Discover the Secret Solution for Writer’s Block - Café Writer
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Discover the Secret Solution for Writer’s Block

{Guest Post By Christine Butler Part 2}

Have you ever been in a situation where the words just don’t come to mind? You are up against a deadline and just can’t think. You type a little, then immediately delete it. The words just aren’t flowing right. You can’t come up with an idea. You feel stuck … “yikes, how will I meet my commitment?”  keeps running through your mind!

Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. Christine Butler here again on behalf of Steve and I have a solution for you.

When you reach this point you need to do something different, something to distract yourself from your problem. Well, have you ever thought of painting?

But I’ve never even held a paintbrush …

Even if you don’t think of yourself as an artist, you are! As Debbie Purdy, owner of the Creative Wings Studio in Santa Fe, NM stated, “I use paint and brushes just like you use words.”

If you think about it, there are a lot of similarities between painting and writing. Both require some creativity. Both are a means of expressing yourself. And both avenues allow you to let your mind go where it wants to go.

During the recent Ultimate Writing Retreat™ in Santa Fe, NM, lead by Steve Roller, we went on an excursion to Debbie’s studio. She was all ready for us with paints laid out, sheets of canvas on the walls, and brushes at the ready.

Debbie was ready for us to show our creativity

Debbie was ready for us to show our creativity

We sat and talked with Debbie for a few minutes and she explained that the task before us was to paint anything…don’t think about it…just let it flow naturally and see what happens. Several of our members were apprehensive…feeling out of their comfort zone. But they were willing to give it a try.

This process is a lot like free form writing when you just sit and write anything that comes to mind. Coach Steve recommends doing this for 15 minutes a day. It’s one method to help get the juices flowing and the ideas developing.

Debbie wanted us to let go of structure, perfection and order. This was an opportunity for us to use a different modality to convey our feelings. She encouraged us to feel free, play, be spontaneous, lose control, be wild, and break rules! Well, actually she had one rule that could not be broken … no comments on anyone else’s work! You could hear the sigh of relief around the room!

She suggested that trying to think about how we were going to apply this exercise to our writing would hold us back. During this activity, you don’t have to have an idea or agenda, just let go and see where you end up.

As copywriters we definitely have structure. Steve covered a lot of these during the retreat:

  • Introduce the Big Idea
  • Stay ahead of the curve
  • Embrace the power of one
  • Use the CUBA method for reviewing your work
  • Position yourself as the authority
  • Look for a gap and zero in on it
  • Develop your own character in your writing so your audience gets to know you
  • Give away freebies to build trust and relationships
  • Always have a call to action within your piece

So for a group of writers to let go of all of these “rules”, there was a certain taste of freedom…let it flow…just see where it goes. It was a bit intimidating. But you know what? We had some great results.

Rae finds her colorful side

Rae finds her colorful side

Steve’s artistic breakthrough

Steve’s artistic breakthrough

Leanne’s satisfying results

Leanne’s satisfying results

It really worked. When we returned to the conference facility, we were refreshed and ready to learn and write.

So the next time you get stuck during a writing assignment, think about taking a break. Seek another way to release your creativity. Pick up a paintbrush. You’ll be surprised how refreshing it is and afterwards, the words will start to flow.

Thanks to Debbie for being such a gracious host and for sharing her insights with us. She’ll make painters out of us yet!

Our host for a morning of creativity through a new medium

Our host for a morning of creativity through a new medium

Steve Roller

Author Steve Roller

I'm a business coach, author, copywriter, world traveler (32 countries on five continents so far), and professional speaker. In addition to helping companies get more customers and make more money, I help other writers turn Big Ideas into profitable businesses. I offer one-on-one coaching, professional copy critiques, and three-day business-building immersion retreats. When I'm not writing, coaching, or speaking, I enjoy nothing more than hanging out with my wife and four kids and planning my next adventure.

More posts by Steve Roller

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Zafifi says:

    Great stuff. I never thought that painting is writers’ relief . It’s like using another faculty of mind to awaken and let the weaker-firing brain cells on the fringe break. It’s time to get back to the canvas with brushes and water colour!

    • Steve Roller says:

      I think we can take something away from a lot of creative endeavors – art, music, theater. I’m starting to appreciate these even more as a writer.

  • Lynn Wiley says:

    And here I thought I was coddling myself when I would want to start playing with the paint box! How refreshing is that? I’m definitely going to try this “brain refresher” soon.

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