When the words don’t come

seed breaking through writer's block

And sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the white blank screen (or paper) screams at you to go away. Threatens you with its brilliant, reflective vastness.

Write anyway. Stay with it. Make the page imperfect. It’s not about getting fancy words in a fancy order. Not at the moment. It’s about getting your message down.

And if you are doing something good in the world, something that helps people, you DO have a message. Even if you’re not clear on it yet, it’s there, lurking.

You know who you want to help, those people your work is for. Bring one of them to mind. Picture that person in all their glory and their hopes and their problems and difficulties and write them a letter.

Write it out. Keep on writing. Don’t worry about reading over what you’ve written, or changing things as you go (harder than it sounds, this). Just get it all down.

Then leave it. Go away and do something else. Put your head in a completely different place: go for a run, do your job, clean the kitchen floor furiously. Leave your writing for a few hours to brew.

And when you come back, don’t read for the detail of structure and order, for the elegance of what you’ve created. Read for what’s at its heart.

What’s that little nugget that you’ve got hidden away in all those words swimming on the page? What’s the ONE thing you’d like to talk to your people about today?

Start with that.

Then…

What’s important about it?
Why should your people care?
Why’s it worth their time to listen?
How can you make it easy to understand?
How can you overcome their resistance?
What do you want them to do about it?

These are the building blocks of laying out an idea for people to consider, accept and act on.

But it starts with that little seed of truth you want to get out there today.

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