I do so love a good all nighter!
Reminds me of that time I had to complete a final paper for a college literature course and I got stuck on page five of 20.
I had drafted the first five pages with ease. Weeks before, I had typed up those first five inspired pages on my trusty Brother (back before computers made it a breeze to edit and rework copy).
So imagine a college Senior, eager to complete this 20 page project and get on with my Life! Sitting at the dining room table (or rather the card table that served as such) I starred hard at the bottom half of the fifth page…blank…uninspired. Simply stuck on where to go from the point I had left off.
My roommate Dan did his best to coax and coach me to relax, let the ideas flow, and just type something but I was a deer in the headlights. But I was determined to sit at that card table, fingers on the keys, and referencing my outline and notes, I prayed for guidance. None came.
So Dan got radical on me. How you ask?
He challenged me to pull out the ½ filled page in my typewriter and replace it with a fresh blank sheet. “Just start over from the beginning.”
He actually suggested that. “Are you crazy?” I cried through my tears of exasperation. He meant it. And he even managed to CONVINCE me to give it a try after a short break from that card table. Even made me a cup of coffee (as I recall) and said he’d be back in a few hours to check on me.
I’m not quite sure how either of my roommates got any sleep that night with me clacking away on the keys, and some how they did sleep through the clickety clack kachunk of that stiff keyboard.
Somehow, that paper got entirely rewritten “from scratch” and by 11am I was literally racing to campus to drop it off at the teacher’s office by noon.
Best part of this nightmare of a college story, is the happy ending: I got an A- on that paper after all the struggle. Dan was brilliant and I told him so when I saw him next.
The lesson learned as it applies to the notion of writing to enhance your business and online presence:
1. Try starting with a blank page when you are stuck.
2. Give up on being stubborn about that blog post you must write.
3. And consider that it probably isn’t the time to be expressed, when you are struggling that much to complete the writing.
4. Write another and come back to the “great idea.”
5. Turn to that “editorial calendar” you created for yourself (or spend some time brainstorming in that thick night energy.)
Every now and then that sleepless night can be a windfall to one’s creative output and getting in touch with one’s writing voice.