All posts tagged “block”

France can now block suspected terrorism websites without a court order

A new decree that went into effect today allows the French government to block websites accused of promoting terrorism and publishing child pornography, without seeking a court order. Under the new rules, published last week by France’s Ministry of the Interior, internet service providers (ISPs) must take down offending websites within 24 hours of receiving a government order. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says the decree is critical to combatting terrorism, but civil rights groups say it gives the government dangerously broad powers to suppress free speech.

The regulations have been under consideration since 2011, but gained new momentum following last month’s terrorist attacks at the Paris office of the satirical magazine…

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20 ways to overcome creative block

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Follow these 20 tips on beating creative block from leading designers and you’ll soon see those inspirational juices flowing again.

Creative Bloq

Esbit: Elegant Cookware for the Outdoors : With roots in foldable stoves and block fuel, the German brand continues to mix ingenuity and grit

Esbit: Elegant Cookware for the Outdoors

Longtime backpackers will no doubt recognize the name Esbit. The German company’s fuel tablets and pocket stoves have been an outdoor, survival and military mainstay since its first iteration in 1936. While the brand’s fuel blocks…

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Cool Hunting

Charged: Five Next-Gen Digital Cameras: A GIF-camera, an HD drone, a camera machined from a single block of aluminum and more

Charged: Five Next-Gen Digital Cameras

Since the first widely available digital cameras hit the market in the early ’90s, the technical leaps made in the field of digital photography have been exponential. Today smartphones house cameras with sensors that dwarf those…

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Cool Hunting

Studio Visit: Building Block: A look inside the minimalist designers’ new digs, an alternative store and studio experience

Studio Visit: Building Block

The paradox of a minimalist black bag is the difficulty of making it distinguishable and memorable. However, Kimberly and Nancy Wu—the two sisters behind the young brand Building Block—have no trouble with this. For the past…

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Cool Hunting

15 pro techniques for beating creative block

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We may have made a play-on-words of ‘creative block’ to name our site, but real-world creative block can be frustrating and mentally debilitating. Heavy workloads and an ‘always-switched on’ mindset can take a real toll on the creative juices, but there are ways to beat the block – we asked 15 designers for their tips to pass on to you.

Creative Bloq

6 Tips To Overcoming The Block & Generating Awesome Blog Ideas

It is day-4 of a 5 day project that you should’ve finished by now. You have to pull an all-nighter but you cannot think of anything interesting to say. Don’t worry, you’re going to be okay despite that inner alarm telling you otherwise.

It may not be writer’s block. What may be happening is a lot like erectile dysfunction. The problem is not in your head, but a symptom of some other malady such as stress. In most cases, It’s not that you can’t make an idea or two work for your project. The problem is something else that exhibits as writer’s block or a limp brain. Any number of chemical imbalances can cause limp brain.

The question is, how do you overcome it to get some ideas laid and get paid? Here are 6 of my own tricks of the trade to help you out.

1. Clear your Mind

I always thought clearing my mind meant meditating and focusing on nothing, like a monk trying to find inner harmony. Truth is if you want to really clear your mind of all the trash, go in the opposite direction. Exercise is really the fastest way to get there.

If you don’t smoke, run. Run until the burn has come and gone and there’s little left of your reserves except what your will power can scrape off the bottom of your soul’s shoes.

If you don’t run, grab a stationary bike and pedal as hard as you can instead. As you come up on your third wind, there will be a moment of clarity that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. (Do run this plan by your physician first before diving right in.)

As soon as you’ve experienced this life altering state, hitch-hike back to your computer. You are ready, grasshopper.

2. Finding what is not there

If exercise is not your thing and you prefer sitting in your reclining chair, don’t sweat it. There are other ways to generate an original idea. For instance, check out a popular, mainstream news website and perform a search for the topic on which you’re supposed to write. Take notes and draw a line connecting the posts that are related, noting why.

Next, look into social media and see what topics are trending and what’s being said. Compare this to the news website results. Now for the most important part of this exercise… ignore it.

