15 Ways to Avoid Writer’s (Thinker’s) Block

Writer’s Block is a myth.

There’s no such thing.

See, writing is merely an extension of thinking.

So, if you hear someone complaining about her insufferable “Writer’s Block,” what she’s REALLY complaining about is her “Thinker’s Block.”

Because she’s not asking enough questions.
Because she’s not taking daily time to think.
Because she’s not maintaining constant curiosity.
Because she’s not viewing the world through her unique lens.

Those are just (some) of the causes of Thinker’s Block.

But there’s more. And if you want to avoid it, remember these six words:

CREATE A CONSTANT STREAM OF IDEAS!

Here’s a list of fifteen ways to do so:

1. U NEED 2 REED EVERY DAY. This is the #1 reason people suffer from Thinker’s Block: they don’t read. (And no, US Weekly doesn’t count!) I’m talking about BOOKS. Old and new. Every single day. Also, I suggest reading more than one book at once. Keep reading material in your car, bathroom, briefcase, gym bag, desk and anywhere else you spend a lot of time.

2. Copy your notes. Don’t just read; STUDY! Take copious notes. Write related ideas in the margins. When you’re done, re-copy your notes onto your computer. Store them in a folder called “Book Notes.” Revisit them regularly to refresh your melon.

3. Write everything down. Writing is the basis of all wealth. And if you don’t write it down, it never happened. That’s all I have to say about that.

4. Everything communicates something. But are you paying attention? Probably not. And yes, it’s hard. Especially in such a fast-paced society. So, remember the words of Ferris Bueller: “Life move pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while – you could miss it.” What does your hurried lifestyle make you miss out on?

5. Soften your eyes. Literally AND metaphorically. It’s about slowing down and noticing the novelties of life. It’s about being more mindful of your surroundings. Studying ordinary things intently. Are you making the mundane memorable? (More on Eye Softening tomorrow)

6. Think on paper. That way you won’t have to remember anything. So, based on your learning style, use flip charts, whiteboards, voice recognition software, note cards or mind maps to record your thoughts.

7. Capture, capture, capture. Don’t (just) write stuff down. Take pictures. Rip articles out of magazines. Pick up trash and keep it. Save voicemail messages. Keep key emails and letters. Constantly update a folder full of scraps and ideas you jotted down on vomit bags three months ago. You never know when a bad idea might come in handy!

8. Write Morning Pages. These are the single best tools I’ve EVER discovered as a professional writer. They prime the pump, get the creative shanks out and allow your best material to surface. And if you make them a habit every single morning, you will NEVER have Thinker’s Block again. Read how to do Morning Pages here.
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9. Exercise every day. Aka, solvitas perambulatorum. Even if it’s just a fifteen-minute walk. It’s the best way to get the endorphins and dopamine flowing. Best legal high in the world. Best source of ideas in the world. Plus it’s, like, good for your health and stuff.

10. Easy Does It. Keep running lists of quotes, one-liners, great ideas, cool words, websites, pieces of advices and short thoughts. Start documents called “Quotes” and “Ideas.” Just list them and updated them daily. No explanations. Just list. By recording your incomplete, fragmentary association process, you stimulate and inspire highly saturated streams of thought.

11. Perpetually hunt for insight. Inspiration comes unannounced! And your constant stream of ideas flows everywhere. So, actively respond to life. Maintain childlike curiosity and ask, “Why?” to everything you see, hear and experience.

12. Prime your brain. Each morning, affirm that new ideas, concepts and thoughts will come into your mind. Maintain a receptive and creative posture for your mind. Meditate daily. Have daily appointments with yourself to mentally prepare your mind to accept ideas from all sources. Prime your brain and the ideas will come to YOU!

13. Stop organizing. Premature organizing stifles idea generation. Just get it down. Make lots of lists for EVERYTHING. Order comes later. First, puke everything out. Then, don’t stop until your cashed. Finally, review (and update) the list over time.

14. Ask and you shall receive. Questions are the basis of all creativity, discoveries, innovation, knowledge, learning and understanding. So, you need to have a readily available list of questions you ask yourself on a daily basis.

15. Punch yourself in the face. Consider writing your motivational questions on sticky notes or on your wall. By keeping them in front of your face at all times, you will challenge yourself AND keep yourself creativity accountable. Potential questions include, “What did you write today?” and “Is everything you know written down somewhere?” REMEMBER: questions are ideas waiting to happen. Learn how to punch yourself in the face here.

With these fifteen ways to create a constant stream of ideas, you melon will be motivated from every possible angle.

And you’ll never have to worry about Writer’s (er, Thinker’s) Block again!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you combat thinker’s block?

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Share your tips here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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More content = more value

Let’s say you publish one article.

And someone reads and enjoys it.

Odds are, that person will think, “Wow, that was a great article!”

Cool.

OK. Now, let’s say you publish a couple HUNDRED articles.

