Priceless Writing TipsOvercoming Creative Block: Another Article Covering This Widely Discussed Topic
You’ll empathize with this: the deadline was closing for our next blog posting. Ominously, I couldn’t think of any earth-shaking topics. After all, if you look at our blog, you’ll see that I’ve already covered quite a few.
This moment, when you think you have temporarily run out of ideas, is a dangerous point in any creative process.
This is what is called creative block, and it is exactly what I was experiencing right before writing this article.
You see the article, so what helped me overcome the problem? Analysis! It sounds weird, but in order for me to write an article, I needed to analyze why couldn’t write an article. The analysis itself turned out to be the article! Some might call this an easy way out, but I hope that this article will actually help my readers.
OK, let’s consider step one: looking in the obvious places. “If you want to hide something, put it in plain view” – as said by that early practitioner of the mystery-writer’s craft, E.A. Poe. I was sitting here wondering, “Why can’t I come up with a topic?” Then I ask myself, “ Wait, could this be a topic?”. And that is how you eventually came to see this piece. Make sure, however, that you explore the topic from a point of view that will be interesting to your readers. I hope mine does the job
Step Two is thinking it through. Create an outline of your thoughts. Will you have enough material to broaden the topic and make it informative to a diverse audience? If the idea doesn’t go further than sounding good, then be ruthless about abandoning it. Look online for what others have said on the same or similar subjects, and consider what they have left out, or not covered in as much depth as is possible.
Such oversights leave opportunities open for you to add an original idea on the topic (bookmark all the sites you visit just in case you want to return; you can delete them later). Beware hanging up in paralysis, wasting your time and effort. This brings us to Step Three.
Step Three is moving ahead. If you find yourself spending too much time mulling over an idea, you need to cut your losses. You are wasting precious minutes. If it’s not working out, do something else, and then return to the idea with fresh eyes. This, by the way, is always a good idea! Schedule your tasks such that one task does not consume the whole day. For example, do enjoy soccer? Or video games? Would you enjoy 12 hours straight of either activity? (Game addicts, no need to answer this one!)
For most of us, our attention and performance would drop long before that! Of course, soccer is largely a physical activity, but even in sports, fatigue causes a loss of focus (and thoughtful coaches know that this is when injuries occur). Your brain needs a break, too, in the form of distractions or a rest. This suggests that you should mix your tasks: spend one hour thinking and brainstorming, and half an hour thinking about another project.
You could also set your kitchen timer and allocate a pre-set period of time to cleaning your house, cleaning out emails, balancing your checkbook, then return to the brainstorming/writing. By the end of the day, you will have accomplished something, and you might get your essay done while you’re at it, or some other constructive job.
Step Four is being prepared to go all the way. If you’ve already developed an idea and you have the outline, don’t lose your drive to finish it all up. This represents your PNR – point of no return. Throw all your thoughts onto your screen, and commit to making it through to a conclusion. Otherwise, all your minutes, or hours spent thinking over the idea will eventually be wasted.
My additional suggestion is to go through Steps One through Four while listening to your favorite music, whether band, singer, or orchestra. This definitely boosts moral, and provides an inspirational atmosphere for your workspace.
Thank you for reading the article and I hope you’ll find it useful. If you’re not convinced that each of these steps are legit, I can only add that I managed to write this article using each one of these steps
Good luck with your writing gigs!