Organizing Your Virtual Assistant Writing to Avoid Writer’s Block
Success as a virtual assistant is highly dependent on time management. You need to work efficiently through your daily tasks, but sometimes that creative idea doesn’t come to you when you need it. Getting past writer’s block can mean the difference between a productive day or working late into the evening to meet your deadline.
Routines and systems are what carry you through your average workday, and they can help you avoid writer’s block, too. When tackling a virtual assistant writing assignment, just like any other task, you need a plan. Think about how you approach a data entry task, for example. You always work left to right, top to bottom. You have a system for arranging your desktop for maximum efficiency, and you do it the same way every time. VA writers need a routine to follow, as well.
Research first then write
You can’t write until you have something to write about. A good writing assistant has polished research skills, so use them. Start by thoroughly researching your assignment. Get all of the information you can from your client about the expected results of the project. You may want to talk to several members of the organization to find out what they know about the topic or get their insider point of view.
Also, use the internet to learn all you can about the topic. What does it mean? How is it used? Who is the target audience? What are they saying? Remember to check reviews of the subject to find out the negative aspects. You’ll definitely want to work around those. You also want to see what has already been written about the topic, so you can find a unique angle or a part of the topic that hasn’t been addressed, yet.
Outline first, then flesh-out
Virtual professionals know you can’t begin your day without a list. Making a list at the beginning of a writing assignment will give you the same confidence. The pros call it outlining, but an outline is just a list of the important points you plan to include. Based on your research, make a list of the ideas you need to cover to complete your VA writing assignment. Put them down in the order you think of them; you can rearrange them later.
For each item on your list, add a description, an explanation, or a related story. You don’t have to do this part in any particular order, either. Skip around and do the easy ones first. You may discover during this part that two of the items on your list can be explained together. It's okay to revise your outline based on this new information.
Draft first, then edit
One of the reasons VA writers are challenged with writer's block is because they are critical of themselves and their work. Virtual assistants work remotely juggling several types of tasks for multiple clients, and they hold themselves to high standards. Many of the tasks you take on as a VA are detail-oriented where accuracy counts heavily. Looking at your own performance with a critical eye can help maintain a level of efficiency important to your success, but it can also be a detriment when it comes to being a writing assistant.
Writing relies on fluency in order to avoid falling into the downward spiral of writer’s block. Fluency in writing means that the words flow with a certain momentum that cannot be achieved by constantly critiquing your work. When you are writing, write, don’t edit or criticize. There will be time for editing and revising later.
Writer’s block is just another way of saying you don’t know what to do next. This simple writing routine provides a roadmap for any writing task, so you always know what to do next. Take a break between steps to give your writing brain a break and work on other tasks. Reducing writer’s block is just a matter of routine.