5 July 2024

5 ways to overcome fear of a blank page

Writers block is most commonly thought of as something that novelists experience. An extreme example is Jack Torrance in The Shining, where his writers block is just part of what sends him over the edge. While the experience might not be as extreme when writing a tender response, we’ve all sat staring at the blinking cursor, reading and re-reading the question and wondering where to start. Here are some suggestions for the next time you’re stuck in that position.

Take a break

As Mr Torrance so rightly wrote, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. There’s some science to back up the idea with Stanford scientists measuring boosts of up to 60% in creativity when a person takes a walk. The quickest and easiest way to get your creative juices flowing is to step outside and see what happens.

Shred the question

Let’s face it, tender questions aren’t always as concise as they can be. You may get a short question but know that you have to pack a lot into the answer, or you may get a page long list of bullet points you have to address in under 500 words. Either way, you need to develop an answer plan to ensure you get all the information you need packed in.

Start by breaking the question down into sections and add notes of what needs to be covered in that section (pull in ideas from the specification, previous tenders etc.) and lo and behold you are off the blank page and ready to fill in the gaps.

Look at best practice

Most questions will refer to some sort of standard or best practice, either explicitly stated in the tender documents, or that can be gathered from external sources. For example, if you don’t know how to approach a question around the Accessible Information Standard, a quick Google will give you the Five Steps of AIS and you can use those as a foundation for your response.

Put yourself in the Evaluator’s shoes

Another way to get content on the page is to start thinking about what the evaluator is looking for. Most bids include some guidance on this, and if you’re lucky this will be questions specific. In other cases, even the standard marking scheme will give you somewhere to start. For example, evaluation guidance might say that a 5/5 response:

Satisfies the requirement and demonstrates exceptional understanding and evidence in their ability/proposed methodology to deliver a solution for the required supplies/services.  Response identifies factors that will offer potential added value, with evidence to support the response.

This immediately gives you three areas to write about; your understanding of the requirements, your proposed methodology, and added value with evidence.

Knowledge Vault

Understanding the pain of people writing bids, and particularly small businesses who don’t have a dedicated bid team, we developed BidVault Knowledge Vault. It’s a bank of over 200,000 words of pre-written responses to a diverse range of common tender questions. Easily searchable, you can choose from responses up to 2,000 words or as short as 500 and each one has prompts for  you to enter the information that tailors the bid to your organisation and this buyer.

If this sounds like the answer to your prayers, please get in touch to learn more about how BidVault can help you take the leap from a blank page to a fully formed tender response. It’s also a bargain compared with a stay at the Overlook Hotel!

Speak to our team today to find out more.