But you just can’t. Writer’s block has hit you hard and it seems like there is no way out. You have tried every technique but it seems that when you sit down at your desk to write out your thoughts nothing comes out the way you want it to. Either that or your brain seems to go entirely blank.
“It doesn’t make sense!” You think to yourself.
“I have no problem talking about it to people in conversation. But every time I try to turn it into a script, it never goes well.”
Well, my friend, I am here to tell you that you are not alone. I have been where you are and have fought the same battle. Writer’s block is definitely a struggle that people fight against but out of the sheer goodness of my heart, I want to encourage you by saying there are battle strategies against this problem and I am about to tell you my favorite one.
In my last year of competing in high school debate, I “invented” a new technique for speech writing. This technique utilizes conversation as the engine to create a script. Instead of sitting down at your laptop and hoping that you will write a speech out the exact way you want it on the first try, try using the following steps as a different strategy to craft the perfect speech.
STEP 1: Formulate your thoughts
Write out a general outline of the speech. Only use keywords or ideas. Avoid non-essential words like “and, or, the” and full sentences. Start with your intro, then outline the body of your speech through bullet points, and finish with your conclusion. If you did it correctly, it should be no longer than 1 page worth of content with lots of open space.
STEP 2: Record your thoughts
Now that you have a general idea of what you want your thoughts to look like for your speech, grab a friend or family member (or you can do it by yourself also) and start talking to them about your speech while using your outline as a reference. This recording should last at least 15 – 20 minutes long. As you get farther into the recording, you will hopefully have moments where you forget that you are recording yourself and just get lost in the conversation – this is exactly what we are looking for! If you find yourself going on a tangent, go for it! Any piece of content from the recording is valuable.
STEP 3: Transcribe your thoughts
This is often the longest part of the process. Once you have a recording of your conversation, sit down and replay the recording while writing down everything from the recording. Let me be clear, write down everything. Do not edit or cut things out as you go, transcribe the entire thing.
STEP 4: Edit your thoughts into a speech
This is where the magic happens!! Now that you have pages and pages of content from your recording, start editing it down into what you want the speech to look like. Try and keep your original wording as best as you can and if you find sections of the recording where you or the person you were talking to said something really well, use it!! This part of the process might take some time, but trust me, it is worth it. Eventually, you will find a speech start to form!
Sometimes, you might have to do multiple recordings. Other times, you might decide to record someone else talking. Either way, I hope that this technique will serve you well in your journey as a speechwriter!