Beating Writers Block or, Things That Work For Me Sometimes (a video response to Magic Jade)

Beating Writers Block or, Things That Work For Me Sometimes (a video response to Magic Jade)



magic Jade hello this video is for you inspired by one of your recent comments on my videos you wrote SOS help needed from a fellow creative you went on to describe your writing funk you're trying to write songs and it's just not working for you you paid me a lovely compliment and then you asked for some advice that was neither take a break or just keep writing until it gets better now I'm usually a little bit nervous about trying to give other creative people advice because I really really believe that every creative person is different and trying to follow someone else's advice can often put you in a deeper funk than you were in before but I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have received the advice take a break or just right through it and how unhelpful that was for me so I started writing you a response i sat down I started typing it out and it just got longer and longer and longer and it turned into this whole big thing that was just too much to send you in a comment so I'm giving you a video response surprise this thing is so long in fact that it is split into four whole parts which are one what does your block look like part two the letter the tunnel and the goodbye part three practical advice and part four the proof in the pudding feel free to skip around between any of these parts listen to some of them listen to all of them listen to none of them it's up to you I've put timestamps in a description so you can skip around a bit more easily between them I really really as I said before believe that following someone else's advice to you isn't always the best thing but I really do hope that something I say here can help you and also thanks for thinking of me to ask in the first place I swear I'm not trying to sound like a self-help guide here even though that's exactly what I'm doing I just wanted to explain a little what my writer's block looks like because it might look the exact same as yours or it might look a little bit different and the way we get over our individual writers blocks might correspond to that from what I can tell though you have your ideas and the drive to pursue them you just are struggling to actually get there and oh my god if that's not me 80% of the time I think we might be very similar and I'm kind of counting on that for the rest of this video the good news about this kind of writer's block is that at least it means you care I've been in a lot a lot a lot of creative writing classes and I can tell you from experience that the kids the people the writers with the writer's block tend to produce the best work in the end because writer's block usually means you care about something so much that if you can't find the right way to get at it you can't get at it it's not like you're doing at any old mediocre way you're really caring about it and so it's hard to do this is a good sign and the good news the bad news is is that it's so bloody frustrating you already know this obviously but the hypothetical question I'm positing here is why is it frustrating writer's block is frustrating for me because it looks like a wall and this wall is made of transparent bricks on one side as me on the other side is my idea that I want to get to but the wall is in the way I can see my idea through the wall but I cannot for the life of me get at it the bricks are too strong for me to fight through and I can't climb up by myself it's too I so what do I do I'm just stuck because writer's block for me is this transparent wall the advice take a break or take time away from your writing feels like the equivalent of sitting down watching the bricks waiting for them to a road away over time it feels frustrating and pointless and the advice of just right through it or keep writing till you get there feels like the equivalent of bashing your head against the wall hoping to move the mortar and the bricks will fall away and you'll be able to get to your idea which is two things tiresome and painful of course this advice actually works for some people whose might take a shorter time to your road away or have a really good uppercut and can despite their way through but for me and it sounds like for you this is not way to go so how do we get to the idea on the other side of the wall this is what my TED talk will be about welcome sit down get yourself ready strap yourself in it's going to be alright okay so you've got your wall you need to get to the other side to your idea bashing your head against the wall isn't doing any good and the bricks are not eroding on their own what do you do you get a ladder I'm really sounding like a self-help guru right now but here we are the ladder here is a metaphor for zooming out forgetting above your idea a bird's-eye view seeing it from a new angle I think a lot of the time when we're writing or creating anything we can get so focused in on one small detail one small fragment of the idea that we can't see the rest of it for the bigger picture that it is we get focused on a certain melody a line a tune a theme that we want to talk about an image of metaphor whatever it is that we can't see its place in the bigger picture we might think that that one idea is the whole picture but not realize it for the little detail that it is I know that I have tried to write so many poems and pieces of writing that I thought originally were about one central idea or topic that ended up turning into something completely different I also know that trying to force that poem or piece of writing or song in your case maybe into that original idea it was like bashing my head against the wall and letting that original idea grow or expand or shift and evolve was the equivalent of going to find a ladder to get over my writer's block it sounds natural and easy when it said like that to let something evolve and grow it sounds simple but it actually can be quite difficult because we want to write