Write A Really Bad Commercial
January 20, 2015
Writer's block often occurs because the voice of our inner critic is so loud in our heads, it blocks out the flow of ideas. You may not be able to ignore that critic, so just tell him or her (and yourself), "I'm going to write a really bad commercial." This is one way of removing the pressure to create a work of art (as well as commerce).
As you begin to write your bad commercial, don't go for clichés for a formulaic spot ... go for adventure, go for broke. Be willing to try things that you've never tried, or even heard anyone else try. Don't be afraid to write awkward, boring dialogue, with stilted expressions or wild untamed stuff. Don't try to make sense. Remember, you're going for really bad here. Focus on drama, conflict and interesting situations. See what happens. You can refine it later.
If you've done your homework, developed back-stories for your character(s), and built in some confrontation, the story will write itself.
As you write, don't clean it up or try to make it perfect along the way. Just let the story flow. See what happens. Discover it as you write. Just tell your story.
You'll end up with much more than you need. When you see where the story has gone, you may want to go back and redo the beginning, fix the end, punch up the drama, add to the conflict and exaggerate the reactions.
Now go back and edit. Simplify. Clarify. You may find that you've created a campaign of several spots. This is not a bad thing.
While you want each commercial to have the structure of a play, for the most part they will be powerful scenes in that play. And now you'll find that writing bad has created something good.
Notice how much easier it is to write without that critic jabbering in your ear.
When you're done writing your really bad commercial, you may have broken through blocks to creating a great one. Tell that to your inner critic.