Do you sometimes stare at the empty page?
You want to write something, but your words are all locked up inside your mind.
And when you finally write a sentence - you delete it. Then you write another sentence - and delete it too.
You know what I mean, right? It's frustrating.
I get this most often when I want to write something 'good'.
Trying to write something good, immediately stops me in my tracks. It makes me feel self-conscious.
What makes us feel self-conscious as writers?
Let's get away from writing for a moment. Imagine that you're taking a shower.
Lot's of people sing in the shower. Perhaps you do too? Nobody is listening and you can let rip. It's fun!
Now imagine that someone asks you to sing the same song in front of five hundred people. Different story, right?
Your knees would knock and your heart would race. You'd feel like throwing up and your voice would come out all squeaky.
Why can you sing in the shower, but not in public?
Because you suddenly feel self-conscious in front of all those people. And when we feel self-conscious, all out natural ability freezes up.
It's the same when you write. If you start writing a piece with your readers in mind, it's like singing in front of an audience.
It's as if your readers are already looking over your shoulder, watching you write your piece. Ugh...!
I mean, who wants anyone to see their crappy first draft?!
Of course, intellectually, I know that all first drafts are crappy. They have to be. Otherwise you're not going to end up with something good. I know that.
But when I'm sweating in front of an empty page I won't want to know about crappy first drafts.
You see, I want to write a crisp piece and not a floppy draft. I want to get the thing perfect right away. (If you're a perfectionist like me, you'll know exactly what I mean.)
To make writing easy, we need to let go of perfectionism
The good news is that I've found a way to sneak past perfectionism. And I've made a video about it for you.
I've used this trick for both non-fiction and fiction. It works for either because if you imagine you're writing just for yourself alone, your creativity frees up.
How to Use this Trick
We all tend to get blocked at times. Especially when we write something we don't feel confident about. For example, my hangups are about my ability to write fiction.
If I sit down to write a scene of my novel, I tend to give up after a few sentences because what I've written seems 'not good enough'.
However, I've found that if I simply tell myself about the scene (and scribble in my notebook), I can bypass my drive for perfection because I'm not measuring myself against other authors.
When I just write for myself, I have the freedom to express myself. And it doesn't matter one flying fig whether it's 'good' or not!
Once I've got words down on the page, I'm happy to start tweaking, cutting, and slicing to create something better. That's when I get the piece ready for my readers.
How about you? What's your experience of this?