April 10, 2022

By: 
Rachel Strella

Sage Advice for How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block

Writing has been so much harder for me lately. I find it challenging to put my thoughts onto paper. Although I have abundant ideas, many are too short for a blog post or too comprehensive for me to dedicate the proper time required to do the topics justice. 

Sigh. 

Do you struggle with this, too? I suspect I’m not alone. 

My Attempt at One Possible Cure

I recently finished reading Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. In it, Manson writes that action should precede motivation. That may seem counterintuitive, especially to writers. Most of us need that inspirational spark to feel the motivation to write. However, he recommends that rather than wait for the right mood to strike, we should just do SOMETHING...anything…and motivation will follow. 

I think the reason many of us experience writer’s block is that we want that perfect thing to say. We want our words to roll naturally onto the page and hook our readers, leaving them hungry for more. 

There lies the problem — “perfection.” 

Lovers of the written word know its permanency. Therefore, we are very — often overly — careful about our craft.  

I remember business trainer and author Jeffrey Gitomer's advice, “Wake up and write.” And acclaimed author and writing instructor Anne Lamott encourages writers to forge forward with a “shitty first draft” as their starting point. (That’s an especially tough suggestion to embrace because no writer likes the word “shitty” associated with their work — even in draft form.) 

But we must keep an open mind and recognize there might be merit to all this advice. I have always believed writing is both an art and a science. I even speak to inspiration as a requirement for the art. The science is that anal tendency to write the perfect word, sentence, paragraph — or in my journalism days, a lede! 

Testing 1, 2, 3…

Right here, right now, I am testing the advice of Manson, Gitomer, and Lamott by simply putting words to the page — capturing a random musing, if you will. This is my first attempt to put “action” before inspiration. 

Has the action motivated and inspired me? 

I’ve been typing for about 10 minutes, and I agree that it has! So, thank you to Mark, Jeffrey, and Anne!

And now, the perfectionist in me will revisit my shitty first draft and transform it into something great. Or rather, my editor will turn it into something great — and I hope you’ll enjoy it when she’s done!

Can you relate to writer’s block? Test out the concept of action first and see what happens!

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