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How to Write or Design on Command
By: Larissa Harris
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I had a conference with my daughter’s teacher yesterday and learned that she was having trouble with her writing assignments. I can totally relate—I get writer’s block, creative block, and even paperwork block! So I did some research and wrote down some of my own methods to get past the block and write on command. I thought I should share what I found since it seems to be such a widespread problem.
Focus on the Project
One of the biggest blocks is lack of focus. I don’t know how I ever managed to complete any work during school with all the distractions caused by 20+ other kids in the room. I need silence to get my creative juices flowing! What do you do if you can’t have silence? You’ll have to pretend you have silence and tune out the background noise. Put all other thoughts out of your mind. Easier said than done, I know.
Don’t Try to Be Perfect
To be honest, perfectionism is personally not a problem for me. Many writers and creatives think they need to create the best, most wonderful project, and this type of thinking can kill a career! Like we tell our children, just do your best. It might be better one day than it is the next, but if you don’t try, you won’t know how it might turn out. Trust yourself to create something good, and you might end up with something great. We almost always have time for re-writes and editing.
Make an Outline
This is the best advice I have to give: make an outline. An outline might seem just as hard as actually writing the article or designing a web site, but if we take the time to think about what we want to create without first having to word it correctly or design it beautifully, the creative ideas will come later. This way, the creativity will match the content instead of the other way around. For example, I've never understood how songwriters write lyrics after music is composed. I'd imagine it would work the other way around. I suppose that's why I'm not a songwriter!
Write Something Relevant
Students don’t have the problem of knowing what is cliché or overdone. They only need to please their teacher, who functions as a client. Every writer or designer has to create with the client's enjoyment in mind. The best way to write something people want to read, or design something people want to see, is to read. We must read blogs, articles, Facebook posts, and Tweets to know what the current, relevant topics are. It's amazing how many people tweet that they are having a creative block.
Everyone faces creative or writer’s block. We aren’t all Don Draper, after all. There are many articles written about techniques to get past it; however, too many of them involve an additional distraction like taking a break or changing your environment. This won’t work if you are a student in a classroom or a designer with a deadline. Sometimes we have to buckle down, persevere, concentrate, and just do the work. Hopefully these tips will help if you can’t wait for the creativity to come to you.

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About the Author
Larissa Harris is a graphic designer, Web developer, and social media marketer. Read her blog, LarissaHarris.com; "like" her Facebook page; or follow her on Twitter
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