Monday, 28 January 2013

Writer's Block

I have been having a hard time coming up with blog topics of late.  Part of the reason is that I have a lot to worry about and that crowds out the mental resources needed to come up with decent subjects.  I also have a difficult time dealing with multiple tasks on a given day and making dinner and doing laundry take precedence over writing.  Anyway, this particular path is a little too well worn.

I've worked for years in the Canadian public service and writing is a daily requirement.  Usually, subjects are foisted on you by management or circumstances, so coming up with a topic isn't usually a problem.  Notwithstanding this, I do remember a couple of times where I just couldn't figure out how to approach some assigned issue and had my drafts returned with comments from my supervisors wondering what the hell I was doing.  I have many professional shortcomings but my ability to write a decent briefing note or policy paper or report or speech have seldom been called into question, so these criticisms sometimes stung.  Nevertheless, at some point we all face that imposing brick wall that is writer's block.

The internet and the library have a glut of resources for helping people climb the wall.  Some of the suggestions are stupid:  talk to a monkey (i.e. explain what you really want to say to a stuffed animal).  I prefer the practical brass tack approaches.  One suggestion that pops up repeatedly is set a regular time of day to write and set a a minimum nimber of words to write and commit yourself.  Another fun way to work yourself out of a creative funk is to do some writing exercises.  Years ago, my wife bought a book entitled Room to Write, by Boni Goldberg.  She proposes a number of short exercises to inspire writing or to help youhone your writing skills.  For example, one exercise encourages you to write about your kitchen as if you were a detective, another suggests writing about your hair.  All very interesting and potentially helpful.  We'll see.

Many people write, either as a sideline or as an integral part of their jobs.  I'm curious to know how others overcome their blocks.  Would love to hear form you.

1 comment:

  1. I've noticed that a lot of times, my problem isn't with coming up with ideas. It's having the motivation to actually do the writing.

    I hope things get better for you!