Don’t obsess with the lede. Don’t be afraid to write the lede last.
Follow this four-step process. It often works to clear journo-writer’s block.
- Just write-free form. Start writing down quotes from sources and notes from your notebooks. Go back through your notes and use symbols to group each quote or fact by subject
- Write three or four paragraphs based on these subject groupings. Do this quickly. Don’t pay too much attention to grammar or form.
- Take three deep breathes. Then ask yourself: “What matters here?” “What’s the headline”
- Create a chain diagram of the answer that emerges.
At this point, your brain will be more familiar with the content and will have started to organize the story into a narrative for you. Your perspective on your material will change.