Are You a Writer in a Box?

by Joel Eisenberg 5 months ago in how to

There is a world of difference between branding and confinement.

Are You a Writer in a Box?

“How do you avoid writer’s block?” is the most common question I hear from writers.

I write thousands of words a day on various topics. I’ve long ago gone from struggling with writer’s block to coming up with an interesting sentence.

One is not a lesser evil than the other, however. The only difference is when writers actively stop struggling against stasis, our synapses fire in such a way where barriers break and abundance takes over. The block is diluted when we stop fighting, as what has been holding us back no longer holds the same power.

It’s no longer worth our fight.

Conversely, writing with a sense of abundance knows no boundaries.

This is where we will begin.

Branding vs. Evergreen Branding vs. Confinement

Branding is a proactive effort on the part of a writer to hone in on certain areas of personal and professional expertise and exceed the expectations of their readers by writing within them. Successfully exceeding expectations while offering anticipated content will, ideally, lead to a larger readership.

Evergreen Branding — a term I created for this article — is branding with no limits. Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, Cantonese for The Way of the Intercepting Fist, which he further described as “the art of fighting without fighting,” is a fair analogy. Lee did not believe in limitation. For writers, branding with no limits is in itself a brand, with no opportunity for confinement.

Confinement is when readers expect one thing and one thing only from a writer. When the writer tries spreading their wings and writing “outside the box,” they are rejected. Performers very much deal with this type of expectation: It’s called “typecasting.”

We all need our readers, but allowing those readers to dictate your creativity is an issue you need to curtail before it begins.

The Free Writer

Writing freely is akin to an athletic pursuit. Indeed, writing to me is an athletic pursuit. We have a certain amount of time to affix our words on the page, and we hope our strategy brings with it the desired success. If said strategy does not work, we must pivot. If you write professionally for a living, meeting deadlines are non-negotiable.

Being a free writer grants creators certain privileges that do not exist when concerning themselves with an imaginary box.

You have a particular advantage if you are not yet an established writer, as your brand-in-progress has not yet been widely recognized. Is an evergreen brand any “better” than a standard brand? Not necessarily. A dentist who wants to write may be unable to compose a thoughtful work about being a car mechanic, for example. Work within your areas of expertise if that is where you firmly believe your work will most resonate, but always exceed expectations — those of both your readers and yourself.

Free writers, those who work within the evergreen brand and hold no sway whatsoever to confinement, are rare but they exist. “Jacks of all trades,” as they are known in industry, exist in the literary world too.

But readers can be a picky lot. Regardless of the type of writer, we all need to serve our readership in the end.

Remaining in “The Zone”

Returning for a moment to my “athletic” analogy, once writer’s block has been rendered obsolete … write! Write as if your life depends on it, as if you have a great deal of catching up to do. Revel in that athlete’s zone and remain there for as long as you can.

A quick strategy: Don’t think about it too much.

Just write.

Thank you for reading.

If you have found this article of value, feel free to recommend, share and follow me here on Vocal, where I publish stories daily on a variety of topics.

how to
Joel Eisenberg
Joel Eisenberg
Read next: Why Denny's Is the Perfect Starter Job for a Cook
Joel Eisenberg

Joel is a writer-producer, and partner in TV development group Council Tree Productions. He has developed projects for Ovation TV, TNT, Decades TV and FOX Studios, among others.

See all posts by Joel Eisenberg