Has “writer’s block” impeded your completion of résumés or cover letters?

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Clients have many needs related to writing a resume, a cover letter, a thank you note, a business plan, etc.   It can be a very stressful process.  Career coaching provides a safe, comfortable, and confidential place to get your documents built and coaching serves as a great confidential, private launching pad for taking your career to higher levels.  Career coaching is a great place to grow, discover, and explore your what motivates you, strengthen your courage and determination, and elevate your level of self-confidence.  If you would like more information related to my Career Coaching services you can go here. I would like to introduce you to Craig Wynne.  He is a writing coach who specializes in helping young adults overcome writer’s block and writing anxiety and has written fantastic articles related to the subject.  Enjoy what he has to say!

What are writing anxiety and writer’s block?

by Dr. Craig Wynne

There are many definitions for these terms, but in its simplest form, writing anxiety consists of the negative feelings that writers have when they attempt to produce ideas and words.  These feelings can prevent them from being successful in their writing.

What causes “Writing Anxiety?”

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Any number of factors can contribute to writing anxiety.  Studies have shown that, for the most part, writing anxiety is based on situational factors.  You could feel completely at ease writing a text message to your best friend or delivering a Facebook posting, but you might feel completely lost as to how to write a cover letter for that dream job.

Here are some situations that can cause writing anxiety:

  1. Adapting to a new style of writing  or a form of writing you’re not used to (a senior thesis, a cover letter, a memo, etc.)
  2. Writing for a tough audience (i.e., a professor who’s been highly critical of your work, the CEO of that company you really want to work for)
  3. Thinking about criticism you’ve received in the past (even if the person who has criticized you isn’t the audience for your writing)
  4. Tight deadlines (See “Strategies for Managing” on how to deal with those)

Strategies for Managing

  1. Ask for help. Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary act.  A career counselor can help you with a cover letter, for example.  A counselor hasn’t had his/her nose as close to the problem as you have.  An objective opinion might be able to steer you in the right direction. You can also ask your roommate, your RA, your neighbor, or even your mother!  You’ll be surprised at what an outsider’s eye can do.
  2. Avoid perfectionism.  You’ll never get your writing perfect on the first try.  Professional writers can take years to put something together.  A good method is to use the writing process: focus on the ideas first, and then move into organization and grammar.  If you’re stuck for ideas, try one of these prewriting strategies.
  3. Use time management strategies.  In other words, don’t wait until the last minute to complete your writing: this alone can create unneeded stress, no matter who your audience is.  Depending on when your piece is die, give yourself 45 minutes to an hour each day to work on it, step by step.  Give yourself a goal for each day (“Today, I’m going to construct my objective statement.” “Today, I’m going to proofread.”).    Little by little, you’ll see your piece come together, and it won’t seem like such a big climb.
  4.  If you’re getting really stressed out, stop.  You’re not going to be able to write well if you’re feeling tense.  Take a breather from it.  Go for a walk.  Eat something.  Go on Facebook for a few minutes.  Just take some time to clear your head.  When you come back, you’ll be able to approach the assignment with fresh eyes.
  5. Keep a positive frame of mind.  Even if you absolutely hate writing, keep those negative feelings at bay.  If you can think of it as an adventure with a goal in mind, it won’t seem so daunting.  You may even enjoy it!
  6. Reward yourself.  Once you’ve handed your paper in, celebrate.  Go to a movie.  Hang out with friends.  You’ve worked hard; you deserve it!

witters block illustrationDr. Wynne’s Closing Thoughts …

The final thing to keep in mind is that nearly everyone (even the best of writers) gets apprehensive about writing.  However, if you follow the suggestions listed above, you may be able to relieve a great deal of the pressure.  Even if you don’t get the job or find you’ve made a mistake, don’t let the disappointment defeat you.  Mistakes are a natural part of learning.  It’s what you do next time that counts, so keep a positive frame of mind, and you may be pleasantly surprised with the results!

Dr. Wynne has a great deal of expertise on this subject.  If you would like a Webinar on this subject and would like to learn more, you can sign up for them here. If you would like more information related to Craig’s services, you can visit his website here or click on the image below.  If you want coaching to really tackle everything discussed here one-on-one in a safe, comfortable, and confidential environment please contact me here.  We both thank you and wish you all the very best.

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