A Chip Off the Old Block?

One of my daughters, stumped on a Brief due later this week, asked if I had any tips on overcoming writer’s block.

Just get started, I said. That’s what always works for me.

(Back in the day, I’d have referred to it as the “hot pen method.” Since no one actually uses a pen any more, that’s harder to explain. Think of it as brainstorming for one.)

I type. I try to get ideas down. As many and as fast as possible.

No punctuation. No capitalization (except for those ever-helpful features of MS Word). No worry about grammar or spelling or carefully constructed logic.

And especially, no self-critique! Don’t limit yourself by thinking something might be “too small,” or “too big,” or “too off the wall.” Go with it. The more you can get yourself out of the way, the more likely ideas will flow.

There’ll be time later to come back in for clean-up. But resist the urge to move to that stage too quickly.

When that initial flow slows, prime your pump. Are there notes or other background information to review? Similar projects you’ve worked on in the past? Projects you wish you’d have done? A book or website you can refer to?

Be careful though, that your search for inspiration doesn’t slide into distraction.

Keep yourself focused on capturing ideas. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they add up.