Thursday, July 26, 2007

Don't Think. Just Write.

During my day job, a very talented and intelligent co-worker was struggling with a piece of writing she was working on. She knew the material. She knew where she needed to go with it, but she was at a standstill in trying to get it there. And the more she got frustrated with the situation, the further down the spiral she went.

Anybody who writes enough understands this phenomenon. It's the point when the editor on your left shoulder is trying to butt in when the writer on your right shoulder is working. This sort of situation requires a different approach to tapping creativity. By remembering that the barriers to our own productivity are most often matters of the mind, we can overcome this type of barrier by following this most simple rule: Don't Think. Just Write.

In my experience, sometimes taking too much time to figure out how to write something leads you to lose sight of just what it is you are trying to write in the first place. Trust yourself to know what it is you want to write, then just write it. Once the words are out, you can go back and make adjustments to how you think the piece should flow.

Another short cut in this type of situation is to simply say your thoughts aloud. Often, when you actually speak the thought, the words you are searching for come more naturally.

Sudden writer's block in the middle of a piece can be crippling. Trusting yourself to know what you are writing, however, and just getting the words on the page are enough to get you through, and build your confidence for the next time.


Patrick said...

I posted something similar at yesterday. For a long time I went without writing because I had been discouraged by others who considered themselves "serious writers". This same principle applies to learning things too. I have a web site called, that I'm trying to address on a regular basis. I know way to many people who don't write or use technology that could make their life more productive because they are afraid to start to begin with.

Recently I started a blog after attending a staff reunion for a camp I worked at in the 80's and was amazed at the memories that came flooding back after I starting the writing process and not before I started. I'm not sure what it is but the mind seems to kick into gear when you start something. I know I get more fired up the more I work, write, etc.

Geoff said...

Thanks so much for your comment, Patrick. I think you are write when you say the mind seems to kick into gear when you start something. It's almost like inertia.

I often find that my mind gets moving so quickly that when I reread my writing I find words, or even sentences, missing because because I'm hurrying to keep pace with my thoughts.

Knowing that this is waiting once you stop thinking and just write is a great motivation.

Patricia Singleton said...

Another great article on how to write. I have several notebooks scattered in different places in my house and some smaller ones that will fit in my purse in case I am away from home when inspiration hits. I also tend to lose things. That is why I have so many notebooks around so that I can always find one when I need to write.

Suggestion: A lot of people prefer subscribing through their email address instead of a feed. If you provide both, then you will get more subscribers. Someone else passed that information on to me. Hope you have a glorious day.