Sometimes when I complain about writer’s block and how I lack the inspiration to write, the voices in my head laugh so hard at my silly excuses. The problem isn’t the lack of inspiration but the fear of putting my ideas out there for everyone to see and critique. It is the fear of not being perfect.
I have this bad habit of wanting everything to be just right before I ever put pen to paper or touch a keyboard. I try to get it perfect in my head and never do, so I never begin. I read other writers and I am like, “Ann, can you ever write like this?”
Fear of not being perfect is the sole reason most writers never become writers. Most times, I feel I don’t have a creative bone left in my body so I resign to throwing in the towel. It’s a shame really. Even on days when I feel like I’m losing my creative juice, I usually ask one of my writers friend to give me prompts to write on, hoping that at least I would get back on track.
But even with those prompts, I feel inadequate. I feel as though I don’t have the right words to tell the story. The fear of not being perfect haunts me so much that I ditch those prompts and tell myself, “Relax Ann, you need the right inspiration”.
But what I needed wasn’t the inspiration but self-confidence. What I needed was to understand that you do not overcome writer’s block by refusing to write until you feel inspired.
You can’t overcome writer’s block by wallowing in self pity. Procrastination and excuses would not help your ministry as a writer. You can only overcome writer’s block by shutting the doors of procrastination, self pity and perfectionism and just WRITE.
It doesn’t really matter how bad your first draft is (all first drafts suck afterall). Start somewhere. Anywhere.
So, these days when writer’s block knocks me off my feet, I try to ditch being perfect and write for the joy of writing. No excuses. No justifications. I try not to think about it too much. I can do this. So, I just write.
Sometimes I try writing about my day, my personal experiences or how it sucks having a writer’s block (which I’m currently doing now anyway). And funny enough, the moment I spill some words on a paper, the flow comes naturally and within few hours, I get surprised at the number of pages written; as long as I’m not distracted though.
So dear writer, I know sometimes you think it sucks being a writer. You read other writers and doubt if you could ever write like them. Your confidence wears out making way for procrastination and laziness. But truth is, all writers must not write the same way. We all have our voices. Find yours. Quit seeking for perfection and just write.