Out-thinking Writer’s BlockPosted: Mon 12.05.2011
“You can’t think yourself out of a writing block, you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.” — John Rogers, Kung Fu Monkey, 06-25-11
Everyone gets writer’s block — although the phrase’s Wikipedia entry suggests that it’s a condition primarily associated with writing as a profession, writer’s block can afflict anyone. Trying to write a message in that birthday or holiday card, but unable to find the right words? Spent so much time researching for your dissertation that you’re unable to figure out where to begin? College students, journalists, CEOs, and writers of jingles, letters, and blog posts, writer’s block is a dangerous and frustrating malady that can strike any person, at any time.
To help combat this condition for which modern medicine has not yet found a cure, we have compiled a list of selected resources to fight and demonstrate that, while writer’s block might last a little or a long time, it does not have to be a permanent condition.
Words of Wisdom: Keep Writing
Written by John Biggs and Charlie White, Bloggers Boot Camp educates current and aspiring bloggers on how to build a great blog, looking at the preparatory aspects such as audience identification and blog structure, but more importantly about writing for blogs. The excerpts at Boing-Boing and Tech Crunch both demonstrate useful guides on how to keep writing.
Words of Wisdom: To Keep Writing, Don’t Immediately Self-Censor and Remember to Let Your Mind Play a Little Now and Then
Chris Stawski’s blog post at GradHacker from the end of November suggests that part of what stumbles writers and enables writer’s block is immediate self-censorship. Click, click, click, finish a line, then reread and delete. Instead, this blogger counsels that writers should start and keep writing. Keep writing anything, disregarding spelling and punctuation. Write something, “let your mind run around for a little while”, and you’ll be amazed how this helps your mind relax and return to focus on your task at hand, be it your dissertation or a simple blog post.
Words of Wisdom: Don’t Be Afraid of the Formulaic Posts.
Ali Luke posits that rather than being overdone or overblown, there is a place for formulaic blogging: the formulas are popular because they work. Formulas can provide structure or a template, a place to start. Within this framework, one can still be creative. Finally, the familiarity of formulas can help readers identify your purpose and follow your arguments. Of particular use, this post provides a few examples of the formulas and how they can be used, traditionally and creatively.
Words of Wisdom: Keep An Ideas Folder.
The Daring Librarian‘s posts generally combine good advice and useful content on tools and personal experiences in the world of librarianship with eye-catching visuals and a clear authentic voice; these factors in combination has made it one of my favourite blogs to follow. In her November post on blogging tips, she provides loads of good advice (be professional, be yourself, share shamelessly, give credit and thanks, etc.). Of particular pertinence to the problem of writer’s block, she advises that bloggers (and any writers) should keep an ideas folder. See an interesting post, tweet, comment, or resource that might make a good post? Bookmark it, save it, print it, or somehow keep track of it. When you’re running low on ideas or looking for an inspiration, these can help you brainstorm and finally get started.
What Words of Wisdom do you have for countering writer’s block?