I read the other day – and if I could remember who penned it, I’d give him/her credit… apologies upfront – that the concept of writer’s block is a myth. After all, the author questioned, “Is there such a thing as plumber’s block?” Seems like a logical point. Other professionals get up every morning, go to work and have to deliver results. What makes writers so special?
However, I can personally attest that there are days – despite intense efforts – words just don’t flow from my mind onto the monitor. That’s probably why I wouldn’t have been a good newspaper columnist, and likely the reason these blog entries only come occasionally. If I had to endure the pressure of writing something intelligent and inspiring every morning (or twice daily, if you’re Seth Godin), I’d be in big trouble.
Of course, I know the reason my ideas don’t flow smoothly like water, and instead drip slowly like syrup. It happens whenever there is something blocking the energy from making it’s way to my fingertips. Usually the inspiration well dries up because of another priority, a distraction or being unclear about the point I intend to make. When that happens it’s important for me to get those roadblocks completely taken care of; that’s the only way to clear the path for creating the next posting or e-newsletter.
So whenever you’re stuck, pause and think about the big humps preventing you from completing what you’re trying to accomplish. Push those out of the way and you’ll unleash the clarity you need to move forward.
Recently, a client said he wants to start a blog… yet he has no idea where to begin when it comes to creating content. “You’re a writer, I’m not,” he said. “I’m worried I won’t be able to come up with any ideas. Help me.”
That’s a quandary many folks face when they try to develop thought leadership material on a consistent basis. Since this is my first blog posting in three weeks, you might think I suffer from a similar challenge; however, the reality is I took a vacation, traveled out of town to work with a client’s executive leadership team and stepped back into my former life to produce a series of videos for a client. It’s actually been finding the time to write, not a lack of inspiration, that’s disrupted my plan.
So here’s the approach I recommended to my client to help him get over that ‘writer’s block’ mental hump and, hopefully, allow him to share wonderful ideas with his desired audience. First, keep your eyes open for insights that appear before you. These may come from reading an article, having a discussion with a client or friend, or reveal themselves in a late night dream. The key is to connect the dots with a “that’s something I would like to write about” realization.
Second, keep an ongoing list of these ideas near your keyboard. Then when you’re ready to write, you won’t have to sit down and stare at the screen hoping some idea pops into your head. Third, and this is a new awareness I’m testing today, block time to write four or more entries at once. Then you simply have to schedule them to post at regular intervals. That’s going to be my way of preventing long interludes between musings.
Finally, and this is the most important lesson on writing I learned – and it came in the fourth year of creating my monthly E-Newsletter – never worry about what your readers think. If it’s well thought out, true to what you believe and comes from your heart, then your part is complete. Allow your viewpoint to resonate with those who are open to receiving it.
Continuing counting down the Top 10 things I learned in 2009:
Hold That Tiger – Dan Jenkins, the legendary former SI writer and author of many humorous sports novels, once described the “10 Stages of Drunkenness.” Number one is ‘Witty and Charming.’ Four is ‘Clairvoyant.’ Six is ‘Patriotic.’ Nine and Ten: ‘Invisible’ and ‘Bulletproof.’ In the last three weeks, we learned the invincible Tiger Woods was drunk on power and wealth. The meteoric fall from grace of another high-profile celebrity is a reminder that happiness does not come from money and fame. If it did, then so many blessed with so much wouldn’t act so little.