What the What? 4 Super Obvious Tips to Battling Writer’s Block

Battling Writer's Block

The web has made writers out of all of us. Whether I’m posting a birthday haiku on a friend’s Facebook page,  commenting on the newest app via Twitter or habitually article writing for my business, I am more aware each day that my words are my craft. Honestly, there is nothing that makes me happier. Until “The Dreadful” happens…that is.

You know what I’m talking about. DUM, DUM, DUM! Writer’s Block. {Enter scream of mock horror}.

Last week, it happened to me. There is nothing worse that wanting so badly to be productive and not being able to do so.  Experts agree that this hellish phenomenon is simply the anxious mind shutting down.

The omniscient and always reliable {sarcasm} Wiki says,

“Writer’s block is a condition, associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite.”

Um, YEARS?!? Okay, so before I fall off the cliffs of insanity and “abandon my career”, let’s take a practical approach here. Sheesh!

As I was struggling with a particularly bad case of writer’s block last week, I noticed that I followed a few super simple key principles to drag myself out of it. These writing tips are very obvious {as my snarky title implies} because they are nothing new. Sometimes, we just need to keep it simple.

Battling Writer's Block

1. Get out of your head & deny the anxiety.

Many times, I’ve fallen back on warm-up exercises from my college writing class. Back then, I was grabbing my favorite pen and homemade journal and letting anything that came into my mind pour out onto the paper.  These days as a copywriter, the quiet clicking on a keyboard brings similar relief as I let my fingers do the talking. In fact, during my uncomfortable moment last week, I even jotted down the title of this article…”Battling Writers Block.”  While this technique is especially liberating for creative writing, this exercise is also a surefire tool in prepping for research and analytic writing. Your brain is a muscle after all. So, warm it up! Try not to think “What can I write about…?”, but instead follow the lead of your inner dialogue. Let go of the reins and step out of your comfy little zone. The fancy name for this is a “free associative exercise“.

2. Write ahead and schedule your posts.

All the preparation in the world doesn’t matter if you find yourself stuck in the writer’s block quagmire. I try to recognize when I’m in a particularly productive mode and make the most out it. By maximizing my “peak’ hours, I work smarter, not harder. Sometimes, this means writing four half-articles with huge gaping holes that need polishing later. But, even if I don’t finish my article, a good start will be a heaven-sent blessing at a more sluggish time later. Using a good interactive calendar and post scheduler like Hootsuite can also been very helpful in your article writing endeavors. I recently discovered the “Auto Schedule” function in Hootsuite and it has taken some of the guesswork out of strategic scheduling.

3. Keep a list of brainstorming ideas.

The topic list is a writer’s most sacred text. Hold it close. Value and treasure it. Add to it with the fervor and reverence of a patriotic revolutionary. This is your craft, your livelihood, your handiwork. Don’t be afraid of fragmented ideas and definitely don’t forget that there are no stupid ideas, only underdeveloped ideas. A good time to add to this list for me is during those “peak hours”  I mentioned in point #2.  Try a mobile app like ColorNote for Android or Apple’s Note Plus for iPhone and iPad users. If you need more space, use a whiteboard and some colorful markers to get your creative juices flowing. The key is to a) keep this list and b) refer to it.

4. Get a Fresh Perspective

Writing is an expression of your thoughts, perspectives and opinions – a culmination of YOU, with a particular message to share. If you find yourself  in a writer’s block funk, try to break up the routine by doing something good for the soul like chatting with a fellow blogger, listening to good music or getting outside. Chances are, once you encounter a new thought or idea, your mind will be dying to digest the information and add your own spin through your copywriting. Reading and researching is also a never-fail solution for me. My Google Reader has been a life-preserver during particularly agonizing periods of  writer’s block.

Do you have have a recommendation on how to beat the writing blues? What is the longest period of writer’s block that you have battled?

This article was orginally posted: 31 Dec 2010 12:21 AM PST by PollySentrick for Pandora Project Marketing, LLC.

You are reading , What the What? 4 Super Obvious Tips to Battling Writer’s Block originally posted on PollySentrick. If you’ve enjoyed this post, please be sure to follow PollySentrick on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest.


Miami Salsa Getting Facelift by Local Band, Conexion Latina

Miami’s hottest, new salsa sound might sound a little familiar to you. That’s because it’s coming from Conexion Latina, who describes their sound as “blending old school salsa brava with the new school hits”.