Throw all that work away. Look at the overall popularity of topics and comments and figure out what’s not been said. There’s something in the last 24 hours that’s been neglected and it is your job to point that out. The ideas are out there waiting for you!

3. Free Writing Exercise

My favorite idea-generating exercise is free writing. Take the topic you are struggling with and write it in bold letters across the top of five blank pieces of paper. Underline it and close your eyes for a moment, thinking about nothing but the topic.

Now forget it and just start writing. Start with random words in no particular order. In about a minute, you will begin to write sentences. They may be unrelated but they are sentences and that indicates progress.

Keep writing, regardless of what is happening around you. Within a few minutes, your subconscious mind will start giving you words related to the topic. When you get to page five, stop and read the last two pages. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

In essence, you are allowing your subconscious mind to take control of your hand and feed you the ideas buried under the surface. That chemical imbalance can’t stop your mind from coming up with ideas. It only prevents you from recognizing them through the clutter.

4. Where is Your Inspiration?

If you need to be inspired, turn to the person you’re in love with. If you’re not in a relationship right now, that’s okay. The fact is all of us have something that inspires us to be better than we think we are. Believe it or not, around these sources of inspiration – be they people, places or things – we’re at our best.


For me, an inspirational book or movie can bring out a man in me that wants to succeed. Do you know that point in a movie where the good guy has taken a severe beating for an hour and fifteen minutes and then catches in his hand, the fist that is flying in for the kill shot? “My turn,” our hero says and we’re ready to jump out of our seats and roar, “YEAH! Now somebody’s going to PAY!”

By the time the end credits roll, I’m passionately ready to write – or rumble. The movie, “Remember the Titans” is pretty uplifting for me.

5. Being Insanely Inane

Being ridiculous in content writing is not a wise thing to do except in the inspiration creation phase. If you can’t find an original idea in your brain, get ridiculous. Write the wildest and most inane prose that comes into your head that relates to the topic.

This form of free writing will surprise you. Once you have enough material, go through it and see just how much of that nonsense actually applies, if written in a different voice. Some of my best material came from being ridiculous and then editing the crazy out and turning it into something that makes sense.

6. Keeping Those Eyes Closed

Ironically enough, it was my wife who pointed out my greatest weakness when it comes to being blocked. She had recognized the trend years before but figured I would catch on myself.

"When was the last time you had more than a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep?" she asked. Then it dawned on me. I had been writing for 14 hours and this was my MO(Modus Operandi).

“You work all night and all the next morning, only taking a break here and there, and then wonder why your brain is shutting down? You do this at least once a week and have been for years. You are 53 years old, for goodness sake. You need to sleep, and not that half-sleep, jump up in two-hours, energy drink induced semi-coma that you put yourself into, either. Get yourself some real sleep.”

Cramming 48 hours worth of work into 24-hour writing marathon will lead to some road closed signs along the way. If you’ve already gone through menopause or “manopuase,” you’re particularly susceptible to some-timers disease, where you forget to think sometimes. Sleep for a solid eight hours and call me in the morning.

How To Escape From Writer’s Block

If you are reading this, that means you are probably looking for that magic trick or golden secret to finding an escape from that wall that is blocking out all your inspirational ideas. Before that, it will help you to understand what being a writer is all about. For this, you need to let me indulge on a short backstory.

I had made friends with a guy at a writing seminar, and for a few days a week, with my crumpled leather notebook in tow, I hung out and talked with him over coffee at Cuppachino’s coffee shop near the Boston College campus. A nice guy, he shared about the books he had written and was writing at the moment. This went on until one day when he decided to introduced himself (and I) as writers to another patron at the same coffee shop.

The man immediately called my friend out. “I am a writer,” he said, and then pointing at me, he added, “He is obviously a writer, but you, my friend, are no writer and it is annoying that you would pass yourself off as one.” As my friend began stammering and stuttering as if mortally wounded, the man apologized sincerely and left. Needless to say, we stopped meeting after that incident.

