1. Make believe that you have an editor. Specifically, pretend that he’s an editor screaming for copy. Choose a topic, sit down and start writing. You should get into the flow within a few paragraphs and be able to create something readable.
And if you don’t? You’ve got something to edit later on. Point is, you’ve got something.
2. Set a timer. Seriously: Set the kitchen timer or the alarm on your phone to ring in 30 minutes. Start writing. When the buzzer sounds, look at what you’ve created. Is it any good? If not, once again you’ve got something to edit later.
Best-case scenario 1: You get so into the flow that you keep writing, then start editing, and wind up with something you can post right now.
Best-case scenario 2: When the timer goes off you might be so pleased with what you’ve started that you’ll keep going. If not, you’ve still got something to go back to the next day.
But what if it’s a REAL deadline?
Lucky you: You’ve got an assignment! The best-case scenario there is that it’s a paid assignment rather than a free one. Maybe the idea has you so exhilarated (read: terrified) that you’re afraid to move.
You don’t want to start until you have the perfect lede, say, or you’re convinced you need just a little more research before you begin to write. Totally normal. These are the kinds of tricks my own head plays all the time, and freelancing is how I make my living.
Thing is, we can’t afford to get stuck. Time isn’t just money, it’s also time. As in, the number of hours of our lives we waste spinning our creative wheels. (Again: Ask me how I know.)
Sometimes you have to fake yourself out. Create that phantom deadline and you’ll be on your way to finishing what you had trouble starting.