Have you ever woke up in the middle of the night with a great idea?Only to forget later because you fell back asleep without jotting it down? Maybe you did write your idea down or sketched it out. But when you sat down to flesh it out, you froze because you don’t know how, or where, to start?

Fear not. It happens to everyone. Whether you’re a content creator. write memos at work, or simple just enjoy random sketching or writing short stories for fun, we all get what’s commonly referred to as - writer’s block.

It happened to me when I wrote SketchCop – Drawing A Line Against Crime, During the writing process, my biggest challenge was writer’s block. After a career spent writing millions of words onto tens of thousands of pages of police reports, you would think that writing a book would be a simple task. Not true. Writers block is something that creators commonly suffer from.

I’ll bet it’s already happened to you. Think back to when you were stuck staring at a blank computer screen. Instead of seeing the words you hoped to write, all you could see was the look of frustration staring back from the reflection of that empty page on your computer screen. It’s that look that makes you want to throw your hands in the air and give up. DON”T! Keep after it.

In my opinion, surrender is NEVER an option. But taking a short break never hurts. Many times, I’ll walk away and give my brain and my eyes a rest. You have to. Taking those occasional breaks and returning with a fresh set of eyes AND a new attitude is the best approach. Walking away from my work is a technique I learned as an artist. It’s something that I still do when I am working on commissioned art, or a forensic facial imaging project.

Here are some helpful hints that might help you overcome writer’s block.

#1 – Just start writing and keep on writing. Let your thoughts and words spill onto the page in their full glory. Don’t worry about poor spelling, poor grammar, or poor sentence structure. I wouldn’t even worry about how it reads. All that matters, at that point, is that you put something down. You can always go back and tidy things up later. Most important is that the idea gets on paper. (Besides, that’s what editors and supportive partners are for!)

#2) Keep a journal nearby. Or keep a pen in your pocket to jot ideas down. Napkins are always handy, or receipts that you keep stuffed inside your pockets. Or maybe, if you’re a tech geek like me, your smart phone or tablet will help. There are many times I have been jolted awake at 2 a.m. and just had to jot that idea down before the moment of inspiration passed.

#3 Create a quiet place to write or draw. Believe it or not, sometimes the noisiest places are the quietest.

#4 Remember - there is no perfect time to start writing or creating a piece of art. You just have to get started…at any place or anytime

I hope those tips are helpful. My best advice is not to panic. Writer’s block will happen. You just have to push through it. And before long, your book, or art project, will be finished and you’ll be ready to tackle the next one.

Each of us has a book inside of us just waiting to be written. Maybe, it’s like mine – true crime. Or maybe you have always enjoyed art and wanted to add another option to your law enforcement career. The SketchCop Academy is a great place to begin. The cool thing is – you don’t have to be an artist to create great faces. Only a desire to learn. We’ll teach you the rest.

The best way to begin is to sign up for our monthly newsletter, or maybe even a couple of courses. My recommendation? Get an idea of where you want to begin and then -GO FOR IT!

~Michael--The SketchCop®