Created by Hector “Tito” Colon, the band is a dream that has been long in the making since he was a child growing up in both Puerto Rico and New York.  Now collaborating with talented musicians from all over the globe and calling Miami “home”, the group makes musical  magic at their shows, under Colon’s direction.

Conexion Latina 305 live performance

Wallflowers beware! Playing hits that you love from the salsa greats and original mash-ups of their own, you won’t be able to sit still when Conexion Latina plays live. This Miami-based salsa band is a twelve-piece phenomenon on the stage, sure to capture the affections of even the most avid salsa aficionado.

One of the projects that I’ve been working this month is a blog for Conexion Latina.  Take a look at their promotional video and follow the Conexion Latina 305 blog to see our progress each week.  You will be the first to know when you can hear them play live! We will also be featuring one-on-one sit down interviews with the musicians, highlights from recent shows and a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to make great salsa. You can also check out Conexion Latina on their facebook page for more videos and news.

Like what you see and want to book the band for your next event? Conexion Latina is now accepting bookings across the continential United States and internationally. Call 786.380.6992 for more information or get booking information online.

You are reading , Miami Salsa Getting Facelift by Local Band, Conexion Latina originally posted on PollySentrick. If you’ve enjoyed this post, please be sure to follow PollySentrick on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest.

Six Powerful Lessons in Leveraging Brand Awareness from Benjamin Franklin

I have compiled six powerful lessons that our team has recently gleaned from Benjamin Franklin and are applying to our online engagement strategy. Yep, that’s right! The Benjamin Franklin– Father of Electricity, inventor, ambassador, efficiency enthusiast and really cool guy. Oh alright! His face is on the one hundred dollar bill and it’s “all about the Benjamins”. Whatever.  Here’s what we’ve learned.

1.  It’s never too late to start something new with conviction and courage.

At 42, Franklin retired from the printing press business and pursued science wholeheartedly. Sure, it was the Age of Enlightenment, but Franklin stepped into uncharted territories with no formal training or experience. His pursuit was driven by a passion to learn. Our brand is being built on the foundation of our collective experiences across the industries of marketing, web development and consumer engagement, but we are distinguished only by a commitment to constantly learn as we go. If you are considering a courageous move away from the corporate office or have been forced out of your cubicle and tossed out on your own, be inspired that great success is usually won  by those willing to put in the work. There is no better time than NOW! We continue to apply this lesson at Pandora Project Marketing to our own journeys professionally and personally and encourage you to do the same.

2.  A penny saved is a penny earned.

Franklin knew the importance of conserving resources and is often quoted for this coppery quip. Social media is free and requires nothing more than time, energy and some targeted guidance to get it right. Your brand doesn’t necessarily need an advertising budget to get started and continue to grow into a profitable venture. Check out @AJBomber’s in Milwaukee as a perfect case study. Built entirely on social media, Joe Sorge speaks openly about his success in achieving a five year sales goal in just 18 months. Online marketing through social and digital media could not only save you money, but help you earn some new capital too.

3.  Get plugged in.

Through his prolific experiments, Franklin learned that electricity travels through a specific point and can be harnessed for practical uses. His progressive courage to explore just “how” to do this led to the invention of lightning rods, which initially protected buildings and later became an adaptable power source. Good job, Ben!  As a new or established brand, we can use social media to “plug-in” to those who are successful and learn how to better adapt in our own niche market.

Maybe most importantly, this concept is also a great testimony to what happens when a powerful force is channeled properly. We are committed to evolving the use of our social media streams to our advantage and letting a proven track record become a part of our success story. Think Pinterest. It’s not just for crafters, buddy!  Are you utilizing one of the most powerful resources in digital marketing? It’s literally right at your fingertips!

4.  Be a (Wo)Man of the People.

A brilliant scientist that made time for the people? Get outta here! Yep! Personal accounts of Franklin show that he was skilled at intimate conversations. Good relationship building skills made him a well-liked guy and influential with other folks. When a frenchman. in turn, carried out his own experiment and constructed the first lightning rod house, it was Benjamin Franklin’s popularity that soared overseas in Europe. His ability to speak with people and to people made him invaluable in many ways, even through the efforts of his contemporaries!

