What it feels like to write for 8 hours a day
Terry Pratchett once said: “There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.” This seems rather harsh, but to be honest, in my role as English Content Developer at Cicero & Bernay, I have never experienced the tortured, head-banging writer’s block that famous authors throughout history have described.
This is because as a copywriter, I am provided with abundant subject matter and messages – the well never runs dry and there is always more content popping up in my inbox. This means that I am never expected to start completely from scratch. I’m sure that attempting to write the first sentence of a novel would leave me a wreck, but on a day-to-day basis I am lucky to be given all the inspiration I need to write good copy.
On the flipside, I spend eight hours a day writing non-stop. This can feel like eating too much chocolate – at times I can’t face another bite. Contrasted with thrilling days when sentences flow on to the page with amazing ease, there are moments when I feel like I am trudging through waist-deep mud to get the words out.
This is not writer’s block because the material is all there. It’s ready and waiting, and I’m just momentarily struggling to pick it up and run with it. I think the best way to describe it is writer’s blur. Sometimes I can’t see the words for the trees.
When I sense this feeling creeping up on me, immediate action has to be taken, because in the busy world of PR there is no time to wallow or waste time. The blur must be hastily beaten back before it steps over the threshold.
How to beat writer’s block
As Philip Pullman, author of ‘Northern Lights’, so matter-of-factly explained: “The fact is that writing is hard work, and sometimes you don’t want to do it, and you can’t think of what to write next, and you’re fed up with the whole business.”
Many authors suggest taking a walk, having a bath or even cooking to beat this feeling, but with deadlines looming and content flooding in, this advice is frankly useless for PR copywriters.
So how can we quickly and effectively beat the blur?
By following these steps, I have avoided writer’s block simply by keeping going and never running out of steam. After all, “writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”
Natasha Redcliffe is the English Copywriter of Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me