I pride myself on being really good at what I do, which is writing. My wife always tells me how freaked out she is at how fast I can type and push out articles. But quite frankly, a lot of the time, I have a lot of trouble producing the goods. If I am not procrastinating online (I’m looking at you Facebook), the writers block is kicking my ass.
The words just won’t come, no matter how hard I try. Add to that a nice warm attention-seeking dog who is always looking to bounce up on my knee, and you can see right away why there are days when I consider switching careers (it doesn’t last for very long though!).
But when the words absolutely HAVE to come, say if I am about to collide head-on with a deadline, I have to find some way of unfugging my brain. The quickest way I have found is to listen to monologues on YouTube.
Monologue (n) – a speech presented by a single character, most often to express their mental thoughts aloud, though sometimes also to directly address another character or the audience.
The type I am talking about are the ones by political journalists and comedians at the start or end of their show. Comedians can be general comedians such as Stephen Colbert :
Jimmy Fallon :
or they can be political comedians such as Bill Maher :
Samantha Bee (her language can be rather NSFW) :
and John Oliver.
Political journalists can be people like Jake Tapper :
and Rachel Maddow (although I thought the whole Trump tax thing was a huge brouhaha over nothing) :
Listening to monologues, whatever the subject, are brilliant for getting the mind moving. Monologues by their very nature are long commentaries, a “rant” if you will, on that person’s pet topic of the day/week.
Why politics though? Frankly because there are more monologues on politics than any other subject (politics tends to set people off, no matter your political persuasion). So you have a lot to listen to and a lot to think about (which for me is the whole point of the exercise). Plus I am extremely interested in politics which always helps. Politics is also combative, so there are lots of provocative statements, lots of back-and-forth. Somehow I don’t get the same results with Jerry Springer-type shows.
Monologues inspire me a great deal, gets me thinking about their subject, gets me thinking about possible versions that I would have written if I was on their staff, and it generally unfreezes my ability to string two words together. Suddenly before I know it, I am off to the races and typing so fast, there’s smoke coming out of my keyboard.
Writers always advise other writers to find their muse. Generally it is the special someone in their life. With all due respect to my wife whom I love very much, Bill Maher tends to get my creative juices going a lot faster.