have heard of this animal called “Writer’s Block” over and over again. I have wondered what in the world that is. Who blocks you as a writer? Is it ethical to blame your dip in productivity as a writer to some kind of “Block”?
Frankly I do not understand what it is. Someone might be asking, “Why in the world then are you writing about what you do not understand?” My answer is simple. Because I can. And because this is one of the elements of killing that “Block” thing people talk about.
Is it ethical to blame your dip in productivity as a writer to some kind of “Block”?
As a writer, your productivity will be determined by several things as follows:
A good writer needs to write at least 1000 words a day. In fact, this is on the lower side. I recently fell in love with the story of a guy called Nicolas Cole. He is one of the most popular writers on the internet today. Cole, is a 26-year-old author, thought leader, ghostwriter and speaker. He’s been named by Forbes as one of the Top 25 marketing influencers you need to watch in 2017. His work has been published in TIME, Huffington Post, Fortune and many other places. The best part? Over 20,000,000 (That is Million) people have viewed his content. Now he’s shared this information with the world.
This is what Nicolas says:
“It comes down to two very simple things,” he said. “…you have to be consistent. I have been writing a blog or column a day, often times more, every single day for close to four years… People don’t believe me when I tell them I write somewhere between 3-5 full-length articles a day…And sometimes, that’s not even counting the ghostwriting I now do for high-profile thought leaders, serial entrepreneurs, C-suite executives, etc. There are some days where I write seven articles. But I also know that’s the result of ten years of practice. I’ve been writing online since 2007.”
Enough said here.
Back to our talk. Why would you want to tell the world that you are suffering from a “Writer’s block?” This to me is an excuse in productivity as a writer. Here is my thought: If there is such a thing a writer’s block, then there is such a thing as a breather’s block. There is also no such thing as a talker’s block, and even those times when we are rendered speechless by a performance, we bubble thereafter with words!
There is also such a thing a completely blank mind, as white as whitewash, unthinking, unseeing, unperceiving, unreflecting…you are experiencing nothing at the moment in time. So do not even try to define for me what that ‘block’ is. It is a figment of people’s imagination. People just put up that fancy thing to show others that at least they are writes and that they are struggling.
The point is simple. You can write just about anything at any time. Staphanie Flaxman did a very beautiful piece titled, “This is How You Become A Writer”. In that invaluable piece, she says,
“You might aim to write something every day, even if you don’t publish it anywhere. There’s no substitute for that type of practice. It’s that valuable”.
The same way you can talk anytime someone asks you a question. There is always something on your mind. On my desk there are three things: My notebook, a book by Brian Tracy called “Full Engagement”, and a local magazine called “The Independent”. There are also earphones and a mug full of hot water. I can write 5 articles out of these four things on my desk today! My point is that there is nothing like “Writer’s block”. So if you want to improve in your productivity as a writer, you need to exorcise that ghost called “Writer’s Block”…and you do that by guess what? Writing!
I came across a very powerful movie some years back. As my thoughts on this subject crystallized, I had to look for this movie and watch it again. It is called Finding Forrester. Any writer worth his salt needs to check this movie out. Of course there are few instances of strong language being used, but the movie is such a cutie that it is a pity that it is not based on a true life story!
Here are some of the best quotes I got from that movie (Watch it for the rest of the quotes)
“You write your first draft with the heart, and you rewrite with the head”
~ Sean Connery—finding Forrester
“The first key to writing is to write, not to think”
~ Sean Connery—Finding Forrester
Let me help you here with some nuggets that I feel would help you on your productivity in writing. If you want to keep the flow of words coming all the time, consider doing the following:
Create yourself an idea bank. Like I mentioned earlier, do not tell me that your mind is blank. There is always something up in there. However, there are those special moments when inspiration comes and you are not ready to write. Be sure to record your title and the essence of the message that the inspiration is giving you at that time. Do not post-pone this. Do not trust your mind. I have had several situations where I had impressions to write on a particular topic. All I did was just write a title, minus the gist of the message. Later on when I went back to write, I just could not remember! So be in the habit of downloading and recording your messages. Use Evernote or even the sound recorder of your phone. This habit will give you more than you can imagine to do in a day!
Have you noticed that the moment you start writing at times ideas unrelated or remotely related to what you are writing come up? At times you might go a tangent to write about these ideas. Wrong move. Create a whole new work out of these tangential ideas. Again, use step 1 above. Make sure that you have recorded the title and the gist of the message before continuing.
Sometimes inspiration comes and you are ready to write. This is the moment of the flow. Use it right there and then. As you do, chances are that point number 2 above will need to be revisited. Good writers will have this moments very often on a weekly or sometimes even on a daily basis. I have stopped people half in conversation and went away to write.
You put so much pressure on yourself trying to figure out how people will judge you. I have found writers to be very interesting. At times I work so hard on an article and it does not resonate with many readers. At other times I just do what I consider to be “shoddy work”, but it massively resonates with the readers. Do not think all the time you are creating a home-run. Take it easy. You do not have to write a best seller daily. Just write. Nothing is perfect, including this article. But guess what? They are not empty words.
This is the perfect way to do it. If you really need to be detached, learn to write for yourself. Build your thoughts on paper. May be keep a journal. Write what you would not post online or what would be subjected to someone else’s scrutiny. Nonetheless, write. They say that the best way to know how to write is to write. Now, don’t you ever tell me that there is nothing to write about you! You would be the biggest liar alive. This point alone debunks the issue of “Writer’s block”
This is where point 1 and 2 above come to help you. Once you need to write something for your audience you can either go back to the data bank and select what to write on. This should be easy because you are just building on inspiration that is already downloaded.
This is one of the places where inspiration comes from. Read the best readers there are. Like Nicholas Cole said, “Study your competitors”. Read the people who write as you do. As a contributor to influencive.com, at times I study what my fellow contributors are writing. I go ahead and I even study what contributors in other channels have written: entrepreneur.com, inc.com, smartcompany.com, forbes.com and so on. I pit myself against these guys and guess what? Sometimes I find that I could have written just as they have, or maybe even better. So keep reading to expand your horizon. If you have read this far, chances are that you are a great writer!
Personally, I find loads of inspiration from my jogging excursions. I am thinking that any activity that stretches the mind of the body is fuel enough for inspiration. This of course varies from writer to writer. Others do the extreme opposite: They take time to relax…and that is when ideas come their way. No matter what you do, find what inspires you and consider doing it each week.
Goes without saying. You have a writer’s block chiefly because you are unplanned. They say failure to plan is planning to fail. It is that profoundly simple and true. Why in the world would you call yourself a writer and do not plan to write daily? It beats my understanding!
You have probably heard this quote: The reason why many people get lost in their thoughts is because it is unfamiliar territory. Thinking is supposed to be a discipline. I love taking pen and blank paper. Learn to mind map. Learn to take notes. Learn to write notes. Learn to think on your notebooks. I love the guys who scribble and write away as they read. It simply shows that they are thinking. A good writer is of course a great thinker!
It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Stop it! It does not exist. I do not need to say anymore about it…and please do not even try to justify it. It is a mental disposition that tries so hard to fancily explain laziness. That’s what we call a “Writer’s Block”
Over to you now. Go. Write. Daily!