Have you ever had writer’s block?

Sent by Jonathan Stark on November 1st, 2018

You know the situation:

Your head is exploding with ideas, but as you stare at that empty white screen with the cursor blinking at you... you don’t know where to start.

I was working with a student today who absolutely knows his area of expertise. Inside out. 

Any question I hit him with, he would answer with a genius response off the top of his head in fully-formed bullet points... Like, 1 2 3 4 5 boom!

But when it came to actually writing up a marketing piece based on his expertise, he found himself stuck right at the beginning. 

Flashing cursor, blank screen.

In my experience, the number one reason for writer’s block is that you don’t know who you’re talking to. Or more precisely, you haven’t decided who you’re writing for. 

So, I asked: 

Who is this for? What does their job look like? What are their pressures? Who reports to them? What departments did they manage?

A half an hour later, we had decided exactly who the target reader was, exactly what that person “looked like”, who reported to them, what departments they managed, who they reported to, and what reasons they might be thinking about doing the thing that my student helps them with.

Once that was squared away, the rest was easy. The words came so fast we could barely capture it all. The piece almost wrote itself.

So if you find yourself faced with writer’s block ask yourself:

Who is this for? Who am I trying to help? What are they struggling with? What promise am I making?

Once you answer these questions, the words will flow.

Yours,

—J


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