Improving a Virtual Assistant's Writing Skills: Flowing Past Writer’s Block
You love your professional career as a virtual assistant. It provides the sort of variety in your day that keeps you interested while giving you the convenience of earning from your home office. You can be the valued assistant to a top executive and be there to witness your baby’s first steps. Still, some days there are struggles to overcome.
Even the most proficient writer struggles with writer’s block sometimes, but as a virtual writing assistant, you cannot afford the time to wait for ideas to come to you. Use these basic strategies to get through writer’s block and confidently meet your deadlines.
Work on something else
Did you ever lose something and look everywhere you could think of but not find it? Then, after you’ve given up and started doing something else, suddenly you remember exactly where you left the missing item. That’s how the creative brain works sometimes. It can’t function when you are focused on a particular topic, but when you start working on something else, creativity is processed in the background.
Schedule your virtual assistant writing between two unrelated tasks. As soon as you feel that blank page anxiety creeping up on you, switch to a different task. By walking away from your writing, even if you don’t have anything down on paper, yet, you’ll be moving the project further ahead than just staring at the blank screen. You’ll be surprised when you come back to the writing project that the words are ready to flow.
Write something else
Writing anything will get your words flowing and help end your writer’s block. Start with something you know well. Write about whatever is on your mind, like a journal entry. Describe what it feels like to be stuck on your current writing assignment. This approach may help you get to the real reason you are stuck. You may discover that you are putting too much pressure on yourself to write without mistakes or to capture the essence of what the client is looking for in your first draft. Free-writing can loosen you up and relax those defenses that are holding back your creative expression.
Writing can be like a motor skill; if you don’t practice it, your ability fades. If you haven’t written anything for a while, it may seem stressful to look at the blank screen and not know what to do next. Writing about an easy topic that just flows will warm up your muscles and remind your brain what to do. It’s a good idea to strive for an hour of free writing every day to keep yourself in practice.
Read something else
Even if you don’t usually get writer’s block, it can happen and really shake your confidence. When you are working on a long writing assignment or several at the same time, day after day, you can get tired of your own voice and your writing can become a little stale. Also, you start to feel like you’ve already written everything there is to say on a particular topic, even though the client wants more. Constantly reading your own words can put you in a thought vacuum. That’s when it’s time to read something else.
Pick up a book or a magazine of a completely different style and genre than what you have been working on. Reading a different author, or several will give you a fresh perspective on the use of language and verbal expression. One of the best exercises for improving writing skills (other than just writing) is reading. It’s like watching someone else do it, so you can learn from their experience. When you get back to your own writing project, you’ll feel refreshed and better able to keep going.
Writing is a reflection of your thought process. Getting through writer’s block is just a matter of shaking up your thoughts to let something different flow freely.