Neil Strauss says writers block is like impotence. Firstly, he says that it’s bullshit, and all it is is you putting pressure on yourself to perform, when the thing to focus on doing is to relax and just write. Be present and just do it. Just write.
Rick Rubin once set this homework for an artist he was working who had writers block. He told them to go home and that night, ‘Just one write one word for one line of a song’. Matt Mullenweg lost weight by telling himself to do ‘one pushup a day’.
So why does this work? Setting ridiculously small goals makes you not only feel good when you’ve done it, but a lot of the time, the momentum just keeps you going further.
William Yeats said, “I am a very slow writer. I have never done more than five or six good lines in a day.” So you can imagine how many bad ones there were. And at that rate, Mason Currey says, a lyric poem of about eighty lines would take him about 3 months to finish.
When Joshua Spodek was setting up his blog 5 years ago, he asked a friend, ‘How often do you blog?’ and he told him, ‘If you miss one day, you can miss two. If you can miss two, it’s all over. Every day.’ And he hasn’t missed a day since. (He also set out, together with a friend, to do 10 burpees a day for 30 days, and 2,192 days later, he also hasn’t missed a day of that.)
On the latest episode of Write with Impact, Spodek also talks about how people always tell him he has such great discipline to write every day. But he doesn’t see it that way. It’s not the discipline that makes him write, it’s the writing that gives him discipline.
I’m going to write a post for this everyday. And hell if I know what I’m going to write about. But I’ll just write.