In an earlier post I wrote about how deferring judgement on ideas helps creativity and how it works brilliantly for ideation.
The other thing we constantly judge ourselves for, which is extremely counter-productive, especially when it comes to achieving bigger life long goals or learning new skills is our short term performance.
I wrote garbage today. I wrote only 50 words today. My plot is a mess. etc.
We’re constantly judging ourselves. It’s deeply ingrained in our psyche, because it has many positive uses. It helps us learn from our more serious mistakes and get better at things we do. But…
But this subconscious self assessment has multiple crippling and negative side effects. The most serious of which for writers is that it kills both motivation and creativity. It sends your brain into an infinite loop of expecting negative outcomes.
The first draft of anything is shit
- Ernest Hemingway
Literally anything that was ever written, invented, created or achieved in any way, started with a shitty version one. Check out the how the first prototype for Google Glass was built.
Take a deep breath.
Literally every one that has run a marathon in record time has seen days they found it hard to finish 5 miles. Yup, I have to force in that reference to running marathons. To give credit where it's due, it taught me a lot about a lot of things.
The secret to success is to keep getting back on your feet and moving forward and to build winning habits. Fight entropy!
It took some reflection to learn that I don't need to impress myself everyday or in every moment. I’ve met writers that rewrite a single scene for months, and then take ten years to write the first draft of their manuscript. And guess what? That first draft at the end of ten years is still — a shitty first draft.
I got into a bit of a tweet battle during NaNoWriMo when a writer claimed that writing is an “art form guided by emotion, not the production of widgets guided by a time clock…so write when you feel the inspiration,” he said. In response to an author who was seeking help with writer's block!
This sentiment not only puts on display said writer’s lack of understanding of the WORK it takes to become a successful writer, but also displays an inflated ego and a sad lack of empathy for widget makers.
A widget maker does not need inspiration to work, but you as a writer do?
I’ve already made a prediction about how far this writer will go in their career.
Waiting for inspiration as a requirement to write is a myth.
Do athletes run only when inspired? Do musicians practice only when inspired?
Writer's block? I've heard of this. This is when a writer cannot write, yes? Then that person isn't a writer anymore. I'm sorry, but the job is getting up in the fucking morning and writing for a living.
― Warren Ellis
Right back to why you shouldn’t judge yourself…
Writing is exactly like the production of widgets guided by a time clock. And, when you’re producing widgets, you don’t run a quality check while they’re in production. You run quality checks after you’ve produced a significant number of widgets. And some of them will suck. But not in the way Season 8 of Game of Thrones sucked, because no one has to see them yet.
Even if you’re the best widget maker in the universe; some widgets will just suck. It’s what it is.
Write garbage, and you will. That’s how you train your brain.
Now while you’re doing that, if you judge yourself every time you write garbage, it’s easy to see how you’ll be setting yourself up for an endless cycle of self-flagellation and soon telling yourself that it’s better to only write when you “feel the inspiration”.
It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
— Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s got my back today.
He said this, because he knew about where good writing really comes from. It comes from editing. That’s when your true skill as a writer will be judged. But if you’ve not got to that stage yet, hold those judgement horses and let it rip in today’s writing sprint!
I’ve been quite tempted to disable the backspace key on WRITAA. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. You think I should do it?