Getting past writer’s block is sometimes just a matter of getting our inner perfectionist to shut up for a little while. Getting started is the key.
Type a few questions about what you’re wanting to write. It might be questions your readers might want answered, or questions you want answered. For me, it’s easier to start with questions I know readers would want answered, because I already know the answers to some or most of those. The ones I want answered, however, that’s a different story, and I’d have to think about that…which means my writing would be put off even longer…which is not good.
What to write about
Just pick something to write about. You’re not going to choose the perfect idea. I can deflate that one right now and relieve the pressure it’s putting on you. Hmm, perfectionism in creatives, ever heard of that? 😉 Fear of failure, or criticism. Those sound familiar? Well, good, because they are familiar to us all, to anyone who has succeeded at anything that will be in the public eye.
You are not alone. Don’t think that those things magically go away after you publish your first piece, because they don’t. The Dragon does get a little smaller, though. Your skin thickens as you go along, and you learn which critics to listen to, and which ones to tell, “This is a no-smoking area. I’ll have to ask you to leave.” You can usually know identify by their scales.
Getting past writer’s block: start writing
Tell yourself that this idea is not a good one and that’s okay, you’re going to write it up anyway. It doesn’t have to be good (yet), you just want to get it written. You can always trash it later (you don’t actually do this, do you? Please don’t do it, just tell yourself you might, so you can get past that smoke-blowing gatekeeper in your head), and you can always edit it later.
Write down all the things you hate about writing that piece. What’s wrong with it? Why’s it being such a pain in your (I’ll keep it clean here) tail?
Say, “I’m not going to think about this for a while. I’ll get some great ideas soon.” Then go take a shower or a nap, or go walking or shopping. Yeah, go ahead, grab a good saw, a face shield, and some drain cleaner. You might need them someday, especially if you get fed up with this person in the Midwest who says you can tame your Writing Dragon and it’s not going so well for you. Letting the subconscious mind “percolate” on something, or, as I say, “cook on it,” can be the best way to let good ideas float to the top. Just don’t use this one out of habit.
It can be so easy to say, “I’m letting my brain cook on it,” and never get around to checking the pot. No fair cheating. You’re not only cheating yourself, you’re cheating the world. You might have something awesome inside your head. Get it out.
Are you a writer?