Imagine this scenario: You sit down at your desk, ready to write something, anything. You feel inspired. The coffee is steaming and the music blaring. It's time to begin.
You take a deep breath, say a prayer, maybe even light a candle or two. And then you place your fingers on the keys and…. nothing happens.
No words, no ideas, no storylines. Nada.
You clear your throat, turn up the music, crack your knuckles, and try again.
And still — you've got nothing.
You scream, you cry, make a big scene for nobody to see or hear, but the problem persists.
You, friend, are officially BLOCKED. Stopped up. Held back. Resisted.
Sucks, don't it?
For years, this plight of writer's block has kept many a writer from creating the work their hearts so desired. And like sheep, we all have been led astray, diverted into fields of dormancy and inactivity.
That ends today.
It's time to vanquish this foe, that villain who has stolen our creativity for far too long. It's time to slay the dragon once and for all.
The secret solution to defeating writer's block
The weapon we wield against our common enemy is a solution so simple and crazy I'm sure it has never crossed your mind. It sure didn't cross mine, not for many years.
It's the last thing you'd ever think of, but I promise you it works like a charm every time.
So what is this simple solution, this mysterious means of overcoming writer's block? What is the answer to our greatest creative battles and struggles?
It's the one thing you don't want to do, the one thing you think you can't do — but I promise you can. Here it is:
Anything at all. All bets are off. No rules or limitations. Just go for it. My favorite beginner sentence looks something like this:
asdfk jkle jmnnasdcjk lxlxcjv.
What's that, you say? Those aren't real words? So what! Once I start moving my fingers, I soon find the direction in which I want to go.
The hard part is getting started, not cleaning up the mess. You can always go back and edit the chaos, always refine a reckless combination of words.
It's the blank page with which we are at battle, the empty canvas with which we wage war.
Before too long, after a few minutes of nonsensical typing, I find I'm no longer writing gobbledy-gook. Instead, I am crafting real, intelligible words and phrases, even actual sentences.
And it all began with a few ridiculous pecks at the keyboard.
Why you won't do this
Too simple, you say? Too easy? Well, who says writing has to be hard?
Who says work has to be so serious? Maybe what you need is a silly strategy to get started, something strange to get you unstuck. Maybe that's just the jarring you require.
For me, it works almost every time.
You aren't blocked because you don't have any ideas. You're blocked because you're a perfectionist. None of the ideas seem good enough; nothing feels quite brilliant enough to become reality. So you sit, stuck at your desk, waiting for something better to come.
But what if it never did? What if your next idea was the best one you will ever have? You would have to capture it… right? Exactly.
We aren't asking you to paint the Mona Lisa here. You just need to write a first draft, a really bad one, one that will totally suck but will be something you can build upon later.
That's what it means to be a writer. And that's where great pieces of art come from: in the seemingly ordinary and mundane and not-quite-perfect.
So here's your assignment:
- Start typing, trusting the words will come. Let the imaginary words flow; just get those fingers moving.
- Embrace the freedom you feel when you do this, that sense of lightness that liberates you from the tyranny of your own perfectionism.
- Write something terrible now, something so bad you will have to make it better. And do it before that more reasonable version of yourself reappears.
What're you waiting for? This is the best opportunity you will ever have to be creative. Better get stared. And feel free to share your thoughts and even your work below.
Can you relate to this way of getting rid of writers' block? Share in the comments.