It is my personal opinion that the most powerful tool any PR professional has in their arsenal of seemingly never-ending, grammar-correcting weapons is their writing. It’s a must-have and must-love for anyone considering a career in PR. Between the pitches, the blogs, the press releases, media alerts and social media posts, there’s no way around it–PR peeps have to be great at putting their pens to paper… or fingers to a keyboard. But with great writing also comes great moments of writer’s block. Moments where all the words you’re looking for have gone missing, disappearing straight off the earth’s surface into some warped dimension of really great, really lost ideas.
So, what is there to do when you find yourself at a writing roadblock? Overcome it. How? Try one or any combination of the below quick tips. They’ll save you time, sanity and a lot of elbow grease.
1. Take a walk. When working on any piece of written communication, you’re married to it for a short period of time. You look deep into its eyes, peel back its many layers and try to discover the best way to communicate its best features. You are mentally submerged in this topic and sometimes that’s exactly the problem. Taking a 15-minute walk can refresh the mind. If you’re lucky enough to work in an area that offers some fresh air, take advantage of it. At Red Fan, we’re lucky enough to be located in the Hyde Park area in a not-so-traditional workplace setting with plenty of places to clear your mind.
The Red Fan “Helms House”!
2. Pay it forward. What’s great about PR pros is that not only are they great writers, they’re great editors too! Trust me. Your colleagues are just itching for the opportunity to “track change” your most recent draft. So make them happy and give your eyes a break. When you come to a stopping point in your press release/blog post/email pitch, send it to a co-worker to quickly edit and provide feedback.
3. Sleep on it. If you’re lucky enough to have a deadline that’s a few days out, minimize your Word doc and call it a day. Come back in the morning with some new thoughts and a good night’s rest.
4. Read the news. For PR pros, it’s always important to stay up-to-date and in the know on what’s going on in the world, so what better time to catch up on your daily news intake than when you hit that roadblock? This way, you’re able to remain productive while taking your mind off of what you’re working on. Who knows? You may even find inspiration as you’re surfing the web.
5. Mix it up. If you’re stuck, don’t be afraid to move on to another assignment that requires a completely different skill set. Writing a press release? Move on to another client’s social media editorial calendar. Writing a new business proposal? Try researching their competitors even more than you already have (because in a true PR pro’s world, the research never really ends).
If you haven’t noticed it, there is certainly one common theme across all of these tips—to keep writing, take a break from your writing! Like any tool, writing requires practice, time and even space to continue improvement. Don’t be afraid to walk away from what you’re working on because when you come back to it, you’re bringing with you a new perspective, some new ideas, maybe even a completely new approach to writing the piece. What’s most important is delivering a final version of your work that’s even better than you thought it could be. So, snap to it PR pros—I know you’ve got some writing to do.