Are you acting TOO MUCH like an overly impatient and pessimistic food critic?🙅
Let’s cut to this familiar scene….
You sit down to write a blog post or your description for your next workshop and almost immediately you’re scrunching up your face while stomping your middle finger down on the delete button until the few words you did write...VANISH.
It happens to me too. The thoughts of “that sounds boring”, “what’s the POINTTTTT” or “no one will care”, pop up and the writing screeches to a halt.
I find, if my writing is stalled, 95% of the time THIS is what’s happening
What we REALLY need in those moments is to get the words out of our brain and onto the page - in whatever imperfect order or structure they’re in. We need to let the ideas we’ve been tossing back in forth in our mind before we dose off to sleep to be dumped out onto the empty document.
That’s because we’re not at the editing stage.
We’re at the imagining, brainstorming or writing the first draft stage.
And if you’ve attended (which it’s 100% likely you have) a brainstorming session at a summit or during a Monday morning staff meeting (which I hope if you have they served ice cream sundaes), then you’re familiar with like the #1 rule of brainstorming.
It’s to NOT edit or judge the ideas.
Even your own. It’s about quantity and getting them all out.
That’s the whole point of this stage.
I took a Creative Writing for the Internet class earlier this year by The Middle Finger Project and the instructor, Ash Ambirge talked about this very thing.
How we need to focus on writing first and then we can go back and get fancy and creative with word choice and all the fun writing techniques.
We can’t expect our ideas and writing to be fully formed, perfected or emotionally resonant on the first go.
If we do that we’ll probably never get a single word down.
We need to know our ideas and our wonky incomplete sentences are SAFE.
Even if it means keeping them safe from ourselves (or our inner critic).
And to take the pressure off even more, also consider for a large chunk of the projects we might be working on (not all, but ALOT), we have this handy little button called the EDIT button.
It exists in things like our website, blog and social media posts for a reason. We can publish those things AND STILL edit them after we’ve hit publish.
The edit button even exists, though invisible, for things like events and in-person workshops, where almost with certainty you will be doing problem-solving and making changes on the fly.
It happens. It’s expected.
So let yourself spill the contents out, make an outline, make a mess and START writing and brainstorming.
And then and ONLY THEN you can refine, punch it up and edit what you’ve put down on the page.
Ideally, you’ll do it with fresh eyes, perspective, and a bubble gum and birthday cake ice cream cone).
So ask yourself, for the writing and brainstorming you're working on today…..
“Do I have any business editing this right now?”
“Am I acting like a nasty (and unfair) food critic who’s judging the quality of the ravioli entrée before it’s even been served to me?”
Because that’s how we let ourselves BEGIN and progress through the creative process.
If we’re too quick to judge the ideas or the blog posts we’re rehearsing in our minds, we’ll never let them out. We’ll never get to test, experiment with or share our work.
P.S. FUN FACT, I first wrote this piece on a foolscap yellow lined notepad and it was all point form and totally out of order. I typed those notes and then started editing and rearranging.
P.P.S. I'm curious to know, does this happen to you too when you sit down to write or brainstorm?