about the things we want to write about for a reason because they mean something to us and we feel like we have something to say about them and letting go of that giving control over to the natural creative process can sometimes feel like you've been defeated or that you've failed in your original plan you came up with your original idea for a reason and that's because you wanted to write about it now the do she write a response to that is that in letting go of something you want to write about you end up finding what you need to write about the douchey writer and me loves that idea but the rest of me calls on that the rest of me argues that all you really need to let go of is not what you're trying to write about but how you're trying to write about it let go of forcing every line to rhyme and come back to it later see what's changed delete your favorite line that's making all the other one seem force and what's your song open up before you reword your lyrics shift your focus give your song a new title and see how that changes your perspective on what you've already written all this coincides with the idea of kill your darlings which is the idea in writing that you get rid of that thing that's your favorite but that isn't serving your piece well sometimes we can be blinded about that one bit of writing we think is extra good or that one line that we absolutely want to have in there sometimes it's our favorite bits that are dragging down the rest of what we're trying to write the song the palm the piece of writing the painting it all opens up to us in a fresh new way because we're not bogged down we're not tied down to this one little bit we're so desperate to cling to this is also very difficult because there wouldn't be our favorites for no reason these things we need to get rid of sometimes sometimes you don't need to get rid of your favorite parts it might be good and you just need to bring everything else into sync with it but sometimes getting rid of your favorite part can make everything else a lot better get a letter get above your writing zoom out from the little details and see it for the bigger picture a new angle a new perspective a new way of looking and maybe you might just get over your writer's block or maybe you won't maybe there is no letter or maybe a letter is all you've got this can be a problem too because sometimes all you can see is the broad ideas of whatever you're trying to write your story your song your poem and you can't see the little details of it you can't get into actually writing it because all you can think about are these big broad ideas you're so high up above your work on this ladder that all you can see is a little speck of your idea down below and the fall to the other side to get to the idea will kill you believe me I've been there it's thinking to yourself I want to write a poem about love that idea is too broad it's too big it's too high it's too much love is too big of a topic on its own sadness is too big of a topic on its own heartbreak happiness joy anger fear they're too big or on their own and what are those words even mean it's too hard to write about things that big because no matter how long you write for no matter how much you actually get down on paper you're never going to encapsulate everything there is to say about thing you're going to feel like you're adding Sun finished and it might even read like it is unfinished and this is where instead of zooming out we zoom in or we dig a tunnel and again sorry for the metaphors but hang in there what I mean by dig a tunnel is that to get to your idea let's say here for example a song about love to get to that idea you have to first lose sight of it you have to write about something else for a while let's say a bunch of flowers a certain street corner a memory of a day spent riding bicycles whatever there's something else is you have to use it as a tunnel you have to follow the tunnel through the dark and out the other side to the light where your original idea is the song about love there's a piece of advice floating around the internet somewhere and I cannot remember exactly what the wording is or who said it all I know is that it definitely was not me that came up with it and it goes something vaguely like this the bigger the story the smaller you have to write you can't write about World War two in its entirety but what you can write about is the dahle that's found in the ash beneath the bombed out house to write about the big things you have to write small the bigger the thing the smaller you have to write so to write a song about love you can't just really write a song about love you have to write about the bunch of dying flowers the certain street corner the memory of a day spent riding bicycles these things evoke the idea and give you a way into the idea without getting lost in how big the idea actually is the issue isn't thinking big thinking big is a good idea the problem is trying to write big in response it's trying to write everything you possibly can think about this topic in a mediocre way rather than focusing in on the small little detail of it and making it really poignant and perfect sometimes though and this is often the case for me no matter how high you get no matter how low you go you cannot get to the other side of the wall and you are left on the other side feeling defeated and tired and just generally frustrated I know you don't want to hear it but sometimes at these moments taking a break is the best thing to do but because you don't want to hear it I've got some other advice for you are you ready give up a shocking and counterintuitive I know but he Mia there's no use banging your head against the wall hoping that a brick give you'll only end up bloody and bruised and scarred for your efforts I have the metaphoric scars to prove all the times I thought this was a good idea and you know what I'm not sure I'm better for them riding through it can definitely be more damage than good so sometimes it's better for you and your riding if you just give up turn your back on the wall start to