I want to reach out to all my fellow writers out there who are currently experiencing an episode of writer’s block. Let us take a moment to pause and reflect on the gift that has been granted to us, the ability to transfer thoughts and emotions to another human being through the medium of words. The saying goes You have only failed in writing if you stop writing. Failure is a choice because you could pick up your pen, or type on your keyboard. We somehow perceive the thoughts in our head not worthy of the paper. The belief that a lack of ideas exists is somewhat deceptive. The need to write is driven by a good idea, and good ideas come with thoughts. If those thoughts never reach the page then we are choosing the path that leads to a blank page.
There is only so much time left to write. 24 hours in a day. 168 hours in a week. 8765 hours in a year. 701265 hours over 80 years. People say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master your craft. You only have 70 of those increments in total, an eighth of your life was spent being a child, and a great deal of your time is based around the necessities of being a living organism. One day you may look back on your time spent writing and wish you hadn’t been so apprehensive. There may have been things you wanted to say, but they never reached the paper. Take an approach of positivity. Not every blog post, article, paper, or book will be your best. Abandon your continuous flow of self-evaluation and write regardless of your biases towards yourself. Your best works are evaluated by others, not you. They will have nothing to evaluate if it is not written.
Overcoming writer’s block involves you taking pride in your work and not fearing criticism when it comes. The perfect piece of writing never comes, and if you are waiting for the genius idea that will be the pinnacle of your writing accomplishments, it happens to be the blank piece of paper you are currently working on. We as writer’s owe it to ourselves to value our thoughts highly enough to share them frequently, instead of bottling them inside our heads. A bottled thought is prone to being lost, and lost ideas never reach the page. If you think you are solving all your problems by writing a list of ideas that will turn into pieces of writing once your episode has past, you are wrong. It is your own brain filtering the thoughts that are appropriate for the page. Nothing is stopping you from turning your notepad into a list of blank lists.
I rarely delete sentences I write because they capture the very moment a fully formed thought emerged from the fog that is my conscience. Sentences are always works in progress and I find no point in deleting my accomplishments. Imagine that you are painting a picture using oils. If you have ever watched a painter use this technique, you know that there is a stage of underpainting. Here large blocks of color are applied to section off areas so the artist can map out the concept of the painting. From there color is added in slow progressions until general shape turns to detail. Most creative processes reflect this transition over time and writing is no different. Instead of deleting, we should be saving. A fragmented or bad sentence can easily be changed into a better one given a second glance. However, starting over anew leaves you with the same conundrum you started with.
In more practical terms I am not suggesting that you take my words of advice so literally that you take every thought in your head and publish it on the blogosphere. However nothing is stopping you from letting your words flow freely as you craft your work of art. In the ultimate sense you are not the final judge of your own works, or works would be categorized as either pitiful or sincere perfection. You are merely the writer and it is your job to write. There comes a time when the fretting must stop and you hand over the responsibility of judgement to your peers. You only improve by hearing their feedback and then continuing on. From this perspective you can view yourself traveling on a continuous journey and each piece is a measurement of your accomplishments. The more measurements you have of yourself, the better you will understand your strengths and weaknesses.
Let us take the glass half full approach. There are so many thoughts sitting in your head right now that have yet to be written. While time is limited, there is still enough time left for you to accomplish your task. Judging by the ages of most people on the blogosphere, the number of hours left at your disposal significantly outweigh the number of thoughts in your head. At the same time writing is not difficult, putting words to a page is not difficult. Baby cat eat food, there I have written words. The difficulty lies in your mental perception of what you think you must accomplish. Let yourself be free and continue writing.
3 sentences died in the making of this blog post.
Anything is possible. Michelle Phan favorited one of my tweets so now you have proof.
Small disclaimer: Everyone experiences the feeling that a general idea exists in your head and it simply is not coming out on paper in the correct manner. I experienced that feeling in this blog post as I do with many other blog posts. Sometimes I haven’t edited enough so transitions are shaky or words are misspelled, but at the end of the day I have written. In turn, I thank the internet gods for a space to write my thoughts without submitting to an editor, cramming my bookshelves, or spilling ink. Sometimes we forgot the opportunities before us and our past achievements while negatively focusing on what must be improved and I believe that to be the cause of my episodes of writer’s block throughout the years. Let’s take a vow to value our thoughts more highly and keep writing because there will always be others to tell us that our writing sucks.
You can tell me my writing sucks in the comments! Otherwise let me know if you are experiencing writers block and/or what are you currently writing about?