Writers block!  Analysis paralysis! Do you get it? Do you hate it?  How do you overcome it?

I’ve been struggling with analysis paralysis a bit over the past few months.  Busy home life has led to a crowded mind – and when my mind is noisy I find it hard to get to that quiet place where my report writing starts to flow naturally.  For me, there comes a point that everything starts to fall in order and then I can start my story, but until that point, I can stare at my computer screen for hours and nothing good will come of it!  Nothing at all…(well, maybe a few good Facebook status updates, my book-keeping, this blog post… I might pay a few bills… but that’s not really what I’m trying to get done!).  But in the past few years, I’ve found a way to combat analysis paralysis (or PowerPoint-stage fright), which I thought I’d share…

…But first a bit of back story…

I entered the workforce when computers and PowerPoint were well and truly standard (heck, I entered primary school when they had computers in the class… they may have been Apple Macintosh’s or Commodore 64’s, but they were there).  In any research job that I’ve had, it has been expected that I could not only create but format my own PowerPoint slides… and I like to think I’m quite good at it.  So when I started working for a new firm a few years back, one of the most confronting things I’ve ever experienced in my career was being told that I was not to create my own slides – but instead draw them.  Old Skool.  With a pencil…

Old Skool.

Ooh, I hated that idea.  I really did – I’d never worked in this analog world where paper drafts were taken by a production team and crafted into presentations.  I was the master of my own PowerPoint.  I didn’t know the first thing about writing a slide long hand.  (Have I ever mentioned that I’m generally someone who doesn’t like change?)

But then, I had a go.  And you know what?  I kinda like it.  There’s something about a fresh blank page that is less intimidating than a blank computer screen.  When I am really struggling starting writing, I find this a really great way to change perspective and get to that ‘quiet place’ in my mind where the story just flows.  (I also find the same thing happens when I go to work in coffee shops or airport lounges – it’s that change in perspective that really helps)

So… next time PowerPoint is staring back at you blankly, give pencil and paper a go!

Good luck with your presentations and have a great week!

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