Like most writers, I love and hate writing.
I love writing because I keep going back to doing it.
I hate it for the absolutely horrible feeling of getting stuck — writer’s block.
When you stare at the screen, and you have a lot of feelings you cannot seem to put into words.
Or your mind goes completely blank.
And even when you have a lot to say, you keep rewriting and rewriting, and you just cannot get a sentence right and move forward.
If you are in a similar boat, from experience, this is the writing ritual that works for me to write without getting stuck.
The key is to do your writing in stages:
Prime -> Dump -> Clean
I know it sounds like a bathroom ritual but bear with me :)
Prime your brain by reading anything related to the topic you are about to write.
The idea is to immerse your brain in that topic so that in the background it can digest the materials, and along the way, writing ideas will come up.
Save snippets that give your brain a little “aha” moment, and note down links to the sources if you ever need to quote or go back to them.
Dump all your thoughts by writing as quickly as possible without stopping.
It’s about putting all your thoughts onto the page for you to come back later to reorganize and polish them.
Don’t worry about spelling and grammar, don’t worry about if they are complete sentences — they can be streams of thoughts. It’s essential you don’t stop at any sentences or try to polish or rewrite them, as that’s how you get stuck.
I personally find putting ideas into bullet points or small paragraphs with a few sentences, along with the research materials, to be an effective way of organizing my thoughts.
The idea is to group the research + thoughts in sections, so when you clean up in the next step, you have enough material to work with and don’t need to go back and forth that much between research and writing.
This is the final step to pull everything together.
The process should take a couple of attempts, but each one gets easier, and your mind gets clearer.
I find taking breaks between each rewrite to be the key. You need to step away and come back with refreshed eyes to see the holes in your writing.
If I am on deadline, 1-hr break with a shower can do the trick.
I call myself a writer not in the sense I am a writer, but I write, a decent amount, and I earn a little bit of money as a freelance writer for a marketing newsletter. I still consider myself a beginner.
This is what helps me for the past year having to write at least 2 case studies a week. Try it out and let me know if this also works for you.