I’m still having writer’s block. Writing 200 words a day has become easy, but even after so many days I’m still struggling with writing more long-form content. I’m currently writing a 3k-word article for Makerlog, and I started re-evaluating my approach.
I took the first step by acknowledging I have a procrastination problem, but what am I concretely going to do about it?
The root of the problem is quite clear to me: my expectations are too high, I’m forgetting to have fun and enjoy the process itself. What excites me about writing? It’s about solving problems with words. If I can identify the problems, I can find an answer to them.
Problems resonates with first principles: ideas, emotions, and behaviors we can all relate to. Writing is a quest for these truths. When you get a glimpse of them, you have to show them to the readers instead of merely telling them.
Sit down and start scribbling down some words. It’s an iterative process: something you put on paper can give you another idea to research and integrate in your draft.
Don’t forget what matters is immersing yourself in the moment to make it enjoyable. I found offline writing to be efficient at creating the right environment to focus on the craft. The time you earn typing faster is useless if your inspiration runs dry. Inspiration emerges from a blank state of mind, which is more easily attained when you are offline and away from distractions.
Yesterday I read about Robert Greene’s note taking method and it gave me an idea for my writing process. Outlining is great, but was if I could think of an article in terms of mind-maps? Outlining presupposes you already know the best logical plan to paint a solution, but during editing your outline is constantly changing. You need the flexibility to seamlessly re-arrange ideas. It echoes to what I wrote in Atomic Writing: every sentence is an atomic idea, your corpus is a molecule of ideas. The writing process should take that into account. If my mind becomes too rigid following an outline, I feed my writer’s block. On the contrary, if I remain open to new ideas and structures, I gain access to an inexhaustible manna.
I’m supposed to finish this article by Monday, but pressuring myself into respecting a deadline can be deadly too. I have to re-learn to take easy, 200 words at a time.