Writing press releases to deadline – overcoming writers block
This isn’t going to be a how-to type post on how to put a press release together… There’s plenty of those out there already. Yes, I may touch on some of these aspects but this blog is more about how to overcome your writers block and actually craft a good release.
However, if you are just starting out in the industry some of those who, what, why, where, when blogs can be a great place to start.
Everyone gets writers block sometimes
Anyone who says they never get writers block is lying. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, or how good a writer you are, sometimes you can sit looking at the blinking white page of a fresh word document for considerable lengths of time.
In my case, I may not be staring at the page, but I’ll have opened a document with the intention of writing and I will accidentally on purpose keep getting pulled into other tasks.
There’s lots of roles within a marketeers life that can be done at high speed or while multi-tasking. Serious writing however, isn’t one of them.
What do I do when experiencing this block?
This happened to me recently… I’d done a great interview in the morning, driven a few hours back to the office, cleared my emails and a few other tasks and set aside the last hour of the day to write what promised to be a great story.
The problem was it was a meaty story, lots of great angles… I couldn’t decide where to start.
In this scenario I go back to basics. I grab a nice crisp A4 sheet of paper out of the printer, get a pen and write down some key points. In my case this is usually a mixture of key phrases, the odd sentence and then some reminders of standard stuff that I must include. I don’t try to put them in an order I just get them down on paper as they randomly fall from my brain! I then sit back and assess. Incidentally there can be a point where you start to wonder if you are just writing up your notes again. Try to keep these ideas brief – they will form your plan.
So, coming back to your A4 sheet of thoughts, points, reminders…. Now look over them and start to number them in order of priority. Sometimes as I am doing this sentences start to form in my head that I don’t want to lose so I will jot these down too.
From this stage, the sentences start to form more and more and before you know it you’re furiously typing into your blank word document.
Draft and re-draft
Don’t worry about getting it right first time around… I often type furiously letting the typos go. At this stage you need to go with the flow of sentences coming out of your brain…. There’s nothing worse than stopping to go back and amend a typo and loosing your train of thought in the process. Sometimes lost thoughts never come back!
Once you’ve got draft one down on the page, print it and go over it pen in hand. There’s a variety of things I’m looking for here…. First of all have I got the order right – is my most important and interesting fact up front and centre and have I explained it clearly.
Have I waffled unnecessarily anywhere and have I repeated any particular words too many times – if so a thesaurus always comes in handy.
Mark up your changes, amend on your word document and save as a second draft. Print it and then preferably don’t look at it again until the next day, or leave at least a few hours. It’s important to break the familiarity and distance your brain from the writing for a bit. The fresher your head is on the subject the better input you’ll give to draft 3.
Once you’ve got to draft 3 you should be just about there.
Do you regularly write press releases? Do you have a favourite time of day for writing or a favourite place to write? How do you get into the zone?
Illustration of writers block by disappear here.