Saturday, June 1, 2013

Using "Boiler Plate" text to overcome Writers block

Recently I had writers block for more than 3 weeks. That too, on a task that is critical, important and binding upon me to complete. This is one task that cannot be delegated and is my core responsibility.

Till this task hit me I was under self-belief that given constraints and pressure, I would get myself moving and get things done. I have my standards for output and that when I apply myself whichever be the way (voluntary or forced) I would get the desired output that I am satisfied with.

This time, it was not to be. No amount of tools came to my help. I tried talking my way to get some force act on me, but they discouraged me further this time. I informed my boss hoping his mild censure will motivate me. Well, it was not to be.

The situation was strange. If I had not heard the word "writers block" I would have been frustrated at the state I was in. Here is a task where the end date is near but not too near to stretch on time crunch and with no other priorities at hand. You would exclaim, "Ideal time to be a manager." and I would agree. Yet not able to do the one thing that is the focus at the time and get it accomplished is a huge let down.

As usual, the end date got near and there was no way I could let the end date pass yet I still am far from the finish line.  And then Eureka, I found myself going at it with ease, pace and confidence. The first draft looked decently dressed and on track for a proper finishing in subsequent reviews. The magic that eluded me was: "Boiler Plate Text".

As I had to get the job done, I tried some random scribblings that I could repetitively use. The flow started to show itself. And then the scribbles fell into a pattern. I could see my writing show itself up in:
1. A conversational style.
2. Initiate my pitch from where the protogonist ends their story.
3. Giving a summary and then moving into the specifics.

Lo!. The exact phrases were in place. All I now needed to put my head on was to create the descriptive specifics. Well, that could be handled with less pain as these missing pieces were easier to visualize for the uniqueness.

And this gave me the way out of writer's block. Has "boiler plates" helped you overcome writer's block. I would be interested to know perspectives.

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