Block writer’s block

I sometimes read social media posts that say something like: “I’m struggling with writer’s block. I can’t write anything today.” I usually reply with, “You just did. Now keep going.”

Writing is expressing thought in a format where other people can read it. A person who does that is a writer. If you’re literate, you can read and write and every time you choose to express (even a single thought) in writing, you are a writer.

Writing is simply transcribing your thoughts. Unless your ability to think is completely blocked, there can be no writer’s block. So pick up a pen or a device and begin to write whatever. Simply transcribe some of the thoughts flowing through your mind without being picky about subject matter, wording, grammar, or spelling.

Just write whatever’s on your mind. If it’s no good, you can throw it away (or delete it). If it’s not very good, you can fix it or salvage a part of it for a future project. And who knows? It might be very good.

What’s commonly called writer’s block is actually editor’s block. When we try to edit (and perfect) our thoughts before we transcribe them, it’s easy to get stuck. The cure is simple. Save the editing until your writing session is finished instead of trying to edit as you go along.

Writing and editing are separate process and mixing them is ineffective. Writing is transcribing your thoughts. Editing is fine tuning and perfecting what you’ve written. To edit as you write often creates a long, hard night. Instead, write with delight. When you’re finished, then edit bite by bite.

It’s fun to write without evaluating what comes out. Some of my most creative ideas originate that way. The more I minimize the resistance between my analysis and my typing, the freer my writing flows with fresh ideas and concepts.

So try it. Write without judging what comes out. I’m going to switch my focus now away from the subject of writer’s block and see what happens. Here goes:

I just noticed a lamp on a table across the room. I can’t remember how long it has been there because I seldom notice or even use it. I usually plug my laptop into the socket behind it, so the poor lamp is often unplugged and unable to fulfill its function. It’s mostly a lightless lamp. The table around it is filled with books and papers that I’ve stacked up. Some of those papers and books are lost to my memory. I can’t tell you what they are but there they are, right in front of me in my living room. Funny, I’m not even curious about what they are, even though I put them on the table, because I thought they were important and I wanted quick and easy access to them. I guess that shows that my focus is easily pulled away from what I thought were priorities.

That was fun! Now you try it while I do a quick edit of this blog post.

Edit done. I’m going live with this now.

Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @ http://amzn.to/2nCr5dP
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3 Responses to Block writer’s block

  1. Grammatteus says:

    Thanks! I’ve been suffering this a lot. Even though I read ‘Write is a Verb’ years ago, I still fall into this trap. If I’m truly honest, what I suffer from is ‘motivation block’, but I need to get beyond that and just motivate myself to write, regardless of the perceived outcome or consequences.

    I can do that ALL the time on social media lol.

    • Steve Simms says:

      Thanks so much for the encouragement and the comment. The key to getting beyond “motivation block” is to begin to see writing as fun. Just write about what entertains and inspires you and enjoy the delightful process of creativity.

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