walk away and up what's this a fresh new idea something you've never seen before maybe it's not as big and grand and intricate as the old idea you're trying to get up or maybe it is maybe it's a hundred times bigger and better and you just never knew because you had your back to it the whole time whatever it is the good thing about it is no wall it's like the idea of one door shutting and another door opening only the catch is you have to stop knocking at the first door in the first place to ever go through the second and this seems simple but finding the courage to leave an ID you've already spent so much time on can be a hard thing to do and also another hard thing about this is knowing when to leave the idea in the first place sometimes and I hate to say it banging your head against a wall of writer's block actually shifts some bricks sometimes you get through and maybe like me once or twice in your life this has actually worked for you so why wouldn't it work the next time right through it is advice for a reason because some people find it works I think the key here is remembering that every day your writing is something new because you were looking at it as who you are today and not who you were yesterday and who you were yesterday is infinitely different from the person you are today henceforth your writing is going to be a different beast because you're looking at it with different eyes what works for you yesterday is not the same as what works for you today is not the same as what works for you tomorrow or maybe it is the trick is in keeping your creative mind active keeping it bouncing keeping it moving through different ideas trying old things moving on to the new never getting completely bogged down the discouraged that it can't change itself your creative mind your creative eye is your greatest tool and keeping it sharpened by trialing different ideas and getting a different perspective on the thing that you are currently writing and struggling with is probably the best strategy you can have in your creative toolbox the trick is seeing your work in its many angles as its necessary to find the way that works the best for you because nine times out of ten at least a my own limited experience the idea is always good the idea is always fine it's how to get there that needs the most effort and love an attention all right so that's all well and good but metaphors can only get you so far I know this to be true I've sat through way too many Creative Writing lectures to believe in metaphors as a course of action anymore so what's some practical advice what are some real actual things you magic Jade can do or anyone else watching this hello by the way what are some things that you can do to get over your writer's block to find a new angle to get some new fresh ideas like I said I only have my limited experience to go off and these things might not work for you but here are some tried and tested techniques that I turn to when I'm fighting my own writer's block Walt's one find some writing advice from someone other than me I'm flattered that you've come to me for some tips and advice I really am but there's also a lot out there that you can use to your advantage you could pay for a class like on Skillshare or master class you could scallop interest for little snippets and quotes from authors or singers you really love or you could go borrow a book from a library about songwriting or writing in general personally I've read two books about writing with mixed results and have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to tips and tricks from writers I admire I pick and choose what works for me and I go to this advice when I need a little pep talk number two keep a notebook of random ideas this is very old very universal advice and sometimes it works for me sometimes it doesn't maybe it does for you maybe it doesn't the thing I like about this piece of advice is that keeping a writer's notebook or just an ideas notebook helps you return to the ideas you've previously turned away from and oftentimes you return to them with fresh eyes and no walls like you had before number three switch up your sources of inspiration I know when you're trying to write a certain thing it can seem like a good idea to keep your research purely on that topic so like if you're writing a song you listen to a lot of other songs like the song you're trying to write in order to find inspiration if you're trying to make a film you look at other films if you're trying to write a book you read a whole array of books that are similar to the one but you're trying to write this is a good practice to get into it's good to know your stuff but at the same time it needs to be part of a balanced inspiration diet if you will cook dance hula hoop go for a walk watch the news whip through a trashy TV magazine do something you wouldn't normally do get your brain into a different gear and then return to your piece of work later and see how fresh your eyes are looking at it diversify your sources of inspiration and good things I really hope and really believe will come number four switch up your medium this is following a similar idea as the last one maybe that thing that you're trying to force into a song is actually meant to be a poem instead of lyrics maybe that film is actually supposed to be a radio play maybe that podcast is supposed to be a script for a TV show sometimes our ideas come to us as one thing but actually belong and will flourish as something completely different the skill is in understanding what each idea needs to be and even though you want to write a song maybe right now what you need to do is write a book everyone's journey is different the process is in the attempt that didn't make sense but I'm gonna move on number five make your inspiration your output if I learn anything at university it's this you don't know anything until you can explain it to someone else and following this logic you don't actually know why you think something is good until you can say it out loud you don't know why something makes your hearts or