Writers block is better described as readers block. A cap we place on our page to prevent others from reading our thoughts when we consider them not ready. Unfortunately, if we wait until we feel ready, it’s often too late.
We all feel like a fraud when we start something new. It’s a sign we’re outside our comfort zone gaining new skills. Writers block is just another trick our mind plays on us when we’re afraid of not living up to the expectations we’ve set for ourselves.
Writers block isn’t hard to cure. We just need to lessen our expectations and be prepared to be average every now and again in the pursuit of being great. Write even if you feel you write poorly. Write poorly everyday until you get better. Aim for progression not perfection.
Don’t complicate your style with big words or lengthen your sentences with excessive use of ‘ands’. Just keep it simple and deliver your points, one sentence at a time, as clearly and honestly as you can. No one will ever complain that your writing is too easy to understand.
Then go public. Start a blog or a website and write everyday. You don’t have to hit publish everyday or advertise when you go live but routine is key.
There are no talented writers in this world. Each and every great writer has acquired a skill, which they’ve been sharpening for years, even decades. They don’t simply get it.They write a lot and often. And they edit mercilessly.
The first draft they write only for themselves. They let it all flow out onto the page free from criticism. They don’t stop. They find their creative rhythm and they ride it to the cliff of the page.
The second draft is for their fans. They remove all unnecessary words to keep the reader’s pace speedy and free from interruption. They read their work aloud and make note of when they feel the work grab. They scrap some parts and fatten other parts up.
The third draft is for their haters. They anticipate the objections and they field them in the text, disarming the critics.
Essentially, the greatness is achieved through editing again and again.
So, the next time you sit down in front of the blinking cursor preparing to throw your hands in the air and give up in the name of art, start by writing, ‘I’ve got readers block. It feels like…’.
Author Steven Pressfield said, ‘There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is: it’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write’.
Sit down. Start. Find your flow and don’t stop to read over what you’ve written until you’ve reached the bottom of the page.
I challenge you.