Have you ever noticed how boundaries and structures that seem limiting at first actually give us more freedom?
We think we don’t want to be fenced in, we think we don’t want to be controlled, but then we realize that boundaries give us freedom FROM and freedom TO.
- Limiting the number of cups of coffee you drink frees you FROM the harmful effects of too much caffeine
- Letting calls to your business line go straight to voicemail on evenings and weekends frees you TO cultivate your personal relationships and practice self-care
Are you blocked by your thoughts? Start with structure.
But sometimes your ideas get blocked behind your thoughts (like “I’m not a writer,” or “No one will want to read what I have to say,” or “Who do I think I am, some kind of expert?”). You feel disheartened, discouraged and defeated, and you end up with no words and no article.
Writing structures like editorial schedules, generators and templates free you FROM hurtful self-talk, and FROM clutter and overwhelm. Writing structures free you TO write consistently and strategically, and TO let your creativity flow.
When you’re blocked, I suggest you START WITH STRUCTURE:
- Begin with a simple affirmation that will shut down your inner critic and unleash your creativity, e.g., I have a message that someone needs to hear and that person is only tuned in to hear it from my unique voice.
- Create an editorial schedule with potential ideas for future articles or blog posts. It’s much easier to start with an outline (or even a title) than a blank page.
- Use a generator like the Top 10 Article Generator. People use formulas for a reason – they work! Or create a template based on an article that got a lot of attention from your audience.
Are you bogged down by your ideas? Finish with structure.
Other times, your ideas flow out so quickly that you feel overwhelmed, scattered and confused. You end up with words everywhere but still no article.
In this earlier blog post, Writing structures – friend or foe? I told you to walk away from structure when you’re bubbling over with ideas, suggesting instead that you capture your ideas as they flow instead of trying to box them into any kind of format.
I’m not contradicting that advice here, but I’m broadening my definition of structures to include idea catchers like journals, mind maps, voice recorders or a session with a ghostwriter.
When you’re buzzing with ideas, I suggest you FINISH WITH STRUCTURE:
- Begin by giving yourself the time and space to let all of your ideas out with the help of an idea catcher.
- Use a readability checklist to hone in on the one main point you are trying to make.
- Refer to your editorial schedule or content strategy to make sure you’re being consistent with the message and brand you are delivering.
So I invite you to free yourself with the boundary of a writing structure. You will be giving a gift to everyone who is waiting to hear your unique message.