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Pushing Through Writer's Block
There is no such thing as writer's block
Yesterday I was on Jesse Quinalty’s web-show, Firefighters Book Club to talk about my book Flow-Based Leadership: What the Best Firefighters Can Teach You About Leadership and Making Hard Decisions.
He and many of his viewers are writing their own books. They struggle with getting stuck in that nebulous place called “writer’s block.” We got into a discussion about how to break through and continue to write.
I told him, “The best way to break through is simple: just write. Write everyday, even if you don’t have anything to write about.” I realize this is easier said than done, as I, myself, have missed two days this week posting on Substack due to the lack of relevant thought to proclaim to the world.
The point is, though, thoughts/writings don’t have to be relevant. “Relevant” is subjective.
Here are a few suggestions for reinitiating your writer’s flow:
Identify multiple projects (but don’t constrain them by time). If you are stuck, if one project doesn’t call to you, maybe another one will.
Don’t write linearly. Having a solid outline enables you to write in short bursts about a given topic. You can stitch it all together with transitions at a later point. Topics can be independent; transitions will make the book flow.
Read through what you have already written. I do this by writing the introduction to a book or article first. Reading through it may jog something in me to write about.
Talk about what you are writing. After being on Jesse’s show, I realized I should have said “this” or “that.” I have been walking around my house kicking myself for not remembering certain stories that could have illustrated my answers to his questions. Then I realized, I need to put them in my next book on Flow.
Writer’s block be damned!