Most of our greatest battles as writers are seeded by our dreams and imaginations. When we sit down to write, part of our mind is filled with character and plot, the rest is filled with our dreams, hopes, and ambitions for the book. So when we write our first draft, it’s like our audience is right there in front of us: watching, waiting, and judging every word. Instead of just writing, we stare at the page, then at an imaginary audience, then back at the page, then give up and go and make a cup of tea.
So don’t write for an audience. Don’t write for your kids or your family, and heavens forbid, don’t write for yourself. You are your worst critic. Write for the bin. Decide up front that anything you write, you will throw away. No one will read it. Ever. Free yourself up and make buddies with the bin.
Here’s what will happen…
You’ll start to write. The words might be rubbish, but so what. That’s the intention. Keep writing. When you’re done, you’ll have something on paper that amounts to a rough lump of clay on a wheel that might or might not have the potential to be a teapot.
Now you open the bin and start to throw it out. That’s what’s editing is for. Ditch it. Delete it. Trash it. By the time you’re done, very little of what you originally wrote will be left unscathed. The bin will be full, your mind will be clear, and you will have a teapot worthy of presenting to any audience you choose.
Start with only one thing in mind. Write for the bin. Get it out. You know you’re going to throw it away, so be repetitive, use as many adverbs and adjectives as you like. The bin will be grateful, your audience will not be subjected to your first draft, and you’ll be writing instead of moaning about not writing.
OK, so the bin it is… But where do you start?
What if you stare at the bin and even then, nothing comes.
I put this question to my husband: “Morris. What is your cure for writer’s block?”
“Write your name”, he said.
Happy writing today! Even if it is just your name… Make it a great one!