Work with, not against, your brain
I don’t believe in writer’s block. Never had time for it. Blank page? I’ll take two, please. I’ve never met the muse. She sounds delightful, but she’s never knocked on my door.
“There is a muse,” writes novelist Stephen King. “But he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station.
“He lives in the ground. He’s a basement guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there, you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you.”
Still, every writer struggles with times when you’d rather be reading a book than writing one — or heading to the coffee shop instead of the office. So how can you put words on paper when you can’t think of what to write?
Use the creative process.
What passes for writer’s block is usually a process problem. The more you understand how your brain works, the more likely you are to come up with a good method for writing.
I use the five-step creative process, for instance, every day. It looks like this:
- Forage, or gather information. This is the “feed your brain” step of the process. Here’s where you interview subject matter experts and turn to Google for the raw material that will become your story.
- Analyze that information. Focus, sift and organize it to see how the pieces fit together. (Bonus: During this step, you are also uploading this information to your brain.)
- Incubate, or let the information simmer. Let your subconscious mind mull over the message.
- Break through, or get to the “Aha!” Here, you’ll answer questions like “What should I use for my lead?” and “How am I going to organize this thing?”
- Knuckle down, or take Ernest Hemingway’s advice and “apply the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair.” In other words, start writing.
Skip any of these steps or carry them out in the wrong order, and you may have trouble figuring out what to write.
Master the magic of the creative process
Have you ever come up with a brilliant idea — on the way home from the brainstorming meeting? Developed a creative theme for the annual report while pulling weeds? Written the perfect headline in the shower?
If so, you’ve tapped into the wonderful and productive world of the creative process.
Now you can learn to access this superpower every single day at Write Better, Easier & Faster — our writing-process workshop starting Dec. 12.
There, you’ll learn to come up with brilliant solutions to communication problems and overcome writer’s block and procrastination by working with — not against — your brain.
Save up to $100 with our group discounts.