Tag Archive | social media

Triumph over blogger’s writer’s block

We’ve all had it.

It stops us from writing a term paper, an essay, a long-answer or extended response. It freezes our keys and forces our computer to open up our Facebook window or look over our Twitter feed again. When it rears its ugly head we suddenly feel the need to create new boards on Pinterest.

Writer’s block.

It sneaks up from behind and freezes your mind. No matter how quickly the words seem to flow, once writer’s block strikes there seems to be no hope. The screen continues to stay white while the annoying cursor stays firmly in the same spot – words refusing to come and any hope of a sentence dying as the blue background of Facebook appears.

So – all joking aside – students, college grads and even professionals know about writer’s block. I experienced when writing my history papers and even today when I blog. It can be extremely frustrating when you plan out a specific time to write…and as soon as you put your fingers over the keys everything seems to stop. Nothing appears on the page, minutes continue to tick by, and nothing happens.

Now that we’ve discussed how writer’s block is annoying and spans to all ages – the big question arises. How do you fix it? Doesn’t matter if you’re writing a paper, essay, blog or email, writer’s block is writer’s block. How do you overcome the dam that stops all ideas from flowing from your brain to your computer or piece of paper?

After an extremely annoying attempt to blog last week where I ended up watching UP with my roomie and wasting time on Pinterest because I could think of nothing to write.

Nothing.

I had  drafted a blog about respect earlier that day and even though I had ideas in my head…

… nothing would appear on my computer. I wanted to throw the entire thing across the room and scream. I had purposely planned a good two hours to write, edit and post and I could time ticking away. It seemed like the entire evening was a waste and I would still need to blog in the next few days. I was wasting time and crossing nothing off my to-do list.

And what is a great way to deal with stress and grab some great advice? Twitter. I tweeted about my situation and asked if anyone knew of a way to overcome writer’s block. Guess what? Found some wonderful ideas from Thomas J. Armitage, Molly Osmon and Abbey Lape. While their advice differed slightly, it all included walking away from the computer for a bit and returning with a fresh outlook.

Thomas recommended music, Molly suggested a short break away from writing and Abbey thought I should try “purge writing”.  Music erases any stress you may be holding from other situations and walking away from a computer screen allows you to take the much-needed breath and refresh your mind. I love going for a run or going to the nearest coffee shop to write. Fresh air and a change of scenery is sometimes all you need. While Thomas and Molly’s ideas helped me overcome writer’s block for my blog post, Abbey’s idea helped me think of new blog posts for the future.

Purge writing.

Simply write. Start with a small, easy idea –  just your name and age –  and see where your brain takes you. It’s a great idea to shake away the cobwebs and see what is really on your mind. For example:

  • My name is Jessica Reynolds. I am 22 and will soon be leaving Orlando to return to Ohio for a job. I am nervous about beginning a new chapter in my life. I am excited about returning to the city I love and seeing all of my friends. one of my strengths is my passion for everything I do – a weakness is the pressure to be perfect. In Columbus I am excited to eat in the Short North, visit downtown and see the city as a professional. I think people create their own happiness and need to focus more on respect.

See? It’s a very easy writing lesson, but allows possible blog ideas to appear. From the simple paragraph above I could now write a post about growing up, leaving my family in Orlando, job interviews & skills, nightlife in Columbus and more.

Next time you’re not sure what to blog about or even where to start writing an essay – try purge writing. Don’t think, just keep your fingers moving. At the end look at what you have and allow your conclusions and ideas to jump out.

Writer’s block doesn’t stop writers, it simply makes us write better.

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Let’s keep it professional

“Did you hear what happened last weekend?”

Seems like I can’t enter a room without hearing that sentence or the end of some juicy story, usually about another classmate/co-worker/friend/acquaintance. People bond over drama, and in my opinion, everyone feels a little more righteous sharing information about someone else.

Keep it out of the workplace. Period.

No one is perfect, I’ll be the first to admit that upfront. People have bad days at work, things going on with the family or friends, relationships beginning or ending and stressful lives. However, what is said at work about your personal life can tarnish your professional reputation and appearance.

