By Elaine Zeinner

I spend every day writing blogs, social media posts, brochures, websites, plans, strategies– you name it. That may sound like torture to some, but to me – well, honestly – I love it.

I love the challenge of finding the right tone and voice for the client or the exact combination of words to connect with an audience. I enjoy getting to know healthcare systems and discovering their “why” and bringing that unique passion and culture to life.

However, there are still days that I find myself staring at a blank screen and wondering what in the world to write. Sometimes, when panic begins to set in and deadlines loom, I need to get out of that writing rut. Here are four of my go-to strategies to help get my creative juices flowing once again:

1. Step away from the computer

When I’m not sure how I want to approach a project, one of the best things for me to do is to simply move away from my desk. I’ll go for a walk or do some chores around the house. The short mental break helps me refocus my attention.  Before I know it, I’ll be scribbling notes and thoughts down on whatever piece of paper is nearby. When I can get that outline or main idea down, it’s much easier to sit back down and get started. 

2. Read

Like many writers, I’m a total book nerd. Not only is reading an escape, but a great inspiration on how to develop and create compelling stories. I look for how an author brings a character to life. Connecting to the reader with clear and powerful writing is particularly important in healthcare communications. Our audiences are reading to learn more about their own health or the health of a loved one.

Patient testimonials, physician bios and meet-the-team sections of websites are great opportunities to add color and emotion to healthcare information, and bring your providers, staff and services to life for the community you serve.

3. Take a risk

If you are really stuck in a rut, it may be time to take a risk. Try something new like testing a new-to-you channel, or experiment with a new campaign on social media. Take a little time to research your competitors and benchmark companies outside healthcare to find creative ways to connect with patients.

You may also want to consider hitting the pause button. It’s important to take a step back to evaluate, measure and adjust your content strategy to make sure it’s still hitting the mark.

If you’re getting burned out, your audience may be getting tired too. You don’t need to go radio silent for an extended period of time, but missing a post to refocus your attention on strategy is always time well spent.

4. Get help

I feel overwhelmed when I’ve said yes to too many projects. It can be difficult to focus on one thing at a time. One of the best things I’ve learned to do is ask for help. That may be an extra pair of eyes on something, a quick chat with a coworker to brainstorm ideas or seeing what I can hand off to others so that I can focus on what’s most important. It helps me get out of my rut, and it always pushes me to be a better writer.

How do you get out of a writing rut? Share your ideas with us in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.