Many of us have a significant offshore network based on this same concept. Today, we  must continue to build real and lasting relationships with potential clients and peers by being open and forthright with others and showing that we truly do care. Do you cringe at the idea of reaching out to someone new? Rather drink cold Starbucks then strike up a conversation with a stranger? Then how do you ever expect to reach a customer? How will you convert a passerby to a CLIENT? Successful brands are built on the backbone of relationships. Regardless of industry, we must be passionate about people and those we mean to serve. Open your mouth and your self and practice engaging people. Perfect practice makes perfect, right?

4. Think BIG!

Big Ben gathered research constantly and never, ever, EVER stopped thinking. Did you know he conducted extensive research on Gulf stream temperatures while travelling on his transatlantic voyages? Hello, modern meteorology!  He was also busy perfecting efficient heating stoves, while working on the treaty with the English in 1785. Sure, the first few  stove models were a flop. But the final editions were adopted worldwide! What would happen if we followed suit and pursued those ideas that we just aren’t so sure about? How much are we leaving on the table every single day by limiting our vision to that which is only guaranteed to be attainable? With new brands popping up every day, your idea is just as valuable as anyone else’s idea…until they run with it. Go! Go! Go!

5. Don’t be afraid to gather + share information.

Once Franklin missed out on a lunar eclipse because some pesky clouds were blocking his vision that night. So, he wrote to every one he could reach, up and down the east coast to ask about the timing and scope of the storm. Using that data, he determined that winds traveled in various directions and not just from the northeast. Again, develop relationships. Start conversations by asking questions. Build a network that serve as a support system for your new venture. Most of us are always willing to share what worked well or what totally flopped. It’s a win-win situation when you carry on relevant conversations online.

6. Share Information Again!

Did I stutter? No. It’s really that important. Despite being a go-getter and handy with an inky feather, Mr. Franklin felt confident that there was no need to patent his many inventions. Why? Because wanted his inventions to benefit ALL.

I think we are all guilty of not following through with the “sharing” part at some point in our lives, if not every day. It’s human nature to selfishly protect what we think is valuable. But it’s hurtful. Yes, hurtful. Lock yourself away and you defeat the purpose of digital marketing for brand awareness and consumer engagement. We have to constantly ask ourselves, “Are we clinging to a our bits of valuable information and missing out on the opportunity to share in a wealth of knowledge?”

Competition is healthy and raises the standards in our industries, but especially in the digital marketing world. Brands and businesses that work together to share best practices build an authoritative reputation and are generally more trusted as subject matter experts than the cooped-up suit in the corner office.

In today’s climate, it’s small businesses and personal brands that are experiencing the most growth and yet we are surely struggling with the most challenges to sustain our visions. It can be excruciatingly difficult to grow a business. Where are those rewards we thought were on our doorstep? They might be in a different package than we expected. Bottom line- Each step is an opportunity to learn and constantly improve.

So, armed with what we continually learn from our peers and have just picked up from one of history’s most innovative, inspirational figures (Thanks Big Guy!), we press on in an effort to create a profitable brand, yet acknowledge the importance of making the journey meaningful along the way.

Do any of these points ring true to you professionally or personally? What challenges are you facing now as a brand or small business?  Have you recently overcome a challenge that might help another brand better engage their online audience? Share your battle stories from the trenches by leaving a comment below.

You are reading , Six Powerful Lessons in Leveraging Brand Awareness from Benjamin Franklin  posted on PollySentrick. If you’ve enjoyed this post, please be sure to follow PollySentrick on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest.

(Originally Posted: 14 Jan 2011 01:14 AM PST by PollySentrick for Pandora Project Marketing)

Making a Conexion – Freelancing in Miami Salsa

I’m very excited to be working freelance again and in salsa of all things! After two years of getting “settled in” down in sunny South Florida, I have decided to open myself back up to the possibility of working for myself. And no, I am not a ballroom dance instructor or a congo playing crooner…at least this week.

My new project for February will be establishing a better online presence for La Conexion Latina 305, a Miami-based salsa band made up of a diverse group of talented musicians.

The brainchild of  Hector “Tito” Colon, this band melds traditional Nuyorican salsa with Afrocentric rythyms. Tito y su orquestra masterfully put together striking melodies of flavorful salsa with new-school hooks from pop and rock.

This is the first time I have worked professionally with a group of musicians and I look forward to bringing a little PollySentrick quickstep to their game. Any pointers on how to get a quick tutorial in spicy?

You are reading , Making a Conexion – Freelancing in Miami Salsa  originally posted on PollySentrick.  If you’ve enjoyed this post, please be sure to follow PollySentrick on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest.