Tips for Beating Writer’s Block: Proposal Edition

Writer’s block strikes at the most inopportune times. In a field governed by compliance and stringent deadlines, there’s no time to be struck down by writer’s block when you’re writing a proposal. Here are our top tips to keep your project on track.

Have a Plan.

A solid proposal requires a solid proposal plan. As you read through the RFP, write down which sections need responses and where they appear. This initial plan will establish the sections that need to be addressed and will guide your writing process.

If you become stuck on one section, make a note to come back to it and move on to another section. A proposal plan with progress indicators allows you to keep track of which sections are complete or which need more work without having to stick to an entirely linear process.

Set Up Your Template First.

Blank documents are less than thrilling. In fact, they can be terrifying. The easy solution: don’t start writing on a blank document. Most proposals will have the following sections:

  • Cover Page
  • Cover Letter
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Solutions Summary
  • Pricing

Set up the known parts of your template including styles, page numbers, proposal sections, headers, footers, and a cover page. From there, you can begin to tackle the proposal piece by piece without feeling overwhelmed by empty pages.

Create an outline.

Larger proposals are often outlined in their entirety, but smaller proposals or bids with a quicker turnaround don’t usually get this treatment. In this case, draft your own quick outline for sections that trip you up.

Sometimes all it takes is a few bullet points with a general idea of what you want to convey to get the creative juices flowing. If you create an outline but still feel stuck, take a break to work on a different section and come back to it later.

Seek Guidance.

This may include looking at past proposals or content library, soliciting advice from team members, or holding a call with subject matter experts to find inspiration. Sometimes writer’s block comes from being unclear about the solution or client. Other times your writer’s block may stem from the stress of having too little information or being overwhelmed by too much information. Assessing where your writer’s block is coming from can help break the cycle.

Take a Break.

When all else fails, step away from the computer. Step out and get a breath of fresh air, chat with a coworker, grab a coffee, or just take some time to decompress.

There is nothing wrong with hitting a wall and needing to take a break – even if that break consists of other work. Taking a step back from writing can help clear your mind and get you back on track.

Key Takeaways:

  • Planning and organization is paramount in proposal writing. Being compliant with an RFP means we must be thorough and have a clear concept of the proposal requirements.
  • The writing process doesn’t have to be linear. Bouncing between sections is no sin, as long as you have some method for keeping track of your progress.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

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