If you have to write in your day-to-day life, whether professionally or for fun, you’ve undoubtedly come up against “writer’s block.”
It’s a feeling of resistance that makes productivity futile. It’s the sensation of sitting down and hitting a wall — you’re just simply not able to create, despite all of your deepest desires to.
I get it, I’ve been there.
But I am here to blow the lid off this self-imposed upper limit that you have in your head, because writer’s block is not real. It is not a thing. It is pathologized nonsense.
I want to help you never again feel like you can’t create what you want to in this world. My motivations for doing so are that I wholly and completely believe that every single person who has the inclination to write something down really needs to, if not only for themselves, but also for others.
But first, you’re probably wondering who the hell I am, and what authority I have to tell you what is or isn’t a problem in your life.
I’ve been a professional writer for five years. In that time, I’ve written thousands of articles for national publications, published five books, traveled around the world, quadrupled my income, and gained tens of millions of readers throughout the world.
I write about pretty much whatever I feel like: news, entertainment, local lifestyle… I even published a poetry book. But mostly, I write about EI, because I am most interested in what it takes to live the life you really want.
I am not an exceptional writer, technically speaking. My copy is not always clean. My prose is not the most moving. I am not the most gifted out there, and that is ok, because what I do have is fortunately what most publications and businesses need, and that’s prolificness. I can sit down every day and write multiple articles, at minimum. (I wrote 8 yesterday. I wrote 6 so far today.)
But the reason that I can do that is because early on, I learned two things that completely shifted and shaped the way I see work and writing and your brain’s ability to perform, and I want to share them with you now:
First, creativity is not a well you tap dry. It’s a muscle that strengthens with time.
One of the biggest issues that people tend to have is that they think they run out of things to write about.
I am here to tell you that is impossible, though I do understand it because I used to worry about the same thing.
Early on in my career, I would get scared that one day, I wouldn’t be able to pitch anymore. I would run dry, so to say, and my career would crash because of it. That never happened.
Years ago, a really successful writer advised me on this: There are an infinite number of things to talk about, and an infinite number of ways to talk about them. There are an endless number of topics, experiences, issues and behaviors that people want to read about in new and inventive ways.
But most importantly, your creativity is not something you “run out of.”
If you are experiencing burnout, it’s because you are not actually doing something you want to be doing. If you want to be writing all of the time, doing it constantly will not exhaust you, it will give you energy.
Ultimately, using your creative muscle strengthens it over time. The more creative you are, the more creative you are capable of being. If you’re hitting a dead end, it’s because you’re not working on something you actually care about. It’s not a matter of waning skill or ability.
… Which brings me to my next point.
You will only struggle to write if you either don’t know what you’re trying to say, or you’re trying to say it in a way that is too far removed from how you would naturally think or speak.
Seth Godin explains it like this: do you ever get talker’s block? Do you ever sit down with a friend to talk about something you’re interested in or want to get off your chest, and find yourself unable? Of course not, because you haven’t imposed unrealistic expectations on your speech. You have most likely done that with your writing, though.
If you are stuck, it is because you are not doing what you need to be doing. It is because you do not know what you are trying to say.
You don’t know what the conclusion is, what your point is, what the big idea is. If you think that you discover your point in the process, you’re probably wrong. Almost always, you have to go into the work with the end in mind. (The same goes for a lot of things, like starting businesses, or writing music.)
You can also be stuck because you are not writing down what you naturally want to say, most likely because you think that your words, on their own, aren’t good enough.
The writing that resonates with the most people —and is usually the most successful —is the kind that is approachable, relatable, and easy to understand. It’s the kind that comes out in a more conversational, relaxed tone. It’s what comes most naturally to you, and sounds most natural to others.
That means it’s the kind of writing that sounds almost exactly like how you would say what you’re thinking, albeit in a fairly well articulated way.
I’m not saying to sit down and word vomit whatever stream of consciousness nonsense comes to your mind. (Though, you definitely can do that, actually.)
I am saying that when you sit down with the thesis in your head, clear about the point you want to make, and willing to be vulnerable enough to have your voice — your real voice, not your flowery voice that you made up— heard, writing will be effortless.