What should you do if you have writer’s block?
It’s a question that has plagued poets since the beginning. William Stafford, one of the most prolific poets of the 20th century, famously said to lower your standards, to write down whatever crap came sifting through your head. It’s possible that crap could eventually lead to a poem. I know for me this has happened more than a few times–especially when I take the time to revise properly.
But what if you are even too lazy to do this? What if you just worked a 14-hour day and you’ve got nothing left to think?
The answer: use source material from something else.
It could be anything–a newspaper, magazine, song, another poem. Or maybe even a YouTube ad from Tai Lopez–you know, the guy who irritates millions of people daily promising to help you find your life’s purpose.
To show how easy this can be, I selected one of Lopez’s shortest YouTube videos, entitled “How to Do Half The Work So you can Relax” and decided to try and create a minimalist love poem out of it. Here is the video:
I listened to the whole thing, writing down on a notepad all of the phrases I could keep up with. Some I missed. Some I ignored. Whatever sounded strange or interesting, I jotted down. Each phrase had its own line.
I only went through the video once. Again, I was too lazy to make this hard work. But by the end of the video, it didn’t matter. I had several dozen lines from which to choose. I then selected phrases from the list I thought had some interest and used them as the basis of a new poem. After adding a line of my own, here is what I came up with:
the first rocket ship
twice as much
words fallen back to ground
Not bad. In fact, I kind of like it. It’s got a nice little space/earth vibe going on.
And in the space of just a few minutes work, the writer’s block is broken.