“…In the end it’s not about finished words in a certain period of time. it’s about getting that critic out of the way and immersing yourself in a flow of pure creativity. Do that, and you’re ding well.”
-Johnny B. Truant
Writer’s block isn’t real.
Or at the very least it isn’t what you think it is. It’s definitely a cop-out, though. It’s putting the blame on something external, when the blame really lies with us.
“Writer’s block” is really one of two things:
1. Under-developed ideas
2. Over-developed ideas
Both are easy to fix once you get yourself out of your head and into the writing.
Under-developed ideas just require a bit of imagination to flesh out. It really is that simple. Write your idea down and expand upon it via list or mind-map or brain dump or however works best for you, just do it. Sitting at a computer screen or in front of a blank piece of paper hoping the words will come to you is most likely not going to work.
Creativity requires some limitation in order to be useful. So, direct it by creating parameters. You’re not writing ‘a story,’ you’re writing ‘a story about [insert parameter here]. It will reduce the number of paths your mind will wander down.
Over-developed ideas are what most often plague me. There’s this very loud and obnoxious internal critic that hates when I write imperfect prose and don’t fix it immediately. That critic is the other thing that keeps words off the page.
The longer I’m stuck on perfecting one section, the longer I’m NOT WRITING MORE WORDS. Which is kind of the opposite of what I’m trying to do here.
Fortunately, there is a remedy. It’s called “refusing to edit while writing the first draft.”
No editing during the composition of the first draft allowed. Make it a rule and stick to it. The inner critic will get used to being ignored until the editing phase(s).
We waste way too much time trying to write a perfect book the first time through. Just write the book. Edit it later. Write as fast as you are able to write, getting those raw, creatively fueled imaginings onto the page.
Save pretty prose for later.
Do now what is required of you now, and save tomorrow’s work for tomorrow. Before you know it your first draft will be done and your inner critic can have their way with the typo-ridden, chaotic story that you’ve written.
Until next time, I’m going to get back to writing.
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