Writer’s Block? Fire Yourself!

Courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing and Universal Press Syndicate

I don’t think I’ve ever met a writer who hasn’t experienced writers’ block at least once in his or her life. Unfortunately, I experience it far too often. The worst yet truest advice is: Just do it. Sit down and start writing, no matter what.

Good advice, but it has never worked for me. If I do some free writing, I’m annoyed at the waste of time. With three young kids, my time is limited and I want to spend it efficiently. I think free writing is great if you have no idea what to write, as it generates ideas for stories. But if you have something specific in mind then it just feels wrong. And when I force myself to write a specific story, then every sentence I write I go back to and read it three times over, and I’m ashamed at how bad it is.

Writing, which is my hobby, becomes torture instead of joy. And that defeats the purpose of a hobby.

This week I read an article in the New York Times by Carl Richards, which may – hopefully – help me.

I need to fire myself!

No, not as a writer. It didn’t encourage me to quit. However, it advises you to fire yourself as a critic of your own work.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to matter, as your job now officially has nothing to do with deciding if the work is good. Your job is to do the work, put it out there and let the world decide.

So the old-age advice of just do it needs an amendment. Just write and stop critiquing.

I recommend reading the entire article: Free Yourself of Your Harshest Critic, and Plow Ahead.

Vanessa Deij

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