inCredible Messages Blog

Overcome Writer’s Block with this Proven Technique #2

Most of us believe that when we put our writing out to the world, we are inviting criticism.  We expect people to judge us.  We worry that we won’t measure up.  This leads to writer’s block caused by perfection paralysis.  Have you ever had it?

Here are two proven techniques to overcome writer’s block caused by perfection paralysis:

  1. Correct your assumption
  2. Change your writing process

Correct Your Assumption:  I don’t know about you, but when I read books, articles, blogs, and websites, my goal is not to judge–it’s to learn.  I read to gain information, solve problems, and find ways to accomplish my goals.  The primary way I judge the value of any source is based on relevance, practicality, and depth, not on writing technique.

I’m not saying that proper grammar and punctuation don’t matter.  People do judge your mistakes in these areas.  I’m simply saying that the more important judgment is based on real content and expertise.  When you begin to write, focus on the value you have to offer–not your small mistakes.  Do you have valuable information, a process, or experience that can help a potential client solve a problem or meet a goal?  If so, write about it!

If you have trouble with grammar and punctuation, ask a friend or hire a virtual assistant to edit/proofread for you.  This will free you from writer’s block due to perfection paralysis.  Don’t let minutiae paralyze you when much bigger things are at stake.

Change Your Writing Process:    Many people who suffer from writer’s block use a process that goes something like this:  write a paragraph; correct a paragraph; obsess over the paragraph.  Spend a long time on the paragraph before moving along.  This is the classic recipe for writer’s block and paralysis.  In fact, professional writers actually practice refraining from criticism like musicians practice scales.

To write efficiently as well as to overcome writer’s block, write sloppy first drafts.  Turn your spell/grammar check off and focus on getting your ideas on paper or computer screen.  Refuse to judge as you go along.  Then take a break.

After the break, read what you’ve written, with a single question in mind:  Is this clear and complete for the intended reader?  Make any necessary changes, such as adding a transition, adding an example, cutting out tangential material, etc.  Then take a second break.

After the break, go through your piece for grammar and punctuation–or send it to somebody who knows this stuff.  While this edit is an important step, it needs to come at the end of the writing process–not before.

If you are looking to overcome perfection paralysis as you write, start by correcting your assumption.  Stop looking over your shoulder to see who is waiting to pounce on you with judgment.  Then use a writing process that stays away from premature editing–a real source of writer’s block.  Do what the pros do:  write sloppy first drafts!



Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Overcome Procrastination.


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