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Blog writer's block - the cure (part 2)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Northampton freelance blog writer

Use Lateral Thinking to break down Writer's Block

The blog from a few weeks back was about writer’s block - how to escape the writer’s curse with a spot of diligent research.

What's that?  You didn't read it?
Shame on you.  You'll find it here.  But this blog is about an alternative cure.  Remember Edward de Bono?  The man who first coined the phrase, 'Lateral Thinking' or ‘The Step-by-Step Guide to Creativity’?  Well, lateral thinking gives us a great way to burst through writer’s block.

You know those lateral thinking puzzles -

A man enters a field with a pack on his back.  As he approaches the middle of the field, he knows he is going to die ... which he does.

The answer?

He was a sky diver whose parachute had failed to open.

Our struggle to think of the answer is down to a common fault - one we all share.  Assumptions.

We assume the poor chap walked into the field.

Now.  Let’s say we’re thinking of opening a new restaurant. But - the market is saturated.  If our venture is to succeed, our restaurant must be different from any other.  We think and we think and we think.  But we're getting nowhere. Dozens of ideas whirling round and round in our heads .  We’re suffering from an acute case of ‘thinker’s block’.

Here’s what we’re going to do.  We’re going to become expert lateral thinkers.  First let's list a few assumptions.

A restaurant must -

  • have tables and chairs
  • have waiters and waitresses
  • have chefs who prepare food
  • have a roof
  • cook its own food

Next - let's dismiss them one-by-one.

Are you getting the idea?  Brush aside the assumptions and we might, just might, come up with the germ of a great, original dining concept.

A restaurant where you take your own food, cook it yourself and then serve it to your friends.  OK - a bit far-fetched.  But it’s innovative and the point is - we arrived there by thinking laterally.

This works with writer’s block too.

Let’s suppose you’re trying to drum up ideas for your next blog.  But you’ve hit a brick wall.
Here we go with our couple of assumptions.

With a blog you must -

  • write ‘at’ your readers
  • Write in an information-delivering way

OK.  Now kick them into touch and see what happens.

Who says you can’t write as though you're writing the blog to one particular reader, who you're going to name?

What rule says you can't write to this 'someone else' about an embarrassing incident?

What's to stop us opening with -

“Dave - if you’re reading this blog, I’m sorry! I know you hate to be reminded of what happened all those years ago.”

My guess is that, reading this, you’re already hooked.  You’re desperate to know what Dave “hates to be reminded of from all those years ago”.  But it’s OK.  You can find out, because these were the opening words I wrote for Tony Kent’s blog just last week.  Tony runs a great business called Video to DVD.  He converts videos, photos and slides into a digital format.  He asks me to produce his blogs and has permitted me to write to you about my thought process.

So - if you’re completely stuck and haven’t a clue what to write about, jot down every assumption you make about your writing, cast each assumption aside ... and you never know … you might strike gold.

Here's one more lateral thinking puzzle -

A woman has two sons, each born on the same hour of the same day of the same month of the same year. But they aren't twins. Explain.

The answer will be in the next email newsletter in two weeks' time.
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Just before you go - some questions - answers below please.

  1. What's the worst assumption you've ever made?
  2. What's the worst assumption anyone has ever made about you?
  3. Did you know that 'assume', makes an ASS of U and ME

Till the next time.

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