And someone reads and enjoys them.

Odds are, that person will think, “Wow, this guy is brilliant!”

Very cool.

See, they’re no longer complimenting the PIECE.

They’re complimenting the CREATOR.

LESSON LEARNED: more content = more value.

Now, this isn’t just about writing articles.

This is about contributing to a body of work.

A HOT body of work. Your greatest resource as a Creative Professional!

So, let’s explore a list of why content is KING:

The more content you have … the better the search engines rank you.
The more content you have … the better an authority you will be.
The more content you have … the bigger your reservoir will grow.

The more content you have … the deeper your expertise will go.
The more content you have … the easier and quicker it will become to compile your projects.
The more content you have … the greater your opportunity for client diversity.

The more content you have … the higher the perception of your expertise.
The more content you have … the higher your average sale will be.
The more content you have … the higher your number of subscribers will be.

The more content you have … the less likely you are to be viewed as a commodity.
The more content you have … the less likely you are to be viewed as a one-trick pony.

The more content you have … the more equity you maintain.
The more content you have … the more hits you will get.
The more content you have … the more money you will earn.
The more content you have … the more options you will have.
The more content you have … the more pre-qualified prospects will seek YOU out.
The more content you have … the more your website will come up in organic searches.
The more content you have … the more the media will come to you.
The more content you have … the more value you can provide.
The more content you have … the more likely customers will find you
The more content you have … the more advertisers will come to you.
The more content you have … the more you can customize every encounter.

The more content you have … the more you will develop and perfect your voice.

The more content you have … the smarter you look.
The more content you have … the stronger your portable sales force is.
The more content you have … the stronger your web presence is.

That’s what happens when you accumulate a HOT body of work.

Because more content = more value.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How hot is your body of work?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Brainstorm a list of your three biggest advantages to having more content. Post it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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If so, perhaps I could help on a more personal, one-on-one basis.

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The Circle of Write

A common barrier to putting the pen to the page is:

“…yeah, but I don’t really LIKE writing.”

That’s cool.

I still suggest you get started.

And here’s why…

1. The more you write, the more you will like writing.

2. The more you like writing, the more you will want to write.

3. The more you want to write, the more thought, time and effort you will put into your writing.

4. The more thought, time and effort you put into your writing, the better your writing will become.

5. The better your writing becomes, the more confidence you will have.

6. The more confidence you have, the more you will write and want to write.

And then the pattern repeats itself. Forever.

I call this “The Circle of Write.”

Creativity guru Mihály Csíkszentmihályi refers to this type of process as a Feedback Loop of Mutual Causation and Reinforcement.

This means, as he explains in Finding Flow, “If you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it. And if you are interested in something, you will focus on it.”

So, the effect becomes the cause.

And the cause becomes the effect.

WHICH MEANS: the key to writing is to addict yourself to it.

So, follow The Circle of Write.

And that whole “…yeah, but I don’t really LIKE writing” excuse will become non-existent.

Hakuna-matata!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your secret for overcoming creative resistance?

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Share it with us here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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If so, perhaps I could help on a more personal, one-on-one basis.

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The art is hiding the art

Michael Caine once said:

“Never let ‘em catch you acting. The art is HIDING the art.”

Great advice.

And you can apply this principle to a variety of situations:

Create marketing that’s SO fun, SO cool and SO participative…
That your market doesn’t even realize you’re marketing to them.

Sell your stuff with SUCH passion, SUCH comfort and SUCH service…
That your prospects don’t even realize you’re selling to them.

Perform SO effortlessly, SO naturally and SO emotionally…
That your audience doesn’t even realize you’re performing for them.

Write SO engagingly, SO well-architected and with SO much personality…
That your readers don’t even realize they’re reading.

Build community that’s SO organic, SO authentic and SO inviting…
That your members don’t even realize they’re members of an organization.

Of course, this isn’t about deception.

This is about just being yourself.

Delivering value in a way that detaches from outcomes. That focuses on finding flow in the process.

So, never let ‘em catch you acting.

The art is hiding the art.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you seamless?

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Share your best suggestion for “hiding the art” here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


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How to convince yourself that you actually hav a real job, pt. 2

(Read the first post in this series here!)

Being an entrepreneur can be a LONELY profession.

Especially if you work out of your home.

After all…

You have no office.
You have no coworkers.
You have no sense of community.

And sometimes, it just sucks!

SO, THAT’S THE CHALLENGE: learning how to protect yourself against potential solitude.

Here’s a collection of tips to help convince yourself that you actually have a real job:

1. Meetings. Set regular lunches, coffees and meetings throughout the week. You don’t have to have one every day – a few per week should keep you sane. Meet with colleagues who work in similar or complimentary industries. Share your troubles, brainstorm ideas and exchange goals.

2. Hangouts. Find out if there’s a local bar, club or coffee shop where people who do what you do hang out. Visit often. Get to know some of the regulars. If you want, you can even start a hangout of your own! Check online or in local papers to see what’s out there.