why you can't get it out of your mind why it feels your every waking thought until you can explain that now of course the beauty of art is that a lot of things that we love we can't actually put into words because they exist somewhere beyond words but there is no harm in trying it's also good to remember that analysis is a form of creation the creation of meaning so even if you're just analyzing something someone else made are not creating something wholly original to yourself you're learning what matters to you and what things you really enjoy and the better you know yourself the better you'll be able to create things that you love six share I'm not going to dwell too long on this because this one doesn't really work for me I don't like to share my work but I just want to put it out there in case it's something you haven't tried yet because you don't know you don't like something until you've tried it try getting someone else to look at your work see what they think about it see their reactions to it what works for them what doesn't even if you don't agree with anything they say it'll give you a new way of looking at your work and new ways of looking at your work can only be a good thing the more you know about your work the more you know about how to fix it how to make it better or how much you actually like it and how much it doesn't need changing and seven routine this one sounds a lot like right through it but I promise you it's not my idea here is that creativity breeds creativity the more I create the more I create the catch here is that creativity comes in many different forms whether you're trying to write a story a poem a book a YouTube video a script cookbook anything the more you do the more you do it's like a creative momentum and maybe focusing too much on any one form slows that momentum down maybe you've got so stuck trying to write a song that all your creative momentum has just ground to a halt maybe what you need to do is jump around a little pick up some more creative momentum read a book see a film cook something go for a walk do something creative build up that creative momentum and come back to your song with all of that success and motivation behind you to push you through to the success of your song creativity breeds creativity and now I'm just going to read to you some quickfire tips that have helped me with my writing in the past mindmaps word-association blurting where you literally blurt everything you're thinking onto a page no editing cutting up something you've written which I find works best for poetry but maybe also songs rearranging the pieces and making something completely new or less dramatically rearranging the order of your paragraphs your stanzas your verses to see how they might fit differently and new ideas might spark from that rearranging Google writing prompts do a monthly challenge like escape rule with a list of prompts you have to write about each day use the opening line of a book or a song or a poem and then write something that is completely different to the rest of the book the song the poem use random word generators to spark ideas or write the same thing you're writing now but just do it from someone else's perspective and see how that shifts it all around might even make it easier to write any or all of these little suggestions might work for you or maybe you need to modify them a bit to make the work for songwriting maybe you need to combine them maybe you need to ignore them all completely I'm not sure whatever the case is I have one last piece of advice to you before we move on to part four and that is sometimes you just can't write or sometimes everything you write turns out like crap I know this to be true and I think everyone who writes at some stage of their life knows this to be true the thing to remember is is that it's better to have written something than to have written nothing even if that thing is complete garbage it's easier to fix something than to start from scratch every creative writing professor I've ever had has said to me writing is editing and so even on your worst writing days at least you've had a writing day and even if you got down only one line one sentence one word at least you've got something to build on later I hope that encourages you a little bit it has encouraged me in my own writing practice before I leave you hopefully to do some of your own writing I just wanted to give you a few examples of how I've used some of the tips and techniques I've given you in this video to get over my own writer's block and produce an array of very creative output these are all examples from this YouTube channel so if you want you can hear my advice and hear the process and then check out the outcome of it later and just remember I'm not saying anything about the success or failure of these videos I love some of them and I think some of them could use a lot more work this is just about how I got over writer's block and managed to get all of these things into existence in different ways shapes and forms number one a minute in the mind of an upturned butterfly this poem was a simple case of seeing something in this case a dead butterfly and inspiration sparking it was one of those creative miracle moments a flash of inspiration this is where a notebook can come in handy because you can jot it down otherwise chase that idea as quick as you can to get it out before it disappears number two when I'm 70 Kitt's story corner 0:01 the original idea for this piece of writing was a writing prompt that I went looking for online it was right I led up to your 70 year old self it turned into something completely different from what I originally thought it was going to be looking for a prompt but following your inspiration through to the end can lead to unexpected and lovely things three YouTube channels I love this was a video in which I just talked about YouTube channels I loved and why I loved them and like I said before the process of analysis is also creation and this video allowed me to figure out what I actually liked in YouTube channels and