self portrait, acrylic on canvas, www.carolineallen.com
You want to write, but you’re staring at a blank screen, and you don’t know where to begin. Or, you keep rewriting the first sentence over and over and over again.
Stop. Think rough. Think rough draft.
It’s impossible to edit something that isn’t yet on the page, and that’s what most new writers do. They self edit before they even get the words written into the Word document. It’s a lot like painting. You have to put the paint on the canvas and just see what happens. That not knowing is what makes art scary and exciting.
A great way to avoid writer’s block is to think of the first draft as a very rough draft.
A rough draft means just that — the writing will be rough and disorganized. We’re all taught at a young age not to misspell, not to write poorly, and we end up becoming terrified about beginning any new piece of writing.
With a rough draft, write all the ideas you have down quickly. Don’t edit yourself. Don’t worry about chronology. Don’t even worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation. Just do a mind dump onto the page. In the dump comes ideas you wouldn’t have come up with if you’d just “thought it through”. The writing process itself opens creative doors.
Don’t self edit, just purge.
You can’t revise something that is still in your head. Get it on the page so that you have something to work with!