Writer’s block, eh?  I’ve heard about that.  Generally, my problem isn’t that I don’t have anything to say — it’s that I don’t quite know where to start.  When I’m not sure how the entire composition will come together, the most effective way I’ve found to get around my instances of ‘writer’s block’ is to just start writing.  Put the sentences down as they come, regardless of where they might belong in the final draft.  The sentence you started with might end up as the introduction to the second paragraph, or the punchline as the end.

Sure, the piece won’t be organized correctly — but that’s one of the wonderful things about using a word processor.  It’s easy to edit your documents.  Who cares if you don’t follow your outline exactly?  The big goal is to simply get as many words on the page as you can, in complete sentences related to your topic. I take my list of objectives and, one by one, I cross them off.  After that’s finished, I can cut and paste sentences or paragraphs, rearrange lists, and clean up the flow of thought.   

Editing for sense is important — but when there’s nothing on the page, there’s nothing to edit. Don’t worry about punctuation, grammar, or sentence order.  That’s the entire purpose of editing. This is a rough draft — treat it like one, not like some precious irreplaceable incunabulum!  Rough drafts are meant to be cut up.  To be rearranged.  To be sadistically mangled until they meet your approval!  

Okay, I admit it.  I love to write something, double-check my spelling once, and be done.  But good writing simply isn’t that easy.  Blog posts are one thing; emails to your mother are another; static type on a website, or your final product to be printed and published around the country (or world!) are different.  If you’re serious about your reputation as a writer, you’ll take the care necessary to maintain it.

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 at 11:40 pm and is filed under Blog, Technicalities. You can leave a comment and follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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