I’ve come to realise that a writer can get writer’s block when they focus too much on what readers will think of their writing. When trying to create a flawless text that readers will like, there is so much concentration on every minute detail instead of writing freely and letting creativity flow.
A kind of self-fulfilling prophecy happens: the more fear about creating bad writing, the more bad writing is created. Every sentence typed feels derivative and deficient. After typing a few sentences, they are quickly deleted. Before one knows it, a writer has been working for an hour with only a blank page to show for it.
The moral of the story: forget about the reader when writing. Forget about good or bad. That way we can write without fear.
But what about that nagging feeling – what I’m writing is really bad? Some people take comfort in Ernest Hemingway’s quote:
“The first draft of anything is shit.”
(Screen) writing guru Robert McKee puts it a different way:
“Taste and experience tell him that 90 percent of everything he writes, regardless of his genius, is mediocre at best. In his patient search for quality, he must create far more material than he can use, then destroy it.”
I personally prefer the more positive approach of playwright August Wilson:
“You can make no mistakes, but anything you write can be made better.”
So, just type till your heart’s content. Be critical later. Otherwise all those stories in your head will never be told.