4 ways to break through writer's block

Good writing may be magical, but it's not magic. It's a series of actions and decisions that can be observed, learned and repeated. If you find yourself stuck, try these tips.

  • Lower your standards (at first). Drafts hold the promise of the final version. Look for the possibilities in raw copy instead of dismissing the effort as a failure. A draft is a necessary step on the way to publication.
  • Make a note. Instead of wasting precious minutes crafting the perfect lead, spew out a rough draft of a story, print and mark it up. Note what can be cut, what can be moved, what needs to be answered.
  • Write earlier. Let the draft guide your reporting. Find out what you know and what you need to know.
  • Keep at it. Writing is hard work, but it's fun. Strive to improve, but accept what you produce.

Taken from Get Me Rewrite: The Craft of Revision, a self-directed course by Poynter affiliate Chip Scanlan at Poynter NewsU.

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    Vicki Krueger

    Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current position as marketing communications manager.


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