Sunday, February 21, 2016

Idea Block

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on………………."

Professional (and I suppose even amateur) writers often complain about "writer's block" - that frequent malaise whereby one sits staring at a blank page and is seemingly paralyzed by the inability to come up with anything to fill the space.  No ideas come, no profound thoughts or insights -- no thoughts really at all - and certainly no way to communicate in a way that makes the words come alive for the reader.  Those with a deadline for a report or other written document may be all too familiar with this ailment.

And, I think, the phenomenon isn't limited to writers.  There is a similar reality that often affects many when we are trying to come up with really good ideas about how to move forward in some area.  Idea block is pretty common I think.

What causes these (hopefully) temporary setbacks in thought processing?  I don't know.

What can you do?  There are a few things people try when faced with these challenges.

First, is to walk away and abandon the idea that you can overcome the empty warehouse of your mind by sheer will power.  Sometimes, you need to change your environment - mental and / or physical - so as to put distance between yourself and……….well, yourself.

Brainstorming - with other people - may help.  There may be ideas you seek, but you just can't get them out.  Sharing them might allow someone else to give them enough form for you to again have a breakthrough.  Often times a random thought will trigger the mental processes that allow you to again take command of getting your thinking back on track.

Riff off a small part of the idea you are working on, and maybe by flushing out that small part, the bigger picture will come into focus.  Songwriters use this approach sometimes,

Table the idea and come up with another one to work on that seems to have more life for you.

Float any idea that is even remotely related to the project or challenge and ask people to pick it apart.  In facing what is lacking, you might be able to again move towards something that will work.

I think everybody runs out of ideas at some point - at least temporarily.  Don't panic.  It seems to be a cyclical occurrence with dry periods, followed by fertile periods and probably back again.  

Have a good week.

Don't Quit

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