LawProse Lesson #428: Your biggest writing challenges (no time, constant interruptions, writer’s block, expected negative reactions)

LawProse Lesson #428: Your biggest writing challenges (no time, constant interruptions, writer’s block, expected negative reactions)

You face several challenges as a writer, some of which you might not even be fully conscious of. But the big ones are obvious:

“I don’t have the time!” The reality is that you must have the time. You must make the time. Lawyers must write more efficiently today than ever before. The good news is that you can learn a four-step technique to enhance speed and quality—no matter how effective you think you already are. You’ll produce better work in less time.

“I’m constantly interrupted!” If disturbances keep grinding you to a halt, you must develop some habits to preempt the problem. You may need to write outside normal business hours. Bryan Garner has always written outside the normal workday, whether it’s his ABA Journal column (“Garner on Words”), his National Review column (“Garner the Grammarian”), his books, or his brief-writing. Silence your devices, block out some after-hours time, sit down, and write.

“But I have writer’s block!” Of course you do. You might not know the subject well enough. You might have only the vaguest notion of your message. Perhaps you’ve had your confidence shaken by negative experiences. Who hasn’t? You mustn’t let these things turn into a syndrome that afflicts your writer’s mentality. Avoidance, procrastination, and loathing will surely follow—and lead to failures.

If you approach the problem rationally, you can overcome the pitfalls, which everyone has experienced.

“No matter what I write, it’ll be torn to shreds!” If that’s true, what an excellent learning opportunity you have. Compare the before (your draft) with the after (the final work). Analyze what improvements were made. Forget your bruised ego. You shouldn’t need hand-holding. Try to remedy your shortcomings.

“But I’d rather give up!” Come on. You’re a survivor. You can flourish in your career. Nobody forced you into this literary profession. (That’s what the law is.) Whether you know it or not, everything you write has people sizing you up—even your emails. You can’t hide.

So stop resisting and learn to enjoy the most important aspect of your job. The better you get, the more you’ll enjoy it.

Live seminars this year with Professor Bryan A. Garner: Advanced Legal Writing & Editing

Attend the most popular CLE seminar of all time. More than 215,000 people—including lawyers, judges, law clerks, and paralegals—have benefited since the early 1990s. You'll learn the keys to professional writing and acquire no-nonsense techniques to make your letters, memos, and briefs more powerful.

You'll also learn what doesn't work and why—know-how gathered through Professor Garner's unique experience in training lawyers at the country's top law firms, state and federal courts, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies.

Professor Garner gives you the keys to make the most of your writing aptitude—in letters, memos, briefs, and more. The seminar covers five essential skills for persuasive writing:

  • framing issues that arrest the readers' attention;
  • cutting wordiness that wastes readers' time;
  • using transitions deftly to make your argument flow;
  • quoting authority more effectively; and
  • tackling your writing projects more efficiently.

He teaches dozens of techniques that make a big difference. Most important, he shows you what doesn't work—and why—and how to cultivate skillfulness.

Register to reserve your spot today.

Have you wanted to bring Professor Garner to teach your group? Contact us at for more information about in-house seminars.

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