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Overcoming Writer’s Block in the Communication Industry

Crumpled papers on the floor, some in the bin, some out. A messy workstation with half-open and unsorted books, unfinished cups of coffee, and no accomplishments in sight!  The next time you are witness to such a scene in the quiet corner of your office, or on-screen in some movie, know that you are being introduced to the after-effects of what is known as a writer’s block.

If communication as an industry is a vehicle, content is the engine that keeps it moving, and writers the pilots. In this context, think of a writer’s block as a cold, snowy morning that prevents the vehicle from starting. Add to it an impending deadline to reach a destination, and you’ll start to get an idea of the urgency inherent in the communication industry.

By definition, writer’s block is the condition one faces when incapable to think of what to write. To support its existence and prevalence, there are some marvelous literary pieces that talk of it. In one of his most well-read novels, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, the eminent English novelist George Orwell writes of his protagonist Gordon Comstock who faces a creative slowdown to complete a poem and explains it in the following way: “It was too big for him, that was the truth. It had never really progressed; it had simply fallen apart into a series of fragments.”

That’s what writer’s block feels like to a writer.

Though much has been said and explored about this temporary literary inefficiency, there are oppositions to it as well. Some in the industry argue that if you are a writer who is passionate enough, it is nothing more than a mere set of negative intrapersonal dialogues that one needs to overcome with no issue. After all, if you are a writer, you write.

Regardless, most writing professionals struggle with this condition. Even the most brilliant of authors and creative writers admit having faced this a number of times. This is why writer’s block deserves an acknowledgement in the communication industry.

“Writing about a writers block is better than not writing at all.” When famous American poet Charles Bukowski said this he was bringing to life the everyday struggle of content creators, writers, and editors that usually go unsaid and the need to get over them.

Let us now look at where it fits into the world of communication and how writers may deal with it. However inevitable, the effects of a writer’s block can be overcome. If you are a writer or work with them in a team, here are some handy and proven ways to help you overcome it.

If you are not a writer:

  1. If a writer or an editor tells you they are out of ideas or inspiration, the last thing you would want to do is push him/her to write and pressure him/her by reminding of the deadlines and repercussions
  2. Offer to take a coffee break or a walk to help get their mind off the topic for a while
  3. Talk about things out asides from work — listen to music, watch a movie, hang out with friends… anything. Sometimes the only reason for this creative block is the pressure of delivering, and nothing helps faster and better than a light conversation

If you are a writer

  1. Aimless writing is one of the most effective antidotes of a writer’s block. Writing anything, on any random topic helps restore creativity.
  2. Read something interesting and not forced. Leisure reading, like leisure writing, works magic to bring you out of that ‘stuck’ feeling.
  3. Drink water, move a little, stretch — do anything that could help you leave the task at hand for some time.

So, a three-step procedure to deal with your writer’s block comprises the following: identity, acknowledge, and getting over it. Identify your restlessness and inability to write in writer’s block. Acknowledge that it is inevitable and you have to deal with it. Get over it using the aforementioned tricks or whatever works best to get your creative energies back on track! Happy writing!

Ritika Sharma is English Editor at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |