Writer’s Block? Not In My House!


<Requisite apology for not blogging in a while>

It has been an insanely busy 2 weeks. While I could probably write an entire post on that, I find it unlikely that it would really interest anyway. Despite how it may appear, I have not in fact abandoned Life in B-Flat, and will hopefully be resuming a much more frequent writing schedule in near future. For now though, I wanted to re-purpose a blog post I wrote for our company blog. This post has not actually been posted on our company blog yet, so I will probably get in trouble for using it here, because it’ll jack up the SEO or something.  I’m willing to weather that storm, or I’ll just write another post for the company if Vicky so demands it.

I’ve written about writer’s block before, but in this post I have actual tips on how to avoid or counter its effects. It’s my hope that my methods for defeating the block will work for you as well. If they don’t, then I at least hope that you’ll be entertained.

Until next time then!

– Andy

Did you know that the cursor on a Microsoft Word document blinks 56 times per minute? If you’ve ever had writer’s block, you probably do. Why is that? Why couldn’t they have just timed it so that it blinks once per second? Either there’s some hidden meaning there that only Bill Gates knows, or someone at Microsoft is just lazy. Suffice it to say, I’m sitting here at my desk under strict orders from Vicky to create a new post for the company blog, and I really don’t want to find out what happens if I don’t. Normally Vicky is pretty docile, but if you don’t send her blog content, I think she has the capacity to go all Stephen King on you. The longer I sit here though, the more I realize that I’m not the only person in the world who gets stricken with writer’s block. As a matter of fact, I’m willing to bet that a lot of people suffer the exact same thing when it comes time for them to generate content for their website. And so, I present to you 5 ways in which to avoid, stave off, and in some cases, power your way through writer’s block so that you too can have awesome website content:

1)       Keep a notepad handy – Tragically, some of the best stories never told are so because a great idea or topic disappeared before the writer could get it down on paper. You never know when or where inspiration will strike you, but in my experience, it’s rarely when I’m sitting in front of a computer. By keeping easy access to a notepad, be it a $600 iPad or a $0.60 notebook and pencil, you’ll always have a way to capture your ideas before they fly away forever.

2)       Don’t write on an empty stomach / mind – Despite the fact that I spent my entire college career trying to disprove this theory, one does not do their best writing when they are on the edge of starvation or seconds away from face planting on their keyboard in a coma. Before you sit down to write, make sure you’re well rested and well fed. By doing this, you’ll free your mind from internal distraction. From there, you can engage in an 8 hour blitz in which you write a 20 page term paper in one night only to turn it in and get an A the next day. Or, if you’re a normal person, it’ll let you focus your mind and help ensure that you’re writing at your best that day.

3)       Do your homework – One of the worst tortures I can imagine, aside from being forced to watch a Jersey Shore marathon, is having to read something when it’s clear that the author has absolutely no idea what he or she is talking about. Don’t insult your audience by blathering on with empty rhetoric that goes nowhere. Do the necessary research on the topic at hand in order to write intelligently, because if you don’t, your readers are unlikely to give you a second chance. Unless they just finished watching a Jersey Shore marathon. Of course, if that’s the case, the chance that they can read at all is pretty small.

Editor’s Note: The views expressed toward Jersey Shore are reflective of the author alone, and have no bearing on the company’s views toward the aforementioned program.

4)       Know where you’re going – In addition to serving as the slogan for a very fine company, knowing where you’re going will keep you from wandering into a literary wilderness. Before you write, consider creating an outline for what you want to write about. By doing this, you’ll not only ensure that you stay on topic, but you’ll know exactly when to take it home in a glorious, triumphant conclusion.

5)       Just do it – No, this is not a plug for Nike. They don’t need any free advertising. Personally, this is my favorite method for defeating writer’s block. When I opened up this word doc, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to write about. And so, I just started writing. While this method may require extensive revisions by the time you’re done, I find that it’s incredibly freeing and often the catalyst for truly inspired writing. You may, at this point, be accusing me of contrasting with my earlier recommendation to create an outline before you write. A lot of times I do use that method, but one thing I’ve found over the years is that there is no perfect writing method for all situations. Sometimes you do need to create a firm outline before starting out. However, there are those moments when, in the words of Tin Cup, you just have to grip it and rip it. Those times are my favorite, because when you don’t know where you’ll end up, it’s like travelling to an undiscovered country. And that, my friends, was a pretty good Star Trek movie.

And so, 800 or so words later, I’ve completed my assignment. Writer’s block can be the bane of existence, to the point where you’ll want to head butt your monitor but you can’t because it’s the company’s monitor and Support will chew you out for damaging their equipment again. Therefore, instead of risking a concussion or having to replace your equipment, try utilizing the methods I’ve listed above. I can’t promise that they’ll work for you, but they do work for me. And, if just one of us can avoid writer’s block, then there will continue to be life, liberty, and web content from sea to shining sea.

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