WHAT WRITERS DREAD THE MOST (AND HOW TO PREVENT IT)
Every writer starts with a dream.
A dream of expressing themselves.
Getting their messages heard and gaining recognition.
Unfortunately, a lot of beginning writers quit. Murdering all their dreams and aspirations in cold blood.
How depressing. So many unique thoughts and ideas shut out from the rest of the world.
What could be responsible for such calamity? Why does every beginning writer even (try to) quit?
I faced this challenge several weeks back. It’s not a pleasant feeling.
It’s like being in a marathon. Trying to stay fit for weeks long. Signing up for the race. Ignoring several distractions on the way, running past other contenders. Leading the lot. A few more meters to go in the wholesome 42km race, finish-line upfront, in sight, and then straining an ankle.
Slowly watching others continue. Sad, depressed. I must admit, it’s going to take a strong will to ever jog again not to even talk about running in a marathon.
You see, this is how it is with beginning writers whose dreams get crushed by one simple reason.
There was a time my former blog was beginning to die. And it wasn’t just dying, it was going to take my writing dream along with it. Because of this same simple reason most beginning writers quit.
I ran out of ideas.
In more known term, this problem is writer’s block.
And I believe this is why a lot of beginning writers abandon the craft.
“Oh, what do I write about? Science fiction isn’t interesting enough. Ugh, who wants to read about astrology?”
You finally decide to write on a particular topic after a long debate with your own creative mind and then jettison the entire idea, halfway through writing it.
You have several write-ups that aren’t completed. And then one day, there was absolutely nothing to write about anymore. You feel empty, your ink dries up as you stare at the blank white page in front of you.
This happened to you? It is depressing, right? I bet it is.
But there’s a way to solve this problem.
Creativity. That’s all you need.
“Is this writer a joke? That’s a no-brainer. Of course, I know”. Yes, you might know creativity will solve your problem. But do you understand the psychology of creativity? Do you know how the creative mind works? Read the question again, aloud this time around.
If it took you over 5 seconds to start answering that, sit down, carefully look at the following words and let them resonate deep within your mind. (Or you could stop reading from here since you know all I’m going to talk about).
THE LIE OUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND TOLD US
You’re seated on the roof of a house above the beach. The tide is coming in. The only thing you can hear is the sound of waves lapping and the cries of dolphins. As the sun starts to set, you open your notepad (or computer) and you look up at the distant mountains. Ready to write…
You just got home after a long, hard day. Everyone in the house wants your help with one thing or the other. You manage to navigate through their needs and settle in. As you pull your notepad (or computer), a baby starts to cry. Power goes out. Your neighbor’s generator coughs to life. You sit there, lantern on, ready to write…
If you got a mail from the chief editor of a very popular magazine, say, Forbes, and they told you to write a post that was going to be on the next edition, if it was good enough. And then, a mouth-offering amount of money. Where would you write that post? Option A? Option B?
“Lol. Was that question even worth asking? Of course, option A without any doubt. I mean, option B is close to how my life is and I have this problem”.
You know what? This might upset you a little but I’m sorry to disappoint you, you’re wrong.
Creative thinking is triggered by the collision of unrelated ideas.
Psychologist, Frans Johansson explains what he called The Medici Effect with that quote.
In Option B, many unrelated ideas collide. And in this chaos, creativity lies.
Option A has zero collision of ideas. The main reason a calm or a still environment is the worst place for your writing.
The thing about creativity is, our subconscious mind makes us think we need serenity to pull off amazing things. Such that when we set out to create something outstanding, completely foolproof, we underestimate a complete fool’s ingenuity.
THE CONCEPT OF THE MEDICI EFFECT
As I pointed out earlier, The Medici Effect means creativity triggered by the collision of unrelated ideas.
Allow me to explain The Medici Effect better. Let’s put writing aside for a hot second and talk a little about diamonds.
Diamonds are made of carbon that crystallized under the conditions of extreme temperature and pressure at depths of 140–190 kilometers (that’s over 3 marathon races) in the earth’s crust, mantle.
Creating outstanding write-ups is similar. An unrelated thought could act as your ‘condition of extreme temperature and pressure’ in your brain. Leaving your brain to birth new ideas.
In essence, your brain will start to produce shiny diamond-like thoughts.
When two or more bits of information intersect, an idea (that’s the diamond) is formed. This idea triggers radiant thinking. This means that the brain makes countless associations, radiating in all directions.
STAY AT THE TOP OF YOUR CREATIVITY GAME
Suppose you’re on your bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking of what to write. You desperately need fresh ideas. This is how you could go about it.
Stand on your feet and grab a notepad. Write down even the most irrelevant occurrence or idea. This will seek after your creativity well. Then let your mind roam and allow your next regular actions trigger ideas.
Hold the idea of creating a write-up in your mind as the day continues. New ideas would emerge the second you connect two thoughts that are unrelated. Such as the experience of the moment and creating a write-up.
You go to the window and stretch:
Are you giving your readers a new perspective?
How to change your point of view without seeming two-faced.
In the bathroom
How to flow like water at times of adversities.
You play with a baby
How Time-out can boost productivity.
Ideas are extremely volatile. Like a fart in a fan factory, they fade away too quickly. This is why I recommend you record the idea immediately it comes to you. Record without even judging.
Add a little note to every idea recorded. So you don’t stare at your notepad later on with zero clues on how you wanted to develop any of the recorded data.
GO EVERYWHERE WITH YOUR NOTEPAD
I know, it’s a little weird to adjust to that. But you need a bank for your ideas.
Or you could simply get an app like Evernote on your smartphone to bank all of your precious ideas.
YOUR CREATIVE MIND IS LIMITLESS
There are a ton of other ways to power your creativity. From reading books, watching movies, overheard dialogues, quotes, regular experience of your daily life.
NB: I’ll advice that when you find an idea for a write-up, it is important to complete the write-up.
A myth the beginner writer lives by is that their writing must be brilliant and outstanding. When their writing really just needs to be good enough.
This means providing an introduction that leads into your idea, a body that delves deeper into your idea and a conclusion that seals the deal.
P.S — It’s better to write things you personally find mediocre than to stop writing because you set the bar too high for yourself.
If you develop your brain to respond to triggers that power your creativity, you’ll not only enjoy writing, you’ll also gather a rapt audience.
Let’s have a conversation. What are your thoughts about generating ideas for your write-ups?