Examining the Top 3 Mistakes Writers Make
For the first time in quite a while I’ve been dealing with dreaded writer’s block. Getting my jumble of thoughts down on the page, whether for work or pleasure, has never been a problem for me. Many in the marketing industry would consider this a luxury.
With the launch of our newsletter a few months ago, I was supposed to have a blog post ready to go last week. But last week was different in every aspect. The tumultuous (and I must say disappointing) election results, paired with a new puppy and a back injury really had my head spinning. None of these are good excuses because we work off an editorial calendar assigning various content topics to the team. Editorial calendars ensure our topics touch on popular trends, current events and news updates so that all readers can relate.
In trudging through this page, I’ve examined what went wrong last week, contributing to my lack of inspiration:
Mistake #1: Failing to Review Editorial Calendar or Other Inspiring Material.
I’m not even sure if our calendar followed suit by incorporating election coverage because here’s the thing — I didn’t look at it. I knew the blog post needed to align with the election so why even take the time to review the calendar? I am a rule breaker and that’s what keeps me creative, right? Wrong. Its a lame excuse for being lazy.
Opening a list of ideas to write about is never a bad thing. Same with reviewing inspiring material frequently. Great work — whether in the form of literature, blog or podcast — is meant to get your wheels in motion, your head spinning, your ideas flowing. Consume it at all costs!
Mistake #2: Having Unrealistic Expectations.
I guess I did represent a confused flurry of un-channeled thoughts last week (which democrat didn’t?). But I was placing too much importance on my ideas, believing I had to write the most monumental thing in the most monumental way. Who do I think I am, Maya Angelo?
When you start to feel your heart racing and hands sweating, pondering how well your words will be digested, it’s a cue to get over yourself. Fire that highly narcissistic stage manager mother who has been directing the show inside your head. The stakes might be higher for some, but in my case I know that only 3 people are reading my work anyways!
Mistake #3: Requiring Perfect Prose.
Timid writers need to simply get their words out on the page. Editing while writing is a very bad habit that needs to be broken immediately. Realize that nothing is perfect, especially first drafts! The hardest part is simply getting going, but once a solid stream of consciousness emerges its hard to turn it off. Get it all out on the page (this is the magical act of real writing) and worry about how it reads later (this is the fine-tuning, and still brilliant work, of editing). It’s much less intimidating to open up a full page that still needs hours of work than sit down in front of a blank screen.
In summary, we all have hard days, hard months, even hard lives. Pausing long enough to nurture ourselves through pain and then setting our fears aside, not overthinking our role and getting straight to work will bring new opportunities. Art, growth, success — all emerge from an original place of suffering which brings the writer her most successful currency in words.
Featured image by Florian Klauer via Unsplash