4 Steps To Get Out Of A Writer's Block

Aatir Abdul Rauf


Aatir Abdul Rauf


Sep 26, 2022

4 Steps To Get Out Of A Writer's Block

Have you ever encountered a writer's block while writing a spec, email, blog or presentation?

Well, here's what I do to circumvent it.

You probably have heard about the rock, pebbles & sand story.

A professor fills up a jar with rocks to the brim and asks his class if there is space to add more.

When they respond no, he starts adding pebbles which fills up the spaces across the jar.

He asks them again if there is space for more. They reply in the negative.

He then proceeds to add sand which seeps into the little gaps left till the jar is completely full.

This is just an illustrative example of iterative development.

And it can be applied beyond code. You could use it on virtually any creative endeavor.

And that's how I write challenging PRDs:

  1. Add in the template headings and edit/remove the headlines
  2. Then, add in high-level bullet points to construct the overall narrative under each heading. They don't have to be proper sentences. Just phrases
  3. Sweep through again expanding each point with examples, visuals and flowcharts
  4. Conduct a final sweep adding in edge cases, caveats, call-outs, etc.

During a writer's block, the limitation you're subliminally imposing on yourself is that you have to create a final product sequentially.

As soon as you drop that constraint and move into random-access mode, thoughts start to flow more freely.

In other words, instead of attempting to Wordsmith the perfect opening line before moving to the next, toss in some broad raw ideas onto the text canvas. Place the "rocks" in.

Let them cook for a while before stirring them into refined sentences.

Often, I write the final paragraph and write the script backwards. Yea, that's right. I call it "Memento" style.

Iterative creation is super powerful. It enables you to de-risk your situation by allowing you to make mistakes and fix them as you go along.

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