Writing Tip: Break It Down

Julia Cameron once said, “Write something down; don’t think something up.” Writer’s block is a product of thinking something up–trying to come up with a lofty idea, an overly complicated plot, or setting any unreasonable expectation for yourself.

You imagine writing something so great, the picture is clear in your head, but that picture disables you from producing anything because every word you write pales in comparison to what you have imagined. To paraphrase Gretchen Rubin’s take on Voltaire, you are making the perfect the enemy of the good.

Break this repressive habit by setting a low bar for your writing output. Tell yourself that you will write just one paragraph each day, but discipline yourself to write everyday. This doesn’t mean that you will set a low bar for the overall quality of your piece, but not putting too much pressure on yourself and concentrating on completing the task at hand will make the task more manageable and doable.

Another benefit of this one paragraph rule is that once you start writing, there is a possibility that you’ll get into your writing, and you will end up writing more than one paragraph. If you stuck to your old ways and demand that you write an epic poem or the greatest essay ever written, you’ll just be overwhelmed, and because of this you might feel either too lazy or too scared to write. Even if you end up writing just one paragraph that day, compared to not writing at all because you were too intimidated to do any work, setting the bar low seems to be the more productive route.

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3 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Break It Down

  1. this is so describing my delay and hesitation! This makes perfect sense to me, and it was kept simple enough I can associate myself with it, and see that it would work for me! Thank you for keeping it real!!!


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