Input for Output: Overcoming Writers’ Block

Writer’s Block or ‘creative burnout’ may cause “piss-poor copy”

By Jon Kirk

“Writer’s block: a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work”

All creatives experience writer’s block at some point in their careers. It’s that debilitating condition which causes us to write – and subsequently delete – the same idea or sentence over and over again. It’s been linked to stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation and ‘fear’ but, it seems, almost anything can cause the grey matter to freeze.

Experts recommend all manner of strategies, ranging from hypnotherapy to time management classes. But a friend of mine, a copywriter, has the real answer to what is, essentially, creative burnout. He calls it ‘input for output’ and the ‘treatment’ is based upon “replenishing creativity”. Bear with me here, as he’s got a point. If your brain is a sponge, which is squeezed day after day of its creative juices, he argues, it runs the risk of “drying up” – of developing writer’s block.

So what to do about it? Basically, anything which allows your brain to switch off and absorb new material – and absolutely nothing which requires output. The copywriter in question tackles the situation head-on, by downing tools, cancelling appointments and leaving the office. In a nutshell, he STOPS working there and then because to continue on the task at hand would result in “piss-poor copy”.

Here’s his Top 10 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block [Input for Output]

10. Go to the theatre or cinema, or watch a movie or two at home

9. Spend an afternoon at a coffee shop or, better still, at the pub with friends

8. Prepare a three-course meal

7. Take a long walk, preferably alone

6. Get some retail therapy

5. Visit a museum and/or other tourist attraction

4. Play with the kids (or dogs)

3. Get active – play sport

2. Read [but not on any device with internet connectivity, as this may lead to web browsing and runs the risk of output]

1. Sleep on it

Until the next time,