Confession: I’ve started and stopped numerous blogs. I always start off very enthusiastically. Then slowly the doubt starts to creep in. Cue the dreaded, defeating, negative self-talk. “You don’t know enough about this topic. Blog Awesome does this same angle much better and it is way more popular.” Then, I feel stuck. I don’t know what to write. Couple that with precious little spare time and eventually my blog becomes extinct. Just another dead WordPress blog.
I’ve enjoyed writing here at UP because the content isn’t all up to me. Actually, it is not even remotely dependent on me. I can contribute at a pace that works for my schedule. But still, I find the doubt returning at times. When I hit publish, I cringe just a little. I’ve been pondering just giving up the whole darn writing thing.
Enter Seth Godin.
He wrote an encouraging piece about writing:
No one ever gets talker’s block. No one wakes up in the morning, discovers he has nothing to say and sits quietly, for days or weeks, until the muse hits, until the moment is right, until all the craziness in his life has died down.
Why then, is writer’s block endemic?
We talk poorly and then, eventually (or sometimes), we talk smart. We get better at talking precisely because we talk. We see what works and what doesn’t, and if we’re insightful, do more of what works. How can one get talker’s block after all this practice?
Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure.
Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.
Do it every day. Every single day. Not a diary, not fiction, but analysis. Clear, crisp, honest writing about what you see in the world. Or want to see. Or teach (in writing). Tell us how to do something.
He concludes with:
If you’re concerned with quality, of course, then not writing is not a problem, because zero is perfect and without defects. Shipping nothing is safe.
This is the problem with perfectionism. If it can’t be perfect, we don’t want to say it, write it or do it. So instead of producing something that might be valuable, we end up delivering nothing.
Teddy Roosevelt said, “The only man who never makes a mistake, is the one who never does anything.” So, I’m going to keep writing, even though I know that sometimes it’s gonna miss the mark.
I hope you’ll do the same. Whatever that something is for you, just keep at it. Go all in. You might just end up with a whole lot of awesome.
Excellent advice, takkat. (Lady P – Ed.)