Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Unblock The Block

by Janae Cummings, PR Associate

I’m a junkie for the written word. I live and breathe it, so when writer’s block sets in and I am suddenly unable to produce it, I panic. Not on the outside, mind you. To the untrained eye, I am cold steel. But on the inside, I’m like the frantic lunatic who’s drowning in the shallow end of the pool. The nice thing is that these days, I’m better at recognizing when I’m in the shallow end, and within a few minutes, I can put my feet down, follow a few proven steps and get started.

1. Shelve the creativity
All copy requires mundane, technical information, so take care of that first. You don’t need to be creative or think up clever turns of phrase. Just introduce the product and write the specs. 85% of the project will be done before you know it.

2. Surf the Internet
I was once told that reading additional product or competitor information would cure a block. I would have been better off going home for the day. If you need to read to make progress, I suggest the Internet. Really. Whether you’re into sports, celebrity gossip or political news, opening yourself up to different writing styles and topics can help jumpstart napping creative brain cells.

3. Listen to Music
Open iTunes, kick back in your chair and absorb. But rather than falling in with the beat, listen to the lyrics and write down your favorite lines. You’d be surprised how creative musicians can be even in the age of the Black Eyed Peas. Play with the words, rearrange them, edit them, improve upon them. Soon enough, you’ll have your own creative groove back.

4. Walk away
The more you press, the harder this will be, so if you’re still striking out, get up and leave. Not for good, of course. This is a temporary step. Take a walk, go to Starbucks, get some ice cream. Whatever you do, stop thinking about writing because at this point, it’s a part of the problem, not the solution.

5. Freewrite
Pull out a notepad and start writing. It doesn’t matter what you write, just that you’re doing it. My most recent attempts have included songs from Schoolhouse Rock, descriptions of co-workers and a list of words that I think should exist but don’t.

If these five steps don’t cure your writer’s block, you may want to contact your supervisor and ask for a mental health day. You probably need it.

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