Don’t Let the Rules Silence Your Writing Voice

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein.

Have you ever felt the frustration of having what you know get in the way of what you can accomplish? Have you felt so overly invested in the “technical stuff” that your writing and productivity feels more stunted than ever? There is a reason for this.

Writers should never edit themselves while they write. For one, it slows down their progress considerably and blocks the steady flow of ideas to where they only are produced by a trickle… then down to a few drips here and there… then finally to the point where your focus on the piece is no longer centered around the message or theme, but instead on your obsessions of perfection which has invaded your piece like an infestation. Constant anxiety and editing to try to get the grammar and structure right while you work makes a writer more critical and less creative. The worst part is the formation of distrust within yourself which ultimately leads to a lack of confidence, and as we all know, confidence is one of many keys to success.

Writing and editing are separate processes which conflict with one another. Writing allows you to freely express your ideas and let go of all the boundaries set by the world.  Our ideas, aspirations, and willpower are our tools to producing the emotions that make our pieces compelling and worth reading. This process will not work if we are too busy fussing over what we think we are doing wrong. Editing requires more analysis — chronology, scale, sentence structure, grammar, clarity… the list goes on! But that’s one of the greatest things about the written word. We can go back later and fix the issues! When you allow yourself to get emotionally involved, you can feel your work transform.

Here’s a writing prompt to get you started:

Two people are having a normal discussion (i.e. about what they want to eat or where they want to go), but one of them is angry about something and won’t say what. Omit dialogue tags (he said, she said, etc.) and work to show the reader the character’s frustration.

Remember to have fun and to not to edit yourself as you write! Make it as long as you want and feel free to share with friends!

I will be happy to see what you come up with in the comments below. 🙂

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What They Don’t Know

When your plans laugh at you, laugh back.

I was leafing through my notebook today and saw this scribbled in the margin of one of the pages. When I wrote it down or where I got it from I am not entirely certain… but what I am certain of is this: when I wrote this down then, it was meant for me to see this very day. I wanted to pass it on since, perhaps, you were meant to see this today, too.

Sometimes I find myself standing in the shadow of an overwhelming project with a million things to do and no idea how to start. I feel my breathing pick up and my palms begin to get clammy with sweat that I try to wipe away on the fabric of my jeans while I try to stay composed… all while my ambition slips from view. My plans begin to take the form of some kind of unapproachable creature with horns and talons, its head thrown back laughing at my insecurity.

I go cold and tremble with uncertainty as my enthusiasm to tackle the project jumps back into my body like the smallest egg of a Russian nesting doll. Not again…

This time I’ll come prepared. I’ll be ready. This time… I have a secret weapon: Willpower.

Not that I didn’t have willpower before, it’s just that prior to now I was unaware of the advantage I had boiling within me — an advantage that we all have if we understand how to hone it.

Our brain can supply an unexpected amount of willpower when we need it. The key here is to recognize that it’s within you and that tapping into it will help you unleash a potential that will help you succeed at tackling what seems like insurmountable problems. One way to do this is by changing the way you look at things.

Your project is not too big, nor are you or your efforts too small. Establish within your mind that your willpower is unlimited and you can supply yourself the energy to focus on what needs to get done rather than the feeling of insignificance that comes up when you allow your anxieties to get in the way.

Anxiety can be the worst of all enemies to depleting willpower. It expects you to give up and cower away at the first sign of discomfort (the monster project you have in front of you.) But if you puff out your chest and send your anxiety to the corner for a time-out, you will be impressed by the things you can accomplish. When you have an incredible idea for a new project, don’t allow the chance for your new-found ambition to simmer down. Write down a plan as soon as you can before your anxiety decides to take matters into its own hands.

Now… when the anxiety comes from an external force, this is what I learned.

If people laugh at you, do the same. Laugh back. You are every bit as entitled as they. Besides they don’t know about that secret weapon that we have. They don’t realize that we are willing to go the extra mile and that we won’t give up, especially not on account of them. They don’t see that while they are laughing like the donkeys they are, we are growing and learning, being productive. (Hell yeah!)

I have also come up with this theory: those who laugh at you or criticize you for what you are doing may be projecting the insecurities they may have onto you. They may be acting indignantly towards your goals and ambitions because they are afraid of how much you will surpass them.

The secret they don’t know… You already have.

Laugh at writer’s block. Laugh at pain.

Laugh at everyone who said, “You can’t do it.”

Laugh at yourself. (In a good kind of way.)

Gear up with your willpower and go be a doer.

You are getting so much stronger every day.