Poster’s Block 2011

Way back in May of 2009 after the first two months of Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog, I complained about a case of Poster’s Block.   When I started this blog back in March, I wrote, I committed to posting at least twice a week.   Looking at my archives, you’ll see that I posted five times in March and eight in April.   But with May has come a return of poster’s block and it’s driving me crazy.   Bud’s Blog has come a long way.  I’ve published 516 posts and have been posting every day in 2011 as part of Postaday2011.   Some days, I’m three or four posts ahead with publication scheduled in advance.   Other days, there’s a post already written in my brain, waiting to be transcribed.   But last night, I encountered true poster’s block again.   You’d think it would have struck on one of my theme days.  After all, if I’m having a crappy week, Monday Smiles might be hard to come by and if my Inner Curmudgeon has escaped, he’ll fight tooth and nail to keep me from writing a spiritual post for Sunday.  But yesterday was Top Sites Tuesday … all I needed to do was come up with Two Thoughts.  Still, by midnight I had nothing.

These are the worst moments of Postaday2011 and yet they are exactly the reason I’m so goldurned stubborn about sticking with it.   It’s in the cauldron of a (self-imposed) deadline that I learn about the process of writing.   And in this case, I got to see that in the paraphrased words of Walt Kelly’s Pogo, I have met the enemy and he is me.   It’s a lesson I first learned when I was agonizing over finishing my PhD dissertation and my adviser told me, Write it up, Frank.  You’ve done enough.   When I can’t come up with a post, it’s not the theme-of-the-day that’s the problem or the lack of inspiration.  It’s that infernal internal perfectionist for whom nothing is good enough.  I have to ignore him and act.  Still, to act, I need an idea and when the perfectionist is looking over my shoulder, they can be hard to find.   Here’s some ideas on how to hunt one down.

(1) Go somewhere where there are people. The gym. Costco.  Starbucks.  Sooner or later, something you see or hear will either touch you or annoy you.  Write about it.

(2) Step away from the keyboard.  Back when I was a student, a very helpful teacher taught me that if I couldn’t remember something, I should just stop thinking about it for a while.  The same is true of idea hunting.

(3) Read the news, particularly online.   The internet news is so full of provocative subjects, you’re certain to be stimulated by something.

(4)  Write with no subject in mind.   Preferably use a pen and a notebook (c’mon Younger Eyes, you still can write in long hand).  Do it for two pages … or a half hour.   Write any ideas that pop up in the margins and keep writing.

(5) Go blog surfing.  There are dozens of ways to find interesting, provocative … or even annoying … blogs.   You can even use tags if you’re trying to post on a particular subject.

(6) Go back and read some comments on previous posts.   Often there’s an idea there just waiting to be harvested.

(7) Consider your abandoned drafts.  If you are anything like me, you’ve abandoned some perfectly good ideas the last time you were blocked.

(8) Grab an emotion.  If you’re cranky at someone, write about it.  If you’re angry, have at it.  There’s an idea at the bottom of that well.

(9) Do a meme.  Yes, I know, you hate memes.  I hated castor oil when I was a kid, too.  Look at me now.

(10) Sit down and start a post.  Pick one of those unsatisfactory subjects and start writing.   Commit to it.

Yes, I know.  Not posting is indeed an option.  You can do that.   But what do you do when you’ve got Poster’s Block and you want to post?

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12 Comments on “Poster’s Block 2011”

  1. marjulo Says:

    Well, look at you! You did come up with a good post! I like your suggestions. One of my problems is perfectionism too. I way over-think everything and write like I think I’m earning a grade. Talk about harsh critics! BTW, what is a meme?

    • oldereyes Says:

      A meme (in blogging) is provides a topic for a group of people to post on, like the Postaday2100 Topic of the Day. The one I do most Tuesdays is part of a blogging community … we not only pst on the topic, wecommit to reading and commenting on each other’s posts. A lot of bloggers hate them … I like the challenge (most weeks).

  2. Good points, whether you write every day or every week or even if you do non- blog writing. I’m happiest to write when the mood strikes me. And I am totally off caring about my stats or the number of comments I get, which is a huge relief.

    • oldereyes Says:

      When I discovered that a substantial portion of my views were by bots, I was cure of view-counting. And while I don’t comment-count, I do love comments because they are stimulating and bring the sense of community that really defines blogging. I sure didn’t expect that when I started.

  3. comingeast Says:

    Good suggestions. With them, you’ve helped all of us that get blocked. And we all do, don’t we!

    • oldereyes Says:

      Tuesday night I was as blocked as I’ve been in a long time … it was (3) that saved me … then I did (8), grabbing the emotion of frustration, to write this post. Thursday? We’ll see.

  4. PS (and then I promise I’m done): Literal Posters Block: I did post today, but for some reason my post vanished from the tag pages. It’s still posted… just not in the tags. Any idea why that happens? It’s happened two or three times.

  5. Bob S Says:

    Well at least when you are having difficulty finding a topic you don’t do what the popular media does and get all involved with someone’s private parts. I commend you for that.

    Maybe you have to go back to the advice you gave me: “Write it as if you were never going to publish it”. (It hasn’t helped me get started, but I like the idea.)

    I saved your suggestions to help me get started.

  6. Thanks for list list, Bud! I’m actually suffering from Poster’s Block too!

  7. Writer’s or Blogger’s block -whichever you care to call it -is something I consider a bit of a plague. I keep having recurring bouts of it too. I loved -laughed out loud -at your comment about hating castor oil as a kid but well, here you are posting (and a good one at that) after all. I really think much of my blockage problem stems from being so great at procrastination for openers. And how many times can I write about my procrastination and also, my disorganization (which reigns supreme too)? You know how so many folks write articles and even books on how to stop procrastinating or help guides against disorganization, well I could probably write a book on how NOT to do either of those things. Hmmm. Did I just give myself a topic? Nah. I’ll play Scarlett O’Hara (my favorite heroine) and worry about that tomorrow!

  8. Hi Bud

    Great ideas for posting.
    I have found over time as I go to different places and see something funny or weird I mumble now that’s a blog post! I do have my moments too, thanks for the ideas and joining our Meme.


  9. Wolfbernz Says:

    I have no Idea how my name came out like that…LOL

    Have a great day


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