Even those who have great aptitude in writing sometimes find themselves with literally NO WORDS! Unlike our verbal language, writing is actually one of the most difficult activities that we humans use to formalize communication sin la boca (without your mouth if you don’t speak Spanish). It sounds simple but as Wikipedia has defined it: writer’s block is “a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand.” Uh, yeah- I couldn’t have said it better. But what does one do when the deadline is looming and the children are to bed and it’s man vs. machine and you realize…I’VE GOT NOTHIN’! Thank God writing pro’s like Mike Rose (famed UCLA Graduate School faculty member and author) even acknowledges that it truly is “an inability to begin or continue writing for reasons other than lack of basic skill or commitment“. Whew…I’m off the hook a little! But now what do I do about it?
Why do you we do this to ourselves…it‘s supposed to speak back to you right? Like in some gone from a book to the big screen movie—the leading character is some highly paid British actor/actress paid to throw their laptop out the window of their 5th story NYC walk-up in utter despair. Yeah…in the real world most of us don’t have the kind of money that allows for those despairing moments. So I have opted not to spend hours wasting good wine or time employing this useless tactic. Instead I think it’s best to stare at something else. Walk around your house- look at some pictures, clean, cook, do a little laundry or run an errand. Heck, play with your kid or a game of chess with your spouse. Do something else besides stewing in the quagmire of I have no clue. You would be amazed how making the best salmon with a lemon dill sauce can jump-start a blog idea. Personal Example: One day I was frustrated about a concept I dreamt about (and DID NOT GET UP & WRITE IT DOWN.. I know bad, bad, bad) and was about to scream when my daughter asked me to color with her. As I was taking note of how precise my “staying within the lines” was and how the unbridled charm of a child’s Crayola skills were, yes the cliché lightbulb went off. And before you knew it, while she was still coloring outside the lines, I was pecking away on my laptop. Writers cramp over came writers block and I was grateful for it.
You know what they say in real estate…Location, Location Location. And I agree. After a very busy weekend and stressful morning I found myself not able to color in anybody’s lines or muster up enough energy required to even stare at a blank page. So what else could I do to get the boost usually relegated to a high-priced cup of Starbucks coffee? I went outside. Yup in the lovely 70° weather, I listened to the sounds of a almost perfect May day in Connecticut. And before I knew it, several titles/concepts came to me which enabled me to write this blog AND birth 2-3 ideas for some other projects. Fantastic right! Sometimes a simple change of location can do wonders for inspiration. Being jailed at your desk is not worth it when you can get some fresh air and use the objects/sounds/feelings around you to motivate your imagination. Like an artist who can use a host of colors or materials to create their masterpiece, so can writers. And I’m not talking laptop vs. plume…I mean what you use to connect ideas/concepts/words together to tap into your linguistic intelligence and unlock the door to your next novella.
1.) Interview a customer about particular concerns/challenges as well as solutions and then blog about it. I’m sure they will love the attention & it gets their name advertised in social media for free. Or you can opt to share an anecdote about an issue that occurred in your own business, from the problem to the solution.
2.) Dialogue with industry-friends via social media and let the responses shape a blog post or video blog with them weighing in on topics relevant to industry news items.
3.) Consider product or service comparisons, a Consumer Reports of sort but on issues like social media, graphic design, use of WordPress themes vs. traditional HTML websites.
4.) Report on a conference or webinar you attended giving perspective to real issues facing people in your own industry or some great highlights and tricks of the trade that you learned.
5.) Address customer questions you’ve received on the same topic/aspect of service. This lets them know that you’re listening and are willing to receive feedback once it’s out on the www.
6.) Expand upon a comment you wrote on someone else’s blog & parlay that into your own blog post. Tread lightly here, these are your peers after all. But bringing in a different angle never hurts.
7.) Correlate what inspires your daily life into the business world and create a blog connection. Hence, look out for my upcoming blog “Coloring In and Out of the Lines in Social Media” – thanks to my daughter’s crayons.