What to Do When You’re Stuck on ‘How to’
What to do when you’re stuck on “how to”? After all, if you don’t know what to do in the first place, how can you figure out to do it? Well, there are actually plenty of ways to approach this problem, and each strategy has its own benefits and drawbacks. In today’s guest post, freelance writer and editor Anne Radcliffe offers some expert advice on how to get unstuck from these types of questions. Enjoy!
How to start
If you don’t know where to start, try asking yourself: How would I solve my problem if I had a billion dollars and unlimited resources? The solution that you come up with may not be your final answer, but it can at least help you generate new ideas and figure out what steps are actually possible. Once you have an answer, start small: Identify a place in your life where your problem is truly getting in your way; for example, maybe your problem is finding time for exercise during busy days—start by figuring out how much time you need every day. What do you need to make that happen?
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What to do when you stuck on “How to”
When you’re in a creative rut and don’t know what to do, look at your process. Are you stuck because you’re trying to start with what? If so, try flipping it around. Focus on how, and see where that takes you. The answer may surprise you.
“How to” a big problem
In a world where we have instant access to all of knowledge, there’s almost too much information about what it means to do. Take Google, for example. From how to fall asleep quickly to how to change your oil, Google has answers for just about everything. The problem is that sometimes these answers are worse than not having any at all.
Cannot think next to “how to”
This is common, and it’s OK. If you find yourself writing how to with nothing next to it, first ask yourself: What does how to mean in my industry? What are readers looking for when they search for how to? Chances are that if you haven’t discovered a solution yet, no one else has either. Or your idea needs more time in development before you invest time or money into launching it.
Is it good or bad
The truth is, how to is neither good nor bad. It’s all in how you use it. If you ask yourself what’s best when creating your how-to content and whether a particular how-to would benefit your target audience, then you’ll be able to answer what’s best when creating your own content. So before you get started, ask yourself: Is my how-to useful? Does it solve a problem for my readers? Does it teach them something they don’t already know? Will they actually follow through with my advice? If so, go ahead and write that post! Otherwise, maybe reconsider if that’s really what your readers need.
“How to” a mystery
If you can’t figure out what you should do when faced with a how to question, ask yourself who might be able to help. At some point in our lives, we’ve all asked a question. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s normal. It’s a part of life.
Sometime “what to” a problem
Sometimes you get stuck with it. It’s what we commonly call writer’s block. In order to break out of that, ask yourself what do I want? or what do I need? That can help break through some of those mental blocks that might be holding you back. Also, try getting away from your computer and going for a walk or something. The fresh air will clear your head and maybe give you some new ideas.
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