How to Handle Writer’s Block like a Professional

Posted on

Ah, the fickleness of the creative brain.  Not normally prone to writer’s block, at least on the mega-scale, I recently fell afoul of the evil blankness/brick wall/blank page.  There are many names for this dreaded condition and you don’t have to be a writer to experience the dreaded block.  In my case there appeared to be enough blocks to build a small building, which is eventually what I went off and did, in an attempt to be at least constructive on some level.  I now have a lovely porch and am almost up-to-date with the more important writing projects on what seemed at one point to be an endless list.  For me, block, if it happens, usually occurs in small manageable chunks, so along with a little introspection I’ve been digging around in the dark depths of other creative minds to see how they cope with that sudden, shocking inability to actually get anything done.

writers-block-II
Image: photosteve101

Idleness is Good

We live in an always on world where we’re encouraged to constantly interact and constantly seek entertainment.  Sometimes this can be overwhelming and it’s not a bad idea to sit back and listen to nothing, watch nothing and ignore everything once in a while.  There’s a growing theory that by doing less we are more productive.  This may just be a response to the recession and general lack of things to do, but there is some truth in it.  Especially, but not wholly, in creative industries working a twelve hour day can lead to a complete mental block.

De-constructivism

Doing things that are not remotely constructive is also great for the creative mind.  This is considered a crucial part of the creative process by many writers and artists.  I’m in complete agreement on this one!  Things that aren’t constructive include having long baths, going for walks with no firm destination in mind, procrastinating, staring out of a window, listening to rain, and browsing through the shelves of a bookshop.  Apart from offering a little healthy exercise, in at least one case, these allegedly un-constructive activities play a crucial role in being creative.  Relaxation is essential for moments of insight; our brains are never inactive, however much they may appear to be.  The brain doesn’t work by thinking things logically, but does its thing through a series of lateral jumps, taking and processing a range of ideas and concepts, memories to create ideas.  If you sit back and listen to your own thought processes carefully it sounds a bit like the raving of a crazy person, but it seems to work!

Oh, yes; now for the hard bit.

So idleness, relaxation and general procrastination are all good for the creative brain.  It’s during these moments that the epiphany strikes, the Eureka moment and the much sought after flash of inspiration. Those moments of inspiration rarely, very rarely, come when you’re staring at a screen (or several) and actually getting on with the hard graft bit of writing; which brings us nicely to the ninety per cent perspiration and the ten per cent inspiration equation.  Much of the writing process, and any other creative one, is about hard work.  Grit, determination a great deal of obstinacy can be what it takes to succeed.  What many none writers/artists may see as an enviable lifestyle may seem less attractive if they were to give it a go.  I wouldn’t even go so far as to say that writing is ten per cent inspiration; it’s probably more like one.  The rest is the sheer hard work of writing, editing, re-editing and occasionally scrapping everything and starting all over again.  Hopefully, nobody reading this will need advice on how to break through mega-block, but if you do, the gist is; go out and do something less useful instead, then come back in and get on with it!

Guest blogging service can be a great way to promote your company and spread the word about your products.  The pressure to find ideas for your next blog post can, occasional, leave you staring at blank screen.  If writer’s block is blocking up your blogging efforts, try doing something completely un-constructive and thoroughly idle with your time; your brain will do the hard work in the background!

Ian is a Copywriter from the UK, read more on his Linkedin Profile.