Anyone who writes for a living dreads these two words: writer’s block. It’s not like we can call our clients and say, “Hey, my mind doesn’t want to focus on your project today. I’ll get it to you as soon as I can get words on the page. Is that okay?”
Pushing through writer’s block might put words on the page, but it can be a long, drawn-out process that doesn’t result in your best work. So, what should you do?
You’ll find quite a lot of tips and tricks for overcoming writer’s block with just a quick search online. But, how about trying something completely new that will also help you develop your video skills?
I learned this method from comedian, Tim Washer, when he spoke at AWAI’s Web Intensive. He shared his unique approach to an old technique for sparking creativity… and it works great as a way to beat back writer’s block. And, using this approach, you can create an idea for a fun and memorable piece of content for you or a client… in under 10 minutes! Practice it daily, and writer’s block will become a thing of the past.
New Twist on an Old Favorite
His solution builds on familiar advice: Write every day. When you make writing a habit, it becomes easier to generate ideas and to write content on demand.
Washer’s twist to this common advice is designed to bring more creativity into your work. Many writers love being creative, but it can be a bit difficult to come up with ideas that feel fresh. Instead of writing “whatever you want” or following a specific prompt, Washer recommends creating a word association puzzle.
Begin with two completely unrelated terms and create a connection between them.
Here’s the best part. You don’t even have to come up with the words on your own. Washer recommends using RandomWordGenerator.com to start your morning writing session with two unrelated words.
Once you’re there, choose nouns and specify that you want two. You might have to click a few times to get unrelated words, but once you do, stop. Don’t continue until you “like one.” Stick to it and move on.
Now, your next step in the process is to take the first word and come up with five to seven words that relate to it. Then do the same for the second word. Put each of these lists side-by-side. Look at your two lists of words and choose one word from each. What does each word make you think of? How could you use them to create a brief blog post or short video script?
Video Is King
Tim Washer shared several ideas with us that he came up using this technique, and he went a step further using each to a create video script. Why? Because video is quickly becoming the most searched for and consumed media on the Internet. Someone needs to write all those scripts, so this exercise is great practice. But, this exercise can just as easily be focused on blog posts, newsletter articles, or podcast ideas.
Method in Practice
I used this method to create an idea for a video script in my niche—and it only took 10 minutes.
Using the Random Word Generator tool, I came up with these two words: throat and elevator. As I mostly write for the travel industry, this was a sufficient stretch for me. This is what my web looked like:
From here, I followed the next step, which is to choose one word or phrase from each side.
I picked tall buildings and sing. The next step is to exercise your creativity a little and do some more word associations. What do these words make you think of? I came up with:
Tall Buildings: Eiffel Tower, Space Needle, Shanghai skyline
Sing: Joy, Rock concert, Singing into a hairbrush
From there, I created a story using these elements. The trick is to connect everything you’ve thought of into a story you could give to your client or use for your own site.
I write in travel, so let’s say I’m creating a video for travel insurance. Here’s a quick outline of a script drawing from these terms:
A family looks out at the skyline of Shanghai from a hotel balcony.
Narration: From every sunrise to…
Video Change: Same family smiling for a shot with the Shanghai skyline in the background. Narration: Every planned activity to….
An image of the teenage daughter singing into a hairbrush in the hotel room.
Narration: To all the surprise moments… we’re here to make your trip smooth.
Daughter to mother: At first I was mad our flight was rescheduled, but I’m so glad we got to explore Shanghai!
Logo: Insurance Company: Helping with Unexpected Delays
Now, I’ve never written for an insurance company before. In fact, I’ve never even thought of approaching one. After this exercise, I’m tempted to reach out to one!
Although what you come up with may seem like “nonsense,” try this exercise as a starting point to jumpstart your creativity each day.
It just takes 10 minutes each morning, and before you know it, creating unique, fresh content for yourself and your clients will seem like a breeze.