Unblocking the Wine Bloggers Writing Block

Block"How do you possibly post to you blog so frequently and where do you get your ideas on what to write about?"

The query was submitted by a newish wine blogger who called me and wanted to get some advice. What he didn't know was that when he asked the question, I found myself, and still find myself, with a severe case of writers blog.

The irony didn't sit well with me.

The idea of writers block is pretty foreign to me. Since beginning this wine blog in November 2004, I've written an average of 28 posts per month. Not quite the "Daily" that is in the title of this blog, but not too far off either.

I told the caller I had to get back to them to take care of some work, then sat back in chair, opened Typepad, hit the "Compose" button.

Nothing.

New Jersey had passed a bad wine shipping law. The U.S. has again become the biggest buyer of wine. The intriguing "Pursuit of Balance" tasting is coming up. Northern California is in the middle of a remarkably dry winter where lawns are turning brown. The issue of "Points" and scoring is everywhere in the air. I'm sure 2012 is going to see some very interesting moves in the on-line wine world. Vintank just released a remarkable update of its fascinating "Social Connect" social media monitoring tool.

And I can't find a creative angle to any of it.

I just sat there. Staring at the screen; thinking of the bloggers question and wondering where writer's block emerges from after never visiting before.

About.com has a page concerning ways to overcome writers block:

1. Implement a Writing Schedule
OK…I can do that.

2. Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself
Too late

3.Think of Writing as a Regular Job, and Less as an Art
Anyone who has read my blog knows I've foregone thinking of my writing as art long ago.

4. Take Time Off If You've Just Finished a Project
It's called the "Daily" wine blog

5. Set Deadlines and Keep Them
See #1

6. Examine Deep Seated Issues Behind Your Writers Block
In the past sex, drugs and drink have always worked better than introspection. No need to change now, I think.

7. Work on More Than One Project at a Time
I'm in PR and have multiple clients. Anything else isn't an option.

8. Try Writing Exercises
Really?

9. Reconsider Your Writing Space
There is not a spot in my house I've not written in.

10. Remember Why You Started To Write In the First Place

There is was…they even put it last. The honest truth is that Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog was begun out of sheer ego. I was convinced I had something to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on wine, the wine industry, wine marketing and wine politics. In addition, I had the courage to say it publicly and not get embarrassed by the exposure. Most importantly, writing—rather than speaking it or thinking it—it always clarified it for me.

I remember all that.

But in front of all that is the fact that wine and all that surrounds it is fascinating to me. The Politics, the history, the unique diversity of products that can be found in no other product category, the craftsmanship, the nothing of consuming what we adore. Fascinating.

What has always lifted me most are those times when I see connections between wine subject matter and human subject matter. The way judging a wine speaks to our need to know ourselves. The way control of wine policy making speaks to the way power is wielded.The way terroir touches as much on the components of soil and taste perception as it does history and culture.

It's all there with wine and gets really good when, like with the contemplation of art or language or the foundations of knowledge, we start to consider it in far broader contexts beyond the simple object, thing or idea directly in front of us.

I called back the newish blogger and told them I'm able to write so much on my blog because I like thinking about what I believe the refining my thought to suit my ego.

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  1. Steve Heimoff - January 18, 2012

    Blogging, when all is said and done, is simply writing on assignment. It has deadlines–even though those deadlines are self-imposed. Any professional writer will tell you there’s nothing like an impending deadline to get the creative juices flowing! That’s where the ideas come from: the brain desperate to turn out the final product before the clock ticks midnight.

  2. Samantha Dugan - January 18, 2012

    I think those deadline juices are what separates professional writers from hacks like myself. When I have deadline looming it feels like a boot across my throat. Hate it and I can honestly say that some of the most insipid shit I’ve ever written has been when I’m racing the clock. Just not built that way.
    I’ve been a bit of a writing slump as of late, I think it’s just the post-holiday hangover where my mind and body are recovering from working retail in the crazy season but, well whatever it is it still plagues me so I feel ya Mr. Wark.

  3. PaulG - January 18, 2012

    Tom, don’t worry so much. There is a really EASY cure for writer’s block. Don’t write! Why be a slave to a title? The world won’t stop if you go to 3 a week, for example. And the writing might even benefit. Try it!

  4. Ron Washam, HMW - January 18, 2012

    People have been praying for me to get writer’s block, but I’ve never had that problem in my life.
    Writer’s block is so often about trying to achieve perfection, thinking that every post has to be brilliant, incisive, funny, beautifully written… Just sit down and start typing.
    I know that if I sit down and start typing–anything, the Pledge of Allegiance–that’s the cue my brain needs to understand that it’s time to write. In about ten minutes it starts to get easy and I find that I have ideas faster than I can type them. The brain needs a cue, and staring at a blank screen doesn’t work.

  5. Essay Writing Service - January 19, 2012

    I honestly learned about nearly all of this, but with that in mind, I still considered it turned out beneficial. Fine post!

  6. Karen - January 19, 2012

    Writer’s block hits us all when we need it least! And because vices aren’t acceptable while on the clock, I find it helpful to approach the topic at hand like a sculpture…Examine it from all possible perspectives/dimensions until something clicks…
    Thanks for the post!

  7. Karen - January 19, 2012

    Writer’s block hits us all when we need it least! And because vices aren’t acceptable while on the clock, I find it helpful to approach the topic at hand like a sculpture…Examine it from all possible perspectives/dimensions until something clicks…
    Thanks for the post!

  8. Joeshico - January 19, 2012

    Writers Block? I quess that’s what it’s called. Many times I feel like just deleting my amateur?personal blog because I just can’t find the words or just don’t feel like I belong in this realm of wine writers. Sometimes one has to realize that he/she is not a Tom Wark, Joe Roberts, Steve Heimoff et al and not worry about what others think. I am doing my blog for me and me only and don’t worry about how I present my articles. I like your 10 points or ways to overcome writers block, but have never even thought that it affects many of what I consider the best bloggers. Thanks for the post!


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