I’ve read a dose from The Daily Post featuring Seth Godin’s Blog article with the title Talker’s Block.
I think I’ve read this before: Write poorly.
But with the kind of person like me, I think I need a lot of reminders before an advice would go on sinking into my mind. And I think this post is an effort to write poorly. But I just can’t really abandon the idea of quality writing in my post.
But to overcome this perennial writer’s block on me, I need to keep on writing. Even Ray Bradbury suggested that “quantity comes first before quality.” I have really written a lot of drafts left unpublished (obviously). I started this blog with a goal of just achieving at least one post per month. And since I hate writing long articles, I decided to limit my posts to just 500-words only (which I think I broke in one of my film review post). With this post, I’ll try to look on the word count until it reaches 500 words. I think I need a new blog resolution. Having a computer capable of multitasking added with a fast internet connection, a person (like me) who can’t control his impulses would end up being distracted with the loads of things in front of him.
I think that “I think” is now my pet word. I use it all the time when I write (or type). I’m really preoccupied of adding links here, making my blog look like a tumblelog or linklog. I decided to blog for the commentaries not intending to make them really long but just enough for me to speak my mind. I have blogged here at WordPress since January 7, 2011.
Going back to the purpose of this post (reminds me of “the tyranny of should“), write poorly. My mind is really fast. The flow of consciousness really streams like water or electricity (the later is faster of course). So what now? Mark Twain once said that you can write terribly, just edit brilliantly. 10 minutes have just passed since I started writing this at 3:46 pm (+08:00 GMT, along with the timezone of Taipei, Perth, and Singapore).
(A short pause then switched tab to click the play button of The Scientist by Coldplay at YouTube).
This sounds incoherent now. My goal of writing… now on this post… with 500 words with poor writing style. Er. Thanks for the word count that I could type and type and keep track on the number of words I have already written. 50 words left (not counting this). Keep my fingers on the keyboard… and edit this later if I have time. Well, I have examinations and I’m just killing some time and cutting down a little slack. Yes, I’m a slacker. But I’m not really lazy. Oh well, whew! Almost done with this stuff. Going back, writing poorly is the key to writing quality in the future. I’m hoping that’s true. Well, have I written poorly now?
writing poorly is certainly better than not writing at all. you can’t fix something that isn’t there, so you can’t re-write and improve what you haven’t written…yet.
here are a few ideas for how to deal with writer’s block:
1. i think of a message. i think about things that i see, learn, know, and things that i want other people to know. a writing exercise i do with students is to have them begin with, “if i could get people to stop doing one thing that too many people do, it would be _______________.” it’s their time to convince people that certain behaviors are not good. it causes us to think about using our writing ability to convince people to stop doing certain things, like smoking, littering, fighting, being racist, etc.
2. i think of a lesson: i tell kids to beging by writing, “if i could convince people that doing a certain thing would be good for their lives, i would tell people that they should _________.” and it could be something like learn to sing, learn to play an instrument, etc. then they have to explain what is so good about doing whatever it is they want people to do.
3. keep more than one project going at a time. right now, i have about four different novels i’m thinking about. one is fully outlined and has one chapter written. the others have not been outlined yet. if i’m working on project A but i’m in a writer’s block, then i have another project i can move to for a while. after working/writing something and hitting a block on that, i can go back to something else.
4. read blogs and write comments. it clears out your mind a bit, but it keeps you writing about something, even if it’s not your own writing.
5. biography – pick a person you admire and write about them. explain yourself well and convince others that they should admire that person too.
Thanks for the advice. I haven’t tried numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5 yet so I’ll try to do it. I’m already doing number 4. Again, thanks!
nothing to thank me for. i’m doing #4 now in order to help my own writing. by reading other blogs, like yours, and writing comments, i’m doing my own brain/writing exercises. good luck to us both.