If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor. – Edgar Rice Burroughs
People often ask me how to move past writer’s block. Well, I have some news! There’s only one way to get over it—you have to write.
It’s harder than it sounds. Here is the thing—writer’s block does not mean that your muse went on vacation. Writer’s block is 100% about fear. To cure writer’s block, you must be willing to write something bad with the trust and understanding that sometimes it takes bad writing to lead you to good writing.
There are two reasons for this. The very first step toward doing anything well is first doing it terribly. I am an okay knitter. But I used to be a terrible knitter. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time—I was incredibly proud of my horrible scarf. Now that I’ve reached a new level of accomplishment, I can look back and appreciate just how bad that first scarf was. I feel that way about my early writing, too. I look back on old books and think, “Oh, ugh, I’d use a different word there,” or “This description could be clearer,” or whatever. But writing is like working out—the more you do it, the stronger you become.
The second reason is that, honestly, sometimes quantity beats quality, especially when you aren’t working on a specific project. Every morning, I get up and play with a writing prompt. This is usually just for a short time—five minutes or so—just to get my mind working. I don’t even consider this “writing.” It’s more like a dancer’s warm-up, just to loosen the muscles and engage my mind. I have very low expectations for these exercises; I’m just playing around. However, whenever I go through a few of them, I’m rewarded by a thought or a description that is actually worth exploring. Sometimes, the mere act of play/writing forces an interesting observation onto the page. Many of my blog posts come from these low-stakes pages.
This is why Bookflow offers you a daily prompt to play with, and why the system shows your daily progress and how much you have written across all of your projects for the day. If you’ve been struggling or feeling blocked, I’d like to encourage you to play around with a prompt. Keep it low-stakes. The most important thing is to do it.