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View Diary: Write On! Sub Edition: Writer's Block (56 comments)

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  •  Thoughts on the coping mechanisms (6+ / 0-)

    I'm offering these base on my own experience in corporate communications which as of a month ago is not my problem anymore as I am now (and for the next few years) focusing exclusively on a fiction writing project:

    1. Just keep the pen moving - my former boss would say "this goes without saying". She would also say take the time to think before hitting keys, otherwise it's just "typing words".

    2. Take a break.  Yes! Get up, bounce ideas off a colleague, get out of the building for a few moments, catch up on the industry and general news for a moment. And secure that dose of coffee/tea/soda/water/legal drug of choice including chocolate. But look stressed about it. You are being reviewed all the time, after all.

    3. Approach it from a different angle. In my experience alternative perspectives are a must-have...and give the senior editor what s/he expects to see as of the last meeting, regardless. What? Did not have a 'last meeting'? Sure you did! Just on another topic! Always update your 'theory of mind' of the person who decides if you can/cannot write a story. More neurosis, please.

    4. Read poetry.  I would work things out on spreadsheets... my kind of 'different language'. My ex boss, who despises spreadsheets, literally forbade me to do so for several years. I drew them out by hand for a while but that was inefficient. I eventually justified the practice as necessary to support graphics illustrations.

    5. Work on a different writing project. Having a run sheet is standard procedure in a professional shop, until crunch time in which case you simply cannot NOT be working on the priority project du jour.

    6. Do research. A big reason why Beltway pundits write the same crap at about the same time is the fundamental adage that the practice of reading (a lot of) other people's work makes for more perfect writing. One, this is a good way to benchmark if your topic is on the radar of your audience/competitors. Two, it informs you if your level of discussion and approach to the topic lines up. Three, like it or lump it, in business communications people expect to see what they want to read about - they want ammunition they can use and they get pissed off enough to call in if they don't get it. (You should see the letters to the editors in some of the financial trade publications; even their senior staff get called out for carrying water for Commies if they're not hostile enough to Democrats.)

    7. The morning pages. I did this as a news consumption practice; log in, hit the websites, get a sense if the general and trade news had any new topics or angles to consider. Most days, not so much. Yet the worst thing would be to not have read the one story the boss wanted to test to see if you had/had not read. You were expected to have known about "it", if not, oops.

    8. Make lists. Lots of this... and outlines! and then boiling down the outlines to bullet points. And then simplifying these for executive consumption. (I'm not kidding on the last.)

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