3. Join Up! Become a member of the local chapter of your professional association. Attend meetings regularly. Consider taking a leadership position. Pick the brains of the veterans and welcome in the newbies.

4. Virtual Lunches. Have regular virtual lunches with out of town colleagues. Agree upon a convenient time to eat and chat over the phone together. This technique is especially helpful if you travel or have a national or international network.

5. Social Networking. Seek out other online options: user groups, message boards, teleconferences, blogs, social networking sites and other community building tools. REMEMBER: whatever you’re into, at least 1000 other people on the Internet will be into it too!

6. Mastermind Group. Gather 3-5 people who work in the same industry as you. Meet every month. Set goals, keep each other accountable, share failures and successes, and of course, celebrate!

ONE LAST POINT: be grateful.

DIY is a lonely road. Be sure you’re constantly thanking people for their time. Show them you appreciate the relationship and will do what you can to keep it alive.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to generate a sense of camaraderie that is ABSOLUTELY necessary to your survival as an entrepreneur.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you convince yourself that you actually have a real job?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your best ideas here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


Are you a friend of The Nametag Network?

Read more blogs!
Rent Scott’s Brain!
Download articles and ebooks!
Watch training videos on NametagTV!

Make a name for yourself here…


How to convince yourself that you actually have a real job

You’re self-employed.
You work out of your home.
You’re the only person at your company.

So, how do you convince yourself that you actually have a real job?

Good question.

As a Professional Fake Employee for the past five years, I’ve discovered many secrets for doing so. Let’s take a look at eight “GETS” for self-employed success:

GET UP! An hour earlier. Doing so will instill a sense of urgency and importance at the onset of your day.

GET DRESSED! After your shower, don’t crawl back into your PJ’s. Instead, dress as if you had an important meeting that day. Put on your business casual best, a three-piece suit or whatever works for you. Just remember, act as if you were the person you’re trying to become. By looking great, you’ll start to feel great.

GET OUT! Now that you look like you actually have a real job, grab your briefcase, laptop and other materials … and get out of the house. Announce to your spouse, kids, sweetie or pets, “Well, I’m off to work!”

GET A SPOT! Of course, you’re not actually going to work … yet. But, by getting up an hour earlier than usual, you’ve earned some “prep” time. So, head over to your local coffee shop. Settle down with a drink and perhaps some breakfast.

Do not read the newspaper. It’s negative, it’s crap.

Instead, use this time as your Daily Appointment with Yourself. Read positive materials, review your goals and affirmations, listen to positive music, meditate, whatever works to set the stage for your day.

GET CRACKIN! Now that you look and feel important, it’s time to “officially” start work. Leave the coffee shop and head over to the office, aka, your living room. Take a look at your goals, tasks, appointments and to-do’s for the day. Get started on whatever is most urgent.

GET VERBIAGE! As you email clients and talk on the phone with prospects, watch your words.

*Don’t say, “I’ll be at home all day.” Instead, say, “I’ll be in the office till five.”
*Don’t say, “My policy is…” Instead, say, “My company policy is.”

There’s a big difference! Also, be careful how you use the Royal We. The point of verbiage is not to refer to yourself or your job in a misleading way. Instead, challenge yourself to reframe your verbiage in an honest, authentic tone that convinces both you AND your clients that’s you’re not actually running a business in your parents’ basement while two annoying dogs yap at the mailman all day. (Hypothetically)

GET COLLEAGUES! Unfortunately, words like “coworkers” and “fellow employees” don’t exist in your self-employed vocabulary. So, focus on establishing relationships with colleagues. Find like-minded professionals who work similar Fake Jobs in similar Fake Industries as you. Force yourself to get out of the house at least three times a week for lunches, brainstorming sessions or lead sharing meetings.

GET SUPPLIES! Just because you’re the sole employee at your company and spend most of your days sitting in a La-Z-Boy recliner in your underwear, checking email via Wifi while you watch Sportscenter and play fetch with your Cocker Spaniel named Ginger (hypothetically), that doesn’t mean you can’t project a professional image.

Equip yourself with the necessary supplies: stationary, PO box, a dedicated office and fax line and an email account that isn’t (kaylaysmommy@aol.com or hotlips99@gmail.com) NOTE: an unprofessional email is the first dead giveaway of someone who doesn’t have a real job!

All kidding aside, these eight “GETS” of self-employed success revolve around one key idea: attitude.

Not because “attitude is everything,” but because attitude underscore everything.

Ultimately, your challenge is to think, act and present yourself in a way consistent with the person you’re striving to become.

Because eventually – if you maintain the right attitude – you will actually become that person!

And that’s the best way to convince yourself that you actually have a real job.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a Cocker Spaniel waiting to play fetch with me.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you convince yourself that you actually have a real job?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your self-employed secrets here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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