Whether you’re an aspiring writer, a professional writer, or occasionally need to take up the art of the wordsmith to write a business proposal, sales letter or a monthly report – you’re likely to run into writer’s block at some stage during your career.

So there you are – fidgeting in your chair, staring at a pristine white piece of paper or a blank Word document with a blinking cursor. The harder you stare and concentrate, the more the blankness leers back, taunting you.

You check your emails, pop briefly onto Facebook or Twitter to see what’s up, and several wasted minutes later you reluctantly come back to the same blankness. You write a few words. Then pause for a review… Nope, not good enough – your first attempt is discarded. You try again and bin those too. Then it’s back to the comforting distraction of email and social media – and so the cycle goes.

Writer's block can last anything from a few hours to a few days, if you let it. Here are some tips to move you work through the blockages:

1.    Find a quite place: It’s hard to write when there are constant interruptions, so find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Lock your office door, pop a “Do not disturb” sign on the door, tell your secretary you’ve gone out – or if necessary, head out the office to a quite space.

2.    Remove any distractions: It’s amazing how appealing that forgotten paperwork can be when you should be writing, but can’t. Remove any distractions. Clear your desk of any papers unrelated to the task at hand. Turn your mobile phone off, put your landline onto voice message, shut down your email program and ban yourself from social media. It’s much harder to avoid the task at hand if it’s just you and that blinking blank screen.

3.    Break it down: Large projects can sometimes seem daunting – which makes it hard to start. Here’s where it pays to break the task down into smaller chunks. Are there sections to your report? Can you jot down a summary of a list of areas you want to cover? This will help you define and plan the project and make it easier to start.

4.    Start writing: Yes, that’s right. Suspend your judgment and need for perfection and start writing. Once you start writing your ideas will begin to flow again. You might need to edit, delete, cut and paste – but it will help you overcome that initial block.
If you find you can’t write anything meaningful or on topic – just start with what’s on your mind: “I can’t write, I have nothing to say. I hate writers' block; I’m unable to write my report. It’s supposed to be about…” and hey – you might have just tricked yourself into starting to get some ideas down for that nagging report.

5.    Set targets: Set yourself a target. Whether in minutes or words, decide that you’re going to keep writing for 20 minutes at a time or that you’re going to write in spurts of 400 words. You’re not allowed to get up or take a break until you’ve achieved your target. For larger projects decide on a target for the day – and then break it down into smaller mini targets.

6.    Breaks and rewards: Incentives work – so treat yourself to a coffee break, 10 minutes catching up one news or social media, a walk around the park, lunch with a friend, or a relaxing massage… but only when you’ve achieved the targets you’ve set yourself.