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Any remedies for writers block?

Any remedies for writers block?

intro Any remedies for writers block?Isn’t it the worst? Is there anything more frightening than a blank page (especially when you’re feeling like you’ve got a blank head)?

First, some reassurance. No creative person on the planet has avoided that paralyzing block. Nancy felt relieved as a junior when her very seasoned CD admitted a job never crossed his desk that he wasn’t convinced would be the one to expose him as a fraud—his starting point was always feeling writer’s block. And yet, there he sat, a highly respected creative who clearly got over the block every time— like most people do. He drew on a bag of tricks to bust out of the fear that are so simple it sounds like how can that work.

The key is to act counterintuitively to what your brain is telling you to do. Don’t work intensely for hours on end to solve the problem. Brainstorm ideas (and think quantity over quality in the early going) and reject the little voice that tells you it all sucks. Rattle them off, almost stream of consciousness. Then stop. Go to a movie, or a gallery, or have a long coffee break. Give your mind time to start processing some of those bad ideas while you are not actively thinking about the project at all. No time to break away? Switch gears and work on another project for awhile. When you come back to the original project and look at your list of ideas, they’ll start triggering more thoughts. The worst idea will often spark you towards a good version of it. We love Tom Monahan’s exercize of brainstorming a long list of the worst ways to possibly advertise the product, then taking that list and bouncing good ideas out of those horrible ones. It sounds strange but it works.

Another good exercize is Tom’s “100 mile an hour thinking”-you take a post-it note pad and take 5 minutes to jot one idea per note, creating a chain of ideas. Quality of thought is completely unimortant. Quantity is the drill. Think of it as a contest with your partner— the longest chain wins. When you review the ideas, at least one will seem pretty good. Next, you throw out the best idea you had and do the whole exercize again. Really helpful.

All these thoughts are designed to fake-out your brain that’s seizing up and determined to get a great idea right away, no bad ideas allowed. When you force it to loosed up and lighten up, magic can happen.

Nancy had a partner once who’s motto was “dare to be stupid”. Don’t give a shit if you have a whole pile of bad ideas. Don’t worry how you’ll look to your partner or your boss as you lob potential stinkers at them for a reaction. That’s how to get to the good ones.

Feel better?

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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