Sunday, March 8, 2009

How to overcome writer's block

You know the feeling. You stare at that blank computer screen with a totally blank mind, typing lame attempts at some kind of sentence -

... The night was (erase, erase, erase)

... The other day I (erase, erase, erase, erase)

... This is so retarded I have no idea what I'm doing why did I think I could be a writer I wonder if Sonic is hiring come to think of it I'm starving I think I'll go get some tater tots (drive to Sonic and forget all about lame attempts at writing)

I have two projects on my desk right now that have Writer's Block written all over them. In fact, they should have come with warning labels -

"WARNING: Do not attempt to actually write these projects or your brain will instantly freeze."

My clients expect them back tomorrow so I suppose I really should have a look. groan.

Project number one is a newsletter. Now, I write newsletters all the time. Should be a breeze, right? Wrong. This one is for a client who once complained that my newsletters are boring. Sure, that was only one time out of literally thousands of complaint-free newsletters over the years. But for my perfectionist brain, it's the only one that counts. Now, every time I start to write his newsletter I think "Don't be boring! Don't be boring!" and suddenly I find that I am so boring my articles make people roll their eyes and become semi comatose and wish Al Gore would get up and give a four hour Death By Powerpoint speech.

Project number two is a series of ads. There will be four ads. Here is the extensive and obviously well-thought-out creative brief the client sent:

Auto Loan
Graphics will be based on the eye catching and quirky qualities of the copy.

Let me walk you through the creative process, here. I will explain the do's and don'ts of Writer's Block as I go.

1. Do - study the creative brief. If you are lucky there will be some helpful information in there. If you are me, it will have 18 unhelpful words.

2. Don't - be discouraged if the creative brief is only 18 words long. Remember, you are a writer. You can do this.

3. Do - go do something else. Throw in a load of laundry. Wash the car. Get your mind off the project and a brilliant idea will occur to you, like combining all the topics into one quirky and eye-catching ad, showing a family moving out of their house in the middle of the night because they can't afford their mortgage payment and their investments are worth nothing but they still have the security of their mini-van because thank God they came to XYZ Financial for an auto loan.

There! That wasn't so hard after all.

4. Do - go to Sonic. I know their ads are terrible, but those tater tots are really great. Let me know if they are hiring.


The Retired One said...

You are creative, don't worry...!
Isn't it frustrating when you know you have a deadline? I think it is the pressure of the deadline that makes our brain freeze up. A glass of wine will help? (Or you won't give a damn!) hahaaaaaaa

Lesley said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Retired One! The pressure does get to me, and my deadlines are typically "Yesterday Or Sooner." I cannot admit to the glass of wine, in case someone from church happens to read this. But hypothetically I can see how it might help.

Fran Hill said...

Lesley, I'm not from your church but I am from a church. Have two glasses. Everything then writes itself. (Can't speak for the results, mind.)

Lesley said...

Fran, maybe I need to change churches! I think I would be a creative genius after two glasses. Either that or I would be asleep.

The Retired One said...

I forgot to tell you...head on over to my blog site, there is a blogger's award waiting for you there!


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