What has Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison and Shawn Mendes had in common?
They use this one simple analogue tool to catch all their fleeting thoughts. It’s a pencil.
Nicolas-Jacques Conté invented the pencil in 1795. He is a scientist serving under Napoleon Bonaparte. He mixed powdered graphite with clay. After drying it out, he pressed the material between two pieces of wood.
What Causes Writer’s Block?
1. Your Ego Is The Block
Relinquish your control over your first draft. Nobody knows you are suffering from Writer’s block. Only you know. Set aside your ego and allow yourself to be human. Go back to the raw side of yourself and write what has changed your life. The first draft belongs to you and only to you. Own it.
2. Burnt Out Can Dry Out All Your Ideas
Stop writing every day. If you cannot write your article that day, shut off your laptop. Head out to the nearest park and tune out. By tuning out, you will discover something you never notice before.
3. You Are Simply Exhausted
Writing every day can create a toll in your mental state. You are always on the edge of chasing the next article and the next line. Ultimately, you will reach a plateau stage. Take a break and watch a show on Netflix. It is okay to be on the sidewalk sometime and binged out on a “Friend” episode.
How To Use the Pencil to Overcome Your Writer’s Block?
1. Drop Your Ego And Allow Yourself To Be Vulnerable
Shawn Mendes, Popular Canadian Songwriter scored his fourth №1 album on the Billboard 200 chart with “Wonder”.
“I must have been writing on my Journal and calling my friends and speaking to Camilla almost every night conceptualizing life, realizing, not realizing that it was going to my album.”Zach Sang Show, Shawn Mendes Talks Wonder, Writing Process & New Album
In his interview with Zach Sang Show, he opened up on his creative process on how he wrote Wonder. He spoke about his life amid a COVID-19 pandemic and the helpless feeling of not being able to produce his next album during that period.
Instead of feeling angst about the whole situation, he decided to reflect on his feeling by writing down his fear and ideas in his journal. That’s how “Wonder”, the album came alive into his mind.
“It’s very important to have this little book to vent inside and at the same time to have the little book to write down what you are grateful for and to have this little book to get it out and it fuels my music.”Shawn Mendes, Interview with Zach Sang Show
Write down your reflection in 3 sentences every day. Write down the stuff you have heard throughout the day. Write down what you want to do the next day. Write something.
Here is an example of my 3-sentences reflection for today.
- I am grateful for my sick leave, which allows me to rest and recuperate myself for today.
- Writing on Medium allows me to pay a little more attention to my own life
- It’s okay to be mediocre today.
Now, it’s your turn to write yours.
2) Play With Famous Writers’ Writing Style
Go to Random sentence generator and generate 3 sentences.
Here is the random sentence which I have generated.
The delicious aroma from the kitchen was ruined by cigarette smoke.
Pick 3 of your favourite authors and adjust the sentence according to their writing style.
My favourite authors are Haruki Murakami, Ted Chiang and Paul Auster.
Below is how I envision how they will write the sentence in their own style.
He stuffed his half-smoked cigarette into the ashtray. The sunlight is filling up the kitchen with its glorious ray. His neighbour, Mrs Muraki is cooking a pot of stew right now. It smells like a distance memory. A faded scene of his childhood.
My pot of Chicken stew is simmering on the stove. I saw you lit a stick of Marlboro Cigarette in the kitchen’s entrance.
It has been long said that cigarette aroma carried 400 types of odour molecules. They contain 7,000 chemicals, made up of different particles and gases, over 70 of which cause cancer.
Now, there are here, in the kitchen with me. Slowly entering into my nose, into my nose hair and being absorbed into my lung.
He saw her placing a frozen piece of salmon on the pan. She should thaw it. Nobody cook salmon straight out from the refrigerator. It will spoil the taste.
She lit up a cigarette, much to his dismay. Tonight dinner is going to be a disaster. He sighed, walking out of the kitchen.
Go and pick 3 of your favourite writers and play with their style right now.
3) Experiment With Verbs And Nouns
Austin Kleon came up with this Nouns & Verbs game. I found it pretty fun and stimulating to see things from a different perspective.
The game goes like this as stated from the website:
- Make a list of 10 verbs related to some profession. I will make a shortlist of 3 verbs right here (I will choose a Nurse for the verb)
2. Write down ten nouns within your field of vision. I will make a shortlist of 3 nouns right here (I will choose an Undertaker for the Nouns)
3. Connect the words that don’t usually go together.
Poke into the ashes
Wrap up the dead body
Scan into the coffin
- Drop your ego and allow yourself to be vulnerable
- Play with Famous Writers’ writing style
- Experiment with verbs and nouns