The second you sit down to start writing, you realize you’re a fraud. You have nothing to say. You’ll sound stupid.
Sound familiar? It does to me.
I self-censored so much, I completely stopped writing for months. Then I started telling myself a simple but game changing secret.
I don’t have to publish what I write until I’m ready.
The editor in my head doesn’t know this. She thinks that the moment I put pen to paper or finger to key, an audience will emerge from the depths of my carpet ready to tear my writing apart.
The truth is, we are allowed to write whatever we want no matter how horrible it is. In fact, there is almost no risk to doing so because no one ever has to read it. After you’ve written your content, you can decide if it’s worth publishing.
Editing before you’ve even started is a sure-fire way to annihilate your creativity. Stop doing it. Write out that embarrassing, politically incorrect, ignorant, crass, perverse thought exploding in your head. In fact, go ahead and write a few pages worth of those thoughts down.
I learned this strategy from Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way. She calls it “morning pages.” Basically, you write 3 pages stream of conscious style first thing in the morning. You don’t re-read what you wrote. You don’t share it with anyone. In fact, once you’ve run out of pages in your journal, you can toss it. The point is to practice controlling that self-editor so your creativity can live.
If you have writer’s block, the best thing you can do is write your crappy draft out anyway. Sure, it’ll hurt. But if the goal is to eventually have an audience read your work, you better find a way to get your work on paper.