Specifically, sometimes your leaders don’t want to hear about what you did this past weekend, how crazy your Saturday night turned out or who is the new couple at work. It’s what our generation has heard since the beginning of Facebook, nothing is safe in the world of social media. If you are going to post pictures of your crazy weekend on Facebook, make sure you aren’t friends with your managers and other leaders. Why give anyone a reason to distrust your professionalism?

The job market is competitive – and remains tough once you enter a company. As a young professional you don’t want anyone to connect your name with a bad (or unprofessional) story. When your superiors are talking about employees they would like to see move forward with their careers, could the stories you’ve told during lunch make an impact? Keep distance between work and play.

My situation is slightly different because of the high-volume of young professionals and college students I work with during my program, but this lesson is easily transferred to other work environments. Talking about how hung-over/exhausted you are because of going-out last night isn’t the way to show leaders you want more responsibilities.

I’m not preaching that once your graduate college all “fun” extracurricular activities need to stop, they just need to stay separated from your professional life.

You never know who is listening as you chat about last night, the previous weekend or share the most recent gossip about another co-worker. You cannot unring a bell. Be mindful of how you present in your workplace, because in the end, your reputation may speak louder than your actions.

The beginning…and connecting

It seems that every conference I attend that talks about PR and social media the word blog comes up – a lot. Create a blog, write in your own voice, strengthen your personal brand, build a group followers, reach said followers and make stay true to yourself.

Geez, no pressure.

But…who doesn’t enjoy a challenge? So those words of blogging wisdom I have gathered from classes, networking and my own observations will hopefully appear on the screen as I start to blog.

For my first post I thought I would write about something I am both comfortable and passionate about – entering the world of Twitter. Now I am in NO way saying that I am a social media pro and I can tell you the ins-and-outs of Twitter (I have my idols that can do that), but I can give you a pretty good idea how to start. Social media is intimidating!   Creating an account and looking at the huge zero under Followers isn’t exactly a heartwarming feeling. Who wants to be the person with only 3 followers? I took tips and advice that  people gave me when I created my Twitter account a year ago and created the top five (with a PR twist).

1 – Out your real name in there somewhere. For the future PR pros, how will your boss or other people find you if your real name isn’t there? While BuckeyeBabe07 is super cute, it’s not going to pop up if someone searches Jessica Reynolds. If that’s your choice for a user name make sure your name (real name) is also listed. Sounds almost too easy – but an essential.

2 – Don’t lock your profile. As a student who studies social media, a Twitter handle should never be locked for a PR student. What are you hiding? If you are going to post inappropriate things I recommend moving to another site.

3 – Look for followers, don’t expect them to come to you. I searched for some of my favorite social media gurus and started following them…and then started following who they followed. There is no such thing as Twitter stalking, find people and start connecting.

4 – Link your social media sites to twitter. Have a blog and LinkedIn? Put the link on your Twitter, this will help you strengthen your connections.

5 – BIG ONE …Join in the conversation! There is nothing more pointless than a PR Twitter that does nothing but post updates. While these greatly help open a window into your personal brand, it will do nothing for networking. Talk to people! Feel awkward jumping into a conversation? Do it anyway. Just always be polite and be yourself. The pros remember what’s like to be a Twitter-newbie and will more often than not mention you back. Also, ask people to meet for coffee/lunch/dinner/chatting/anything! I cannot tell you the amazing advice you will learn over a cup of coffee from someone you connected with over Twitter.

Take a leap of faith, I did…and now I’m blogging.

Social media is a great tool, just need to move it from an update to a connection. The things you will learn from Twitter is astonishing, you just need to have the courage to connect.  Make it a promise to yourself to Tweet twice a day, and see where it goes. Look for the people you want to follow and then see who they follow. Trust me, it’ll become a passion.

~I would love to hear your tips about Twitter and other ways I can grow…follow me at @JessiReynolds. Thanks for reading

J