how I wanted my own to be for want to see the Sun explode these few pictures of the Sun are amongst about 50 I took that day but they inspired me to make this little video which in turn got me thinking about the apocalypse which in turn gave me the inspiration to write another video that I produced which was called love in the time of mutually assured destruction proving that creativity breeds creativity and also that you should never be afraid to be your own inspiration number five is to videos my nose piercing and this is how it feels to not know why you're crying two of the most popular videos on my channel really just me writing out the story of a day two different days two different videos and go to show you that your real life isn't as boring as you think because it's real number six my entire escapable playlist escapable was a 30 day poetry challenge with a new prompt for each day so that provided me not only with themes to work off but a deadline deadlines can be really helpful for creativity because you have to cut to the core of what you're trying to say really quickly they can be harmful because you can beat yourself up about not meeting the deadline but if you use a deadline correctly I think it can be very good for your creative process number seven catharsis ask April day 30 this escapable poem I was especially happy with which i think is a little bit strange because it's one of the escapable poems I thought the least about what I did was sat down with the page you see in the video and just write out anything that came to my mind and that just turned into a big long poem it was raw and honest and I think a little bit lovely eight Harry Styles new Gucci campaign is cool by explaining cool to myself as well as to whoever kids watch that video I could start to make things that I thought were cool because suddenly I knew what cool meant to me number nine the bear in the nightingale book report this is one of the pieces of writing I'm most proud of on this channel even though looking at it you wouldn't necessarily think it's the most artistic or creative because it's just a book report right wrong it's actually a sustained reaction a sustained analysis it's informative it's descriptive and if I don't say so myself it's even a little bit entertaining it also allowed me a break from my usual poetic creative artistic writing and so when I inevitably came back to that sort of writing I came with fresher rejuvenated eyes a number ten beading writer's block or things that work for me sometimes a video response the magic Jade inspiration the kind of inspiration that will get you over any form of writer's block might strike you at any time it might even come in the form of a youtube comment the key is to be ready for when it comes and to not fight it when it does because it will come no matter how much you think it won't it will the script for this video this video inspired by one little youtube comment is now nearly four and a half thousand words long tell ya I wrote it in one fell swoop this afternoon all in one go I just let the inspiration take over and I produced this whole beast of a thing creativity manifests itself in a bunch of different ways and not necessarily the ways you think it will in songs in poems and even in advice videos be open don't let yourself be discouraged understand that you will face writer's block your entire life but also note that writer's block means you care about what you're writing and want it to be the best that it can be also know that the more you write the more advice you will gather from your own real-life experience and the more tools you'll have in your arsenal to get over your own writer's block perseverance my friend persevere magic Jade I really hope this video helped you in some way shape or form and even if it doesn't now I hope that it might in the future I'd love to hear one of your songs sometime and thank you again for thinking of me to ask your question do for anyone else watching I'd love to know what tricks you used to get over your own writer's block because no matter how many tricks it may seem I have up these sleeves there's always another wall to face another wall of writer's block but I suddenly have no idea how to get over and any tips tricks tools you have to help me will be much appreciated I like to think that no one ever fully knows how to write and all anyone is doing is trying in case you don't know me my name is Kidd and I'm off to do something else now goodbye

1 Comment

  • Magic Jade says:

    i am in a genuine state of shock and happiness. i definitely have more… hope(?) after watching this video which is often what i find is the most lacking when sitting down to write and facing writers block.

    there are so many specific gems in this video, a big one being analysis of creativity is creativity (i think this might be why i love your harry styles video so much). When i try to look at sources of inspiration and why i find them satisfying as a piece of work i sometimes view it as a failure on my part because instead of creating something i am simply consuming more of what i WISH i was making. Analyzing other works definitely CAN help though which is a nice thing to hear.

    but more than specific ideas, this video as a whole will be so useful as a resource to come back to. Just hearing someone else talk freely on why writers block happens and how to get around the brick wall and about their own works that they’ve done, and their sources of inspiration. I think it counts as gaining creative momentum which is a concept that resonated with how i normally experience block. The idea just makes so much sense in explaining how i can have ideas but i go at them so singularly and quickly that i dig my nose into the ground. my best art always happens when i’m consuming art that i love and being creative in a variety of unrelated ways. I don’t think i ever made that connection before of momentum which is the piece of gold i am going to be taking away from this video. Thank you so much 😊 😁

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