly, but not when referring to him or her (“my mother,” “my father”). TYPES OF PRODUCTS The News Article A news article’s first sentence -- “lead” -- is its most important element. The lead must contain as many of key ingredients -- who, what, where, when, why, and how -- as possible. These facts inform reader of main thrust of news and provide a context for understanding what follows. Subsequent paragraphs provide further information. They appear in order of descending importance for a very practical reason: If there is not space enough for entire article, it may be cut from bottom without destroying its essence. This factor distinguishes news article from feature story and editorial. The Press Release A press release is a news article with spin, company propaganda. It reports news about a new product or business development in a positive manner. There is not likely to be a downside included. Of course, that describes a proactive press release; a reactive one might very well include negative information -- if company perceives that it needs to acknowledge certain facts in order to salvage its public image. The Opinion Piece or Editorial Writing an editorial or an opinion piece is similar to writing an essay, although less formal in structure and style. In all three, author asserts a point of view and supports it with logical discourse or facts. The piece may define, describe, or explain a concept or a proposal; evaluate and/or compare ideas, systems, processes, or activities; make and defend a choice among options.Opinion pieces should always be labeled as such. The Feature Story A feature article may take various forms -- a human interest story, a celebrity interview, an in-depth explanation of a current issue or development, a profile of a local leader, saga of a successful business. The list could go on and on. Feature articles are characteristically longer than most news stories. All features attempt to interest reader in something unusual. For instance, an article might examine role of women in Arab societies, new elements in revised SAT, or Internet business that is being outsourced to India. Perhaps a local man has been selected to appear on Jeopardy! There is really no limit to possibilities. For a company publication, more likely topics might be staff reorganization, United Fund drive progress, product development, and an officer profile. And CEO will probably want you to ghost-write a column bearing his/her byline. The Newsletter As editor of a newsletter, you will have a number of key decisions to make at outset. *What size will it be? Most newsletters are 17” x 11” folded to 8 ½” x 11.” *How many pages? Four or any multiple of four. *Binding? If more than four pages, saddle-stitch binding. *Self-mailer? Leave space for recipient name/address, return address, and mailing indicia. *Number of columns per page? *How often will it be published? Matters of Style *Typeface for text and headlines? Type sizes? *What font and size will subheads be? *Should type be flush left and ragged right or fully justified? (Justified type is flush left and right. Ragged right lines end with last full word that fits.) *What size will masthead be? Where will it be placed? *Will articles jump from one page to another or be printed in a continuum? *Will you use artwork or photos? Cut lines or captions? *Where will you place staff box? *Will you list all of contents -- or selected items -- in an article or box on front page? Matters of Content *Chances are topics to be covered were spelled out initially, either by your boss or by organization’s leaders, or perhaps they were dictated by organization’s purpose/function. *Don’t work in a vacuum. Appoint a committee of people representing different parts of company/organization; meet with them in a planning session for each issue. *It’s a good idea to have a mix of news items and feature articles, plus brief notices in boxes that break up page. Variety makes a newsletter lively and keeps reader interested. Article Review Establish procedures for review of your articles by staff members prior to publication. After type is set, arrange for another staff member to proofread, backing you up. About Layout Whether you are doing desktop publishing or sending camera-ready copy to a printer with an offset press, you will have to lay out your pages. To do so, you should create a template with number of columns of width you have chosen and feed your headlines, articles, and artwork into template. You will be able to set type in multiple column widths to enhance visual appeal of your newsletter. Artwork You will probably want to use CEO’s picture with his/her column, and you may also use mug shots of employees who are mentioned in other articles. Original artwork adds sophistication to your newsletter, and if you can afford to hire an artist, you will probably want to follow this course. It will be up to you (and your boss) whether to use a mix of photos and original art or use original art exclusively. Speech Writing If you’re assigned to write a speech for CEO, insist on interviewing her or him about purpose, content, and desired outcome. Listen carefully to CEO’s speech patterns. Short or long sentences? Serious or light demeanor? Articulate or not? Terse or long-winded? Discuss whether to open with a joke or get right down to business, how to structure material, how much time speech should take. The more successful this interview, better speech. http://www.youreditoronline.com
The author has more than 40 years experience as a writer and editor. He was manager of corporate publications for Educational Testing Service, a newsletter editor for Merrill Lynch, and held various positions with educational agencies and as an education reporter for three major dailies. He is retired now but offering his editing skills on the Web.