Writer’s Block: How to Start Writing when You’re Stuck Part 2

Yesterday, I shared a few tips on how to break a block and get going on your fiction writing.  Today, we’re going to discuss nonfiction.

There are a variety of reasons that I get stuck when I’m writing nonfiction.  Generally, it has something to do with getting overwhelmed by my research.  Either the topic feels unfocused or I just have too many amazing facts to share.  How will I work it all in and get where I need to go?

The first step is focusing on where it is I need to go.  What is my goal in writing this piece?  While I have that goal in mind, I write it out.  Okay, what do I need to do to get there?  I make a quick outline.  Does what I have written correspond to this outline?  It doesn’t have to be exact but I have to be honest enough with myself to see where I am off.  That is, after all, how I will get back on track.  It is a bit like starting at the end but with the goal in sight I can find my way.

Sometimes I have my goal, but I still feel a bit lost. This often happens when there is just too much information.  When that’s the case, I take a moment to consider my goal and my topic.  With both of these things in mind, what is the most important thing for my reader to know?  What is needed for my reader to understand this?  Once I have that in mind, I’m ready to write.

The third and final thing that can bring me to a stop is when I have forgotten to have fun with my topic.  In fact, I’ve probably started to sound a bit like an encyclopedia or a college lecture.  When that happens, I need to consider what I love about the topic.  What is fascinating or surprising?  What is more than a little strange?  Which of these will appeal to my young reader?

Goal, topic and reader.  With these things in sight, I am ready to get back to work on my nonfiction project.  Which reminds me.  I have chapter 9 to finish.



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