1/9/2021 – Overcoming writers block – what has been working for me

Striving to put out good quality content daily is tough. It is a vicious cycle of start/stopping, writing/deleting and long periods staring at a blank canvas. This is commonly known as ‘writers block’ and I wanted to share what helps me get through this.

Start by writing it badly

When staring at a blank canvas the possibilities are endless. You could type perfection or with the same strokes you could type poetic garbage. This creates a mental block through the ‘fear of finding out’; ‘if I don’t type, I won’t find out if its good or bad’ and so you just sit there. What has been working for me is simply to type something. Type. Something. The words don’t even need to make sense, they don’t even need to be words, they could be images or sounds or smells. Whatever it is, put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and put something on the page. I am not sure exactly what happens but when the eyes and brain sees something tangible in front of you, it enables thoughts to evolve and develop past the initial ideation stage thus allowing you to progress.

Your first version isn’t your best version

In its simplest version, quality is better than quantity, however, quality with quantity is the optimal formula. Theres a movement where ‘documenting the process’ means putting out raw/uncut footage where little effort is putting in the production of content which results in ‘shit in/shit out’. After putting a ‘mind-dump’ onto a canvas, let the thoughts flow. I find myself hesitating on the words I write, pausing, thinking, ‘what is the best word to put here, what makes the most sense’, etc. In situations like this, I put the most basic word that fits the context just to force progress. I find it much easier to edit and enhance a full sentence after it is written down compared to trying to piece the sentence word by word and trying to strive for perfection that way. Writing is an iterative process, the first version won’t be the best but each version that gets reviewed and adapted, the better it gets.

The theory of ‘Just Barely Good Enough’ (JBGE)

This theory implies optimal efficiency when deciding how much effort is required versus how much value is gained. When reviewing my writing, I utilise this theory to decide whether it meets the threshold of ‘JBGE’ to put out into the world, whether it takes 2 version of 5 versions, I ask myself: ‘does the audience get the value I intended for this piece of content?’, once I can adequately answer this, then just publish it.

Richard

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