Have you ever tried to write something….and all you got…was nothing? I get that all the time…..and that’s one of the reasons my blog posts aren’t as frequent as I would like. I’ve sat at the computer for hours at times, hoping the right words would show up, and all I had to show for it was a lot of time on Facebook. Other times, I’ve written LOTS of content, with comparatively little effort. I’ve tried to analyze why that happens, and I’ve come up with a few ideas. I’ll also share three ideas for getting around that writer’s block.
Why is it sometimes so hard to write? I’ve found that there are three main reasons it’s difficult to get started. First, I try to be perfect the first time out. I’ve written a lot of things…and when I’ve gone back to that first draft, I realize that perfect is the enemy of productivity. When I throw out ideas because they’re not great ideas, I miss out on good ideas that may become great later.
Second, I let too many distractions get in the way. If I’m answering e-mail, multi-tasking, or frittering time away on Facebook, I’m not THINKING. When I write, I need to focus, and lack of focus is the enemy of good writing.
Third, I make the mistake of trying to write only when I’m inspired. One problem is…..inspiration and writing time rarely coincide. When I’ve been under a real deadline, I get inspired really quickly. When I’m not on a deadline, inspiration is a fleeting concept.
It’s easy to know WHY it’s hard to write some times…but how do you work around it? The answers are pretty simple…..but not always easy.
1) Don’t try to be perfect. Most great writing isn’t written…..it’s edited, re-written and pummeled into shape over time. If you can get that dirty first draft in the works, the rest gets a lot easier.
2) When you write, write. If you’re surfing the Web, posting to Facebook or doing other things, you’re not writing. Writing is real work, and takes time and focus. If you need to take a break, that’s great…but make a distinction from when you’re writing…..and when you’re not.
3) Write first, get inspiration when you can. I’ve found that most of my good ideas happen when I’m NOT writing. If I’m out on a run, reading a book or just get that flash of a good idea…..I’ll write it down when I can, but I have to trust that the ideas will show up when they need to. As I build my list o’ ideas, I can go back through them to find good ones, make weak ones better….or use them to trigger even better ideas.
How do you get better at writing? You write. That’s why this blog post happened today. I looked at my last post…..thought…’I need to write something…..’ and got started. Maybe I’ll come back and edit this later, but at least I’m writing.
Isn’t it time for you to write, too?