Why are so many of us so reluctant to write?

The reasons sometimes seem endless: it’s difficult to get started, difficult to keep going, and difficult to get finished. Part of the answer lies in breaking the process down into stages – thinking, planning, drafting, shaping, polishing. But even when you’ve turned writing into a manageable process, it can still feel painful and unnatural.

So we have to delve a little deeper. Communication is such a collaborative process, but right now it’s just you and the blank page. No one’s willing you on, questioning you or simply looking at you. Because however they’re looking at you – interested or bored – it’ll help shape your thoughts, your words and your meanings.

That’s the problem with writing: there’s no collaboration. Your readers come later, but for now you’re on your own. So you don’t know where to start. Anything you say sounds vaguely silly and irrelevant. And then the words dry up altogether.

Writing, at times like this, is all about tricking the brain. So make it more like speaking. Think of someone who embodies your perfect listener – it could be a potential client, a current client, or an interested colleague. Now imagine them, make eye contact, and write for them.

You’ll see how much easier it becomes – the words flow, the human-friendly stuff rises to the surface, and unruly thoughts start to organise themselves into stories. And that’s all you need for now. The shaping and polishing will follow later.

Next time you’re faced with the blank page, try it – and let me know if it helps.