Do you enjoy stress? I don’t think so. That’s why National Stress Awareness Month exists. During April, health professionals strive “to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society,” according to the promoters’ official website.
Thinking about sources of stress for writers, I came up with the three topics that I discuss below, along with their solutions.
1. Generating ideas
A blank piece of paper or computer screen is intimidating. You can avoid this stress if you are always collecting ideas. If you’re more of a talker than a writer, dictate your ideas like this portfolio manager. Alternatively, you can jot them down on paper or in an electronic format. One nice thing about saving ideas electronically—whether you use Evernote, Microsoft Word or Excel, or some other format—is that later you can search for a specific word.
Your idea list should always include questions that members of your target audience ask. You can also ask questions of your readers.
If no ideas come to mind, consider using mind mapping, which is a key technique in my financial blogging book and my blogging class for financial advisors. You can enlist your colleagues in a group mind-mapping exercise. Still short on ideas to mind map? Barbie may help, as I discovered. A blogging buddy may also ride to your rescue.
2. Finding and avoiding errors
It’s hard to proofread your own work for grammar, punctuation, and other usage errors. Plus, it’s embarrassing when errors slip through.
The easiest solution is to hire a professional to check your work. On a tight budget? Get a colleague to check it.
But sometimes you’re the only person who can check your text. Using software’s text-to-speech function is the basis of one of my most powerful proofreading tips.
Text can be perfect in terms of usage, but contain errors, as I’ve experienced firsthand. I have tips to help you get your numbers right.
3. Getting along with people who are important to your writing
I have written about how to get along with others whether you’re a marketer overseeing writers, a compliance officer, or a writer or editor.
Here are some posts:
An overall help for writing-related stress
You can reduce your overall stress by putting processes in place to systematize how you approach common challenges. Starting to create processes is a great way to kick off National Stress Awareness Month.
Basically, the less you have to think about your next step, the less stress you will feel. My post on 8 reasons you need a financial blogging process goes into more detail on this.
Even something as simple as creating style guidelines is a practical step toward creating a process. It can reduce the number of stressful decisions you need to make.
Thanks, Selena Soo!
This post about National Stress Awareness Month was inspired by an events calendar, a technique that I recommended in Use a wacky days list when you run out of blog ideas.
However, it wasn’t my post that sparked this post. Instead, it was Selena Soo’s 2017 “Publicity Insider” Calendar, a freebie on her website. Skimming my download, my eyes fixed on National Stress Awareness Month, and this blog post was born.
This reminds me that you should always keep reading, even if you think you already know everything another expert may know. The results may surprise you.