As a full time writer and blogger I am on very close personal terms with Writer’s Block. The Dreaded Block (cue sinister music) is not confined to the business of writing and blogging. Most business owners fact it at some stage. You have to come up with new, fresh ideas – services, products, articles, posts – regularly, you have to create and implement those ideas (services, products, articles, post, and you have to promote those ideas (services, prod … oh you get the picture) and your business and yourself. There days of self-doubt. Monumental self-doubt. You sulk. You wail. You bury yourself in chocolate, coffee, and champagne until all anyone can see is the tip of your ears – well – okay that might only be me – but point remains: it’s not always easy. In an effort to keep my sanity – not to mention to keep my chocolate, coffee, and champagne consumption to a minimum – I’ve come up with three tips for breaking through the business block.
Yes, you heard me. Almost without fail, the times I have really felt like giving up have been preceded by a long stretch in front of my computer screen. Researching, reading, writing, tweeting, liking, following, pinning – and that’s just blogging. Let’s throw in some study, some fiction writing, or pitching for clients. And all of that has to be fitted in around family, faith, felines, and Springsteen. It’s a wonder I can write my name some days – let alone a blog post – and usually it’s a sign I need to *cue thundery voice* TAKE A BREAK.
It’s no different in business, especially a small business. Chances are high you fill most, if not all, of the Chief Executive roles in your business – so you are constantly working. Even when you’re not. If you are suddenly staring at your computer screen or whiteboard (whiteboards by the way are probably even more important than your computer, but that’s a different post) and thinking “actually I’d just like to get on a plane, fly to Peru and never come home”, you need to unplug.
Stand up. Stretch. Go for a walk. No, don’t get on the next plane for Peru – call a friend and meet for coffee. In other words – do something different. Whatever your business is – whether it’s entirely online or face to face, sometimes you need to do something different for a while. More often than not, switching focus gives our brain the opportunity to unfreeze – and in my experience, it doesn’t take long. Which brings me to a word of warning: don’t drop everything and rush off immediately, or you’ll be back at square one. If you get an idea, note it down on your phone or in a notebook, but don’t race straight back to your office. Trust me, your family, your business, and yes, your sanity will thank you for the break.
Keep your eye on the prize
So, you’re probably muttering “didn’t she just say take a break?’ Yes I did and I promise it will make perfect sense in a moment. Sometimes when you think you’re going nowhere, it helps to look at how far you’ve come. Go back and look at where you were a month ago – better yet, a year ago. Even if you’re not entirely where you want to be yet – look at how far you’ve come and how much closer to your goals you are now. And if you’re not making progress – call Sarah now, she can help you with that. Just remember this is a marathon, not a sprint – for want of a better cliché – so hang in there. Don’t worry about everyone else, just keep going. Nobody knows better than me how hard this one is – remember my business is writing and everyone in this industry is watching everyone else. But no matter how far away the prize (whatever the prize is for you) may seem, you are so much closer than you were when you started. Hang in there.
You are not alone
I’ve come to the conclusion this is the most important thing of all. Even if your business is like mine and the only company you get day in and day out is five demented cats or if you are seeing new people every day, it is really easy to feel isolated and as if nobody else understands. Join a business group. It can be a formal business networking group or an informal Friday night drinks group for local business owners – or a Facebook community: but join. Talk to other business owners, ask them questions, listen to their struggles. You’ll soon realise – you are not alone. They are facing the same struggles you are. They have the same fears and the same challenges. Not sure what to do next? Ask someone. Nearly every good business person I have met has been more than willing to offer advice and lend a helping hand – so for the love of Pete: take it.
Part of a successful network is opening your business to partners that have the skills to help – I am proud to say Angelique is a trusted contact of mine and I LOVE her skills in writing and blogging
About Angelique Jurd
Angelique Jurd is a writer and blogger, consumer of champagne, coffee, and chocolate, social media junky, and lover of cats. In her former life as a print journalist and newspaper editor, she specialized in business journalism and interviewed many leading business people and was thrilled to discover they were really quite normal and not scary (well some of them were) after all. These days she can usually be found in cyber space either writing her story or helping entrepreneurs find their story.