Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The block stops here

Every so often, I get a serious case of writer’s block. Like tonight for example. I think I just stared at the screen for about two hours because I couldn’t think of anything to write. But I suppose I’m pretty used to it, especially being a copywriter. Sometimes when I need a clever headline or a witty quote, my brain freezes up, making it impossible to have a coherent thought. When it comes to that, I have a few things I always do to get myself back on track:

1. Read the thesaurus. I tend to stick to the online versions, but once in a blue moon when I’m really stuck, I pull out the giant thesaurus I have sitting on my desk. I try to make it like a game. How many words can I string together before getting back to the same word. Or I like to see how far I can stray from the original word I looked up. Yeah, I’m a total nerd.

2. Make words lists. Post-Its are pretty much my best friend. One of my college professors once had us do an exercise where we were given a product and then had 5 minutes to write every single word that popped into our head. The goal was to fill as many sheets of paper as possible, so you didn’t have time to dwell on each specific word. And it worked. Everyone in the class ended up with really clever ideas they hadn’t thought of before.

3. Avoid over-thinking. I tend to do it way too often. If you’re too critical of your ideas, it might hinder the creative process. When in doubt, write it out, even if it seems silly. You never know where that thought might lead you. Plus, sometimes it helps to clear your mind of the crazies.

4. If time isn’t an issue, put the project aside and try again later. That’s usually the best time to sneak in a little surf of the Internet. Sometimes catching up on celebrity gossip helps you think, right?

5. Doodle. I personally tend to favor palm trees, flowers and fun geometric patterns showing off all the colors of the Sharpie rainbow. I never quite got over my love of coloring.

But tonight, none of them seemed to work. So I thought I’d cure my writer’s block by just writing about writer’s block. And in the meantime, see how many times I could write the word “write” in a post. Write, write, write!

Do any of you have any cures for writer’s block? If so, go ahead and share with the class. Happy writing everyone!


Anonymous said...

Yep, I know what it feels like! I do pretty much the same as you - just writing down any and all ideas, random words and combing the thesaurus.

Marcie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcie said...

When I have writer block, I work out. If I don't have very much time, I walk a lap around the parking lot (at work) or stop by a colleague's desk and chat for a few minutes. That usually helps me.

Great post.


janjan said...

When I'm experiencing writer's block I'll take some time off. Usually my creative juices come out when it's almost deadline. That's how I cure it - beat the deadline.

nmaha said...

Hi WGs, I just love your blog. Thanks for the tips on writer's block, will definitely use them the next time I am stuck. I've just started my own blog, after years of writing a diary. Please check it out at http://morethanjustmummy.blogspot.com/ and let me know what you think.

Jessie said...

when i get writer's block, i just let my fingers type. i never think, just go. it's amazing what my fingers will do on their own!

Domesticated-Bliss said...

these are great exercises for writer's block! thanks!

Mrs Soup said...

If I get writers block, I like copying something else. I'll open a webpage (newspaper sites are great) and just start copying typing what is on there. It lets my mind wander and my fingers keep going. Then I'm usually able to write what I want to write because my mind is free enough and my fingers haven't stopped doing what they are suppose to be doing.

Rahul said...

Cure for writer's block.

Hard Hard alcohol.

Oh sweet alcohol, unlock my brain!

Megha Singhal said...

Hi WG,

Thats some really nice stuff. Well when I get a writer block, I open up my writer and just type in my thoughts without aby organization. Take a 10 min break and then work on the organization. It has been working so far.

BTW, if you havent checked my blog - i have tagged you for an award:-)