Sometimes, things just don’t flow.
You know you have something to say, you want to write and you know what about – but it just ain’t happening.
Happens to the best of us.
Here’s a few ideas to help you when you seem to be stuck.
1: Don’t delete
You know that feeling, when you write two or three lines, read back, and think: No, that’s not it”.
If at that moment you delete them, you’re actually stifling your creativity.
You’re telling yourself that you’re doing it wrong, it’s a direct way to criticise yourself.
And if you’ve ever tried to teach someone something creative, you know that criticism is a fantastic way to instantly shut down any creative process.
So instead of deleting, just hit enter and start a new line.
Keep the words rolling, even if they’re no good yet – before long, you’ll catch the groove.
2: Don’t stop
There are times when you reach a dead-end, when you don’t know how to proceed or where to take the narrative.
When that happens the worst thing you can do is stop and stare at the screen.
Instead, just keep repeating a word, over and over again.
Can be the last word you wrote, or you can take a logical connector, such as ‘because’, or ‘and’, or ‘but’ – whatever makes sense in the context of what you’re trying to write.
When you do that, you keep pinging the same part of the brain that makes for writing.
It’s like doodling, you know?
If you just draw lines and shapes, you’ll end up sketching before too long.
Writing works the same way.
3: Never read back
Ever see someone drive home while looking in the rearview mirror?
When you’re writing and you keep going back to the previous, you’re looking back instead of ahead, and that means you’re triggering a rational, analytical process.
When actually, you want to keep pushing the non-rational, creative buttons, because that’s where the next line, the next idea and the next turn will come from.
Getting analytical is good, but only once you have the first draft written out complete.
That’s when you can give it a clear look, step back and see what’s there and what needs to be changed.
Until you get to that stage, just keep on tapping.
You’ll end up with more than you need, and when you then edit away the bad parts, you’ll end up with something pretty useable that just needs some cleaning up.
Just like Michelangelo said (I think it was him): he chips away the marble until the only thing left is the sculpture hidden in it.
There you go: three tips used by the best of writers.
Use them to your advantage.
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