Today, across the world, millions of writers sat down at their desks to write. A substantial percentage of them never actually wrote anything.
They sat down with good intentions and then proceeded to
- blank out
- do something else
What is this mysterious problem that blocks writers?
- Low energy
- Frustration over the process
- Low opinion of their writing
- Bad habits of distraction
What to do instead?
- Write whether or not you feel like it.
- Write whether or not you know what you want to write.
Make this simple internal shift: Move out of judgment and just pay attention.
Judgments and assessments are filters that cover clear perception.
Clear perception unlocks all doors.
If it has to be one or the other, I would choose clarity over quality writing.
The simple thing is what we continually forget about:
Just show up for work.
It is simple to make this work, but unraveling our resistances and defense mechanisms and self sabotage behaviors can feel anything but simple.
Do you feel tired when you sit down to write?
- Write anyway. Notice what happens.
- Focus where you want to go and feel what you feel.
- Continue to write.
Simple persistence can bring some amazing revelations. And whether or not this writing session reveals glories untold, you are showing up. The imagination rewards persistence, focus and courage.
The common tendency is to abandon writing after a few minutes. You get bored, admit to yourself that now just isn’t the best time and you go off to do something else.
I’ve definitely been there. A zillion times. I’ll be there again.
But I have a secret weapon.
My secret weapon is freewriting. I write without stopping. I write before I know what I am going to say. I write to sketch out what I want to write. Then I continue writing in earnest.
The more I do this, the more I condition myself to be a halfway decent conduit for ideas and inspiration to flow through me.
Anything else, in my opinion, just ain’t worth pursuing.
Maybe you have had the experience of sitting down to write only to find that you feel dull and low energy. So you go do something else, and the energy flows there.
Why there is no energy for writing and yet there is ample energy for something else?
If you’d really rather do something else, do that.
This is an opportunity for self discovery.
Is the low energy really that big of a problem?
If you’ve made up your mind to write, then write. Here’s how:
- Put words on the page regardless of how you feel.
- Get started before anything gets said. Meaning doesn’t need to wait for your mind.
If you have ever sketched a still life, you know what I mean. When you’re drawing something, you work on the whole page at once. First you make a rough light sketch, getting the proportions of the main elements. And then you come back over it, continuing to work on everything at once, combing over it, and seeing more and more of what you’re observing. Most of the time, your eyes are on the subject, not the drawing. It’s not about getting it right. It’s about being present.
The more presence, the more truth.
Writing is different in that it exists in time rather than as a single plane, to be beheld in completeness all at once. But in terms of process writing doesn’t have to be that different.
It’s not really that much of a problem if you don’t feel inspired to write.
Just don’t fool yourself. The main thing is knowing where you are. What you really feel. Where you really want to go.
It’s not always possible to know in advance what you want to write, and that can feel uncomfortable. Sometimes you’re up for the adventure, and sometimes you don’t feel like it.
If you’re feeling uninspired, that doesn’t need to stop you. Some of the best things have been written when nothing wanted to come easily.
Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.
Also, play is the mother of many good things.
See if you can do both. Engage in necessary play.
So next time, try sitting down to play. Just perceive, don’t judge. Be where you are and look in the direction you want to go.