Cause For Confrontation

To be fair, there was more to the conversation, and well, the man simply called it as he saw it. In retrospect, I couldn’t put my finger on what had bothered me about this ‘Writing’ friend until this incident. He was no writer (however, he was a pretty darn good liar). And this other fellow had caught every observable trait.

“First of all, you do not have the language skills for it, " he had said. "I have seen you in here at least 10 times and not once have you carried a notebook or even written anything on a napkin. I have never once seen you yawn, much less look tired while we both have terrible bags under our eyes."

"You also talk too much and I am sorry to say that you just do not have the kind of passion that it takes to be a writer and believe me, if you did… it would show.”

The Content and Inspiration Paradox

Now a content writer is often asked to write the same material over and over, either on purpose or incidentally from client to client. This is where, many writers would attest, the writing passion is really tested.

Essentially there are only two differences between us and a sculptor or a dancer or pianist. First, we create art with words (it’s harder than it looks), and secondly, we rarely have fans to cheer us on. As artists and content writers, we have to find ways to inspire ourselves (occasionally the editor or a random reader will drop in a nice note), and we keep pushing ourselves, until one day, we just can’t.

If you write for a living, one day, you may feel compelled to throw up our hands in exasperation and proclaim to the world, "I just can’t do it anymore". That’s when you have to remind yourself one very important thing.

Writers Help People

Regardless of the topic, as content writers and bloggers, our words eventually reach out and help someone. Our reviews help others make good decisions about purchasing a product, a service, a trip to a foreign land etc. We show people how to write blogs and articles, what typography to use, how to build and optimize websites and sometimes inspire them to create something new.

When I finally realized that my words were getting through to people, helping them, even if only inspiring them, it made all the difference in the world.

Just knowing that someone’s life will be a little easier or that I made someone smile ignites my original writing passion again. In the end, it is why we are here, alive, and part of society. We write and that’s how we contribute to our fellow man (and woman).

So When You Run Out Of Ideas…

When I begin to falter in faith or inspiration, there are three things I would do to regain my composure. They may work for you, or they may not; it takes a bit of trial and error to find out.

It’s Not About You

When I falter, I stop. I no longer allow myself to worry about poor me because in the end… it is not about me. I shift the focus of my writing towards those for whom I am writing, the reader. I make it about others, and about what I can do to help them. Believe me, our inspiration returns when it is no longer about us.

Write From The Heart

Rather than worry about why you are running out of ideas, begin writing from the heart because that is what you should be doing anyways (rather than worrying about yourself). Create something honest, and original and you might end up with something new, and if you are lucky, something beautiful.


Everyone has knowledge to share. When I feel less than inspired, I remind myself to act like a teacher, one who passes knowledge from one mind to another. Like the old adage: Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. It is hard not to be inspired with that kind of responsibility and the joy of knowing that someone will benefit from what we write, possibly for a lifetime.

White House reunites ‘West Wing’ stars for virtual ‘Big Block of Cheese Day’

President Obama may not be much like President Bartlet, but he is taking one big cue from the fictional Commander-in-Chief on The West Wing. The White House has just announced that it will hold its own real-life “Big Block of Cheese Day” on Wednesday, January 29th. As was the case on a few memorable episodes of Aaron Sorkin’s acclaimed TV show, the White House will invite members of the public to submit any question they’d like to government officials, who will endeavor to answer it during the course of the day. Unlike the series, members of the public who feel overlooked won’t be invited to enter the White House and give physical presentations about their pet issues: instead, they can submit questions online through Facebook, Twitter, T…

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Parisian graffiti block preserved in digital 3D ahead of demolition

For the best part of a decade, Paris’ Magasins Généraux Pantin has played host to street artists from all over the French capital and beyond. Originally an embodiment of French industry, the building closed at the turn of the century, only to be reimagined as “Graffiti Général,” a five-floor monument to graffiti. The building is now scheduled for refurbishment in a story that’ll sound familiar to anyone following the recent whitewashing of NYC’s famous graffiti spot 5 Pointz.

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