Writer’s Block And Other Tall Tales

There are are few myths that far too many writers believe. They are, in no particular order:

  • Writer’s block exists and it will derail your ability to tell a story.
  • It’s possible to be wholly original and we should all strive to do so.
  • The answers are out there and with enough research, you can find them.

And when writers try really, really hard to believe any or all of these myths, they have ironclad excuses why the work didn’t get done. While there are sprints like NaNoWriMo to help with motivation, the majority of people that write for money don’t have the luxury of trying really hard for one month out of the year. They must do the work day after day, week upon week and month to month.

Writer’s Block
While Chuck Wendig’s tips on how to defeat writer’s block are helpful, acknowledgment can be dangerous. Andy Ihnatko, famed tech writer, doesn’t believe in writer’s block.

Andy is right.

Writer’s block would suggest that there is some invisible force that both moves a writer’s hands or prevents them from doing so. Unless you’re into some serious smelling salts or Darth Vader is a long-lost relative, let’s forget about that. Instead, acknowledge that what many people believe to be a writing block is none other than a writer who can’t think of anything GOOD to write. Not that they CAN’T write, but that the writing they’re producing isn’t worth a damn.

Who cares?

Actual Christmas Card

Here’s a secret that ‘real’ writers–the ones that do the work–understand above all else: it takes a lot of bad words to create good ones. Write first, edit later. You don’t think the fine details in statues are carved first, do you?

There is a slightly different version of writer’s block that affects more newbies than seasoned veterans. Ask any non writer (someone who is paid for something other than solely writing) what they’re most scared of when writing for the web and you’ll get one of two answers: 1) If I write and post online, people will see it and judge me and 2) the software necessary to create, edit, add images to and post is far more complicated than I’m willing to learn.

Advice for the first problem is easy: do it anyway. If you wouldn’t shout it in a crowded room, don’t write about it. Simple, yes?

The latter isn’t so easy. While it may come as a shock to those reading this, many customers of managed WordPress hosting solutions aren’t all that web savvy. They have zero desire to learn the back end of WordPress, don’t understand why everything can’t be in Word and are blocked from online publishing because they are intimidated by the software involved.

Have no fear, the WordPress forums are here. Chock full of advice even my parents could understand, this serve as invaluable tools for anyone needing to teach or learn something they don’t quite understand.

The answers to the how-to part of writing are out there. Check back next week to find why being original is a farce.