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Confronting Writer's Block

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  • Indium Corporation

  • I want to share with you how I overcame “Writer’s Block” recently. I hope your own creativity never stalls, but maybe this experience will help you if it does.

    Blogging (for me) is a combination of technical and creative writing. The two parts go together – they are inseparable. Without the technical part, I could not reach the audience I communicate with. Without the creative part, the content would quickly become boring. Feedback over the years has taught me that new readers value the creative content first, and end up learning from the technical content secondly.

    For two months I haven’t been posting any blog entries. It’s not because I ran out of things to say, new topics to explore, or people to interview. The reason I was silent was that I had a case of “Writer’s Block”. I’m not sure if this affects purely technical writers, but it affects the creative aspect of writing for me. Without the creative aspect of blogging I would just go back to writing data sheets and application notes; blogging requires creativity.

    The first step in solving this problem was to recognize the issue. Staring at a list of potential topics on an otherwise blank document didn’t do much more than frustrate me. Not having new content to report on just made me wonder why I was having trouble generating blog posts. It was when I saw my blogging metrics not increase that really lit a fire under my butt to fix the problem.

    In my personal life, I have been toying with the idea of writing a book. Nothing related to electronics/solder/indium, but centered around philosophy. To take this a bit more seriously I set aside a weekend to get away from everything and generate content for the book. My self-imposed solitary confinement wasn’t that bad at all, as I stayed at the Gaylord Palms hotel in Kissimmee Florida. This was a beautiful environment in which to write (as the picture above demonstrates). With some focus and inspiration, the creativity came back. After a weekend focused on just creative writing, I found it easy to get back to blogging about technical topics as well.

    This is a lesson I will probably need again later in life, which may also help you. if you have trouble writing about a particular topic, just write about anything else to get back in the habit of writing. Break down the barrier – or in this case - just go around it. Sometimes a change of scenery helps as well.

    ~Jim