writing

Writer's Block and Building Pyramids

Building the pyramids was hard. It was gruesome, arduous, laborious work.


But it was passionate work. Contrary to popular belief, those who built the pyramids were not slaves. These industrious workers were, in fact, building a monument to their idol and his (or her) legacy. Their idol, the pharaoh: an incarnation of their current reigning deity (the ancient Egyptians’ highest ranking God varied depending on the dynasty). Living together in expertly organized villages and with veracious persistence, skill and passion, these individuals gave way to some of the most awe-inspiring monuments known to mankind.


What could all of this possibly have to do with writer’s block, you ask?


Every [good] piece of writing is a passionate piece of writing. The simple act of establishing your author’s purpose (your reason for or intent in writing) creates a boundless source of passion. Whether your goal is to tell a convincing story from an improbable perspective or convince someone to buy something impractical, you must believe your own intent before anyone else will give it a second thought. You ARE an 86 year old spy, you’ve ALWAYS pined for a pair of bacon gloves.


A good writer will adopt their author’s purpose, if only for the sake of creating an engaging piece. This purpose is akin to a creative ‘blind faith’. As the talented writer you are, much like the proficient pyramid workers, you wholeheartedly believe in what you are doing. Of course, passion does not necessarily equal productivity.


Let’s get back to that labor intense process of building colossal, three-dimensional triangles out of mammoth blocks of stone. Removing any ideas about aliens from the equation, these prodigious creations were constructed using rudimentary technology and adept hands. Blocks of stones weighing around two tons, hauled up and put into place by people. These people had a purpose, a passion. This passion was then manifested in their actions.

Your words will rest immortalised, much like this pyramid.

Your words will rest immortalised, much like this pyramid.


The term ‘writer's block’ is entirely appropriate. Simply put, it is your own two-ton block that you must haul up to an incredible height to eventually produce something extraordinary from fundamental elements. Easier said than done. Hoisting up one’s proverbial writer’s ‘block’ is a strenuous challenge reserved for the artisan word-workers of the world. But how to overcome the weight of that pyramid block on your back? How are you expected to build a pyramid if you're missing the tools?



The funny thing about writer’s block is that is can serve as both your greatest enemy and your biggest ally. You never lost the tools: that giant heaping mass of lack of inspiration IS your most powerful tool. Bear with me, I know that this may seem a bit out there, but I guarantee you that you too will come to see this oh-too-familiar obstacle as an asset.



Lacking inspiration or a clear cut way to tackle your project, the end seems nowhere in sight and often, one may decide to ‘take a break’, ‘wait for the inspiration to hit’, or ‘scrap the project altogether and write something else’. Persistence is key, my friends. Now, if you decide to scrap the project and do something else because you have a BETTER idea, by all means: write on! However, if you are suffering from a case of hopelessness, I implore you to keep at it! You are building an edifice to the deity of language— no one ever said creating greatness came easy.



A clear way to use writer’s block to your advantage is to WRITE about your creative slowdown. Why not? Recently, I was pretty sick and lacking any source of creativity. Crawling back to society, I knew I had to get something down, but what? The plague of burnout had graced me with her unwanted presence. I am acutely aware of this feeling, I am also a visual artist and creating when there’s a two-ton block of burnout tied around your ankle is simply…excruciating. Yet, whether you’re wielding words or images, getting this frustration out is what keeps it away. I swear by this method and between cups of orange juice and vitamin supplements, I realized what better a subject to write about than writer’s block itself?

Write something—anything—down.

Write something—anything—down.

Of course, this technique will work in various situations. No matter your topic, simply putting your hindrance into the universe will liberate you from it. With the hurdle exposed, you are able to take matters into your own hands. Words will flow from your fingertips unburdened with the stress of non-completion. For example, ramble to yourself. The act of writing WILL give way to handy bits you can come back to, pick out and use.



“Okay, so writer’s block blows. It is keeping me from being the 86 year old spy I know I can be but I just don’t know where to start! Do I start from her childhood, or should the story start from its ending? It is so difficult to write right now but I know I should. Maybe I’ve lost my touch…but I have to keep trying. I got it! The story will have a non-linear approach, shifting the reader between her current espionage career and the surprising events to lead up to it”!



Acknowledgment is the first step. Get it out there. Write about your lack of writing. Write about anything: digress and meander. The act of writing eventually begets writing. You ARE a talented writer. You have ALL the skills you need. Writer’s block can be overcome with gold old fashioned action.



Grab that big block and build your pyramid of passion. The literary Gods are waiting.

New Year, New Look, New Direction.

2019 is here! 

With the onset of a new year comes the arrival of opportunity, change and new directions; a relinquishing of the old and an embrace of the novel, exciting things yet to come. 

It is with that preface that I allude to the changes to come concerning this blog.

Up to this point, the blog has been an outlet for random writing advice, suggestions for improving effectiveness through grammar mindfulness and a mashup of whatever else.  That hasn’t really served us well or proven useful for you, and I’m willing to accept that and listen.  What you have expressed interest in, is more unveiling of the adventures that occur between the posts and amidst the client deadlines.  

Many of you know the backstory: an entrepren-her with a background in politics who ditched the conventional to live what she learned and learn from that what she gains through living.  How can I utilize what I’ve learned from university, hone it and apply it to my passion for business?

The decision to become a content writer came by serendipitous happenstance: a friend wanted a paper proofread, another needed help writing her real estate newsletter and marketing emails and yet another needed guidance with writing an eBook series.  One document here and there? No problem. Seven documents later and you’re getting invoiced.

In developing content for friends and colleagues, I discovered a pattern: the fundamentals of sound urban planning and great content writing are essentially one in the same: at the heart of both lie a strategic plan providing guidance for construction and direction for development, leverage for smart growth that is profitable and sustainable, and a product that is both beautiful to the senses and useful to the intended stakeholders.

I very quickly found this approach, when followed consistently, produced great content and great cities.  It has worked for developers of commercial real estate and it has worked for myself, a developer of commercial content. 

This is great... but this isn’t what you want to read. What you have expressed interest in, however, are the stories of local adventures that happen outside of my client meetings.  The tours through Le Marais in search of the best croissants traditionnel when I’m in Paris meeting with clients about a blog content project.  The photos of the glaciers of Iceland while writing newsletter copy for a client in Manhattan.  The delicious dumplings in DUMBO before heading to Prospect Park, Brooklyn for a meeting with powerhouse real estate magnates.

It is these adventures you crave, as you’ve expressed they allow you to live the world through our eyes, and it is these adventures we will give you.

 

Going forward, this blog will be a resource for reading the world a la the voice of the Anglophone- Francophone perspective.  Life, through the fast lens of transatlantic content writers jet-setting, occasionally adulting and otherwise doing whatever it takes to pursue great copy.

What to expect:

-stories of the expat life. 

-empowering words for women entrepreneurs. 

-introspective journaling from digital nomads, aspiring creatives and guest bloggers who live their dream and write great content in between. 

-possibly content writing tips? Who knows. Maybe, if we’re not too busy being globetrotting dynamite divs.

 

À bientôt! <<See you later!>>

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