Want a quick fix for your writing process? Here you go. Pretend no one will read what you write – consider your writing an experiment.
You’d be surprised at how well this self-trickery works. I use it all the time, and recommend it to students. It’s an odd trick, and I’ve been slightly embarrassed about it, but here’s the rationale for it.
Feedback generally promotes effort—because we want to impress the evaluator—but effort is insufficient for creativity. We can’t be more creative just by trying harder. We must relax in a way that permits the full engagement of unconscious mental processes—ones that generate unusual associations and new ideas. These work best when we are playing, not when we are striving for praise or a reward.
There you go: pretending no one will read what you write enables you to be creative.
Writing Process: “Just Have a Giggle…”
Many years ago, when I received my first book contract from Macdonald Futura, a British publisher of the time, I was terrified. I started each day’s writing session shaking with nerves. In desperation, I decided to pretend that I was writing a novel just for the fun of it. I told myself to have a giggle with it.
The process worked like a charm, and I’ve been using it off and on ever since. I commend it to you, especially if you combine it with mindfulness.
Stay Mindful: Visualize Before and After Writing.
In Mindfulness: How A Wimbledon Champ Used It To Win, Barrie Davenport talks about the men’s final at Wimbledon:
Novak said that during a bathroom break, he used visualization, mindfulness, and positive self-talk to boost himself mentally and maintain the focus he needed to ultimately win the game. In fact, he uses these techniques off the court as well to help him become the number one tennis player in the world.
If visualization works for Novak Djokovic to defeat Roger Federer, it can work for you.
Writers have imagination, and this can be a double-edged sword. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re writing junk, that no one will buy what you write, that you’re a horrible writer… and on, and on.
Fact: everyone’s writing is horrible in its first or second draft. Writing isn’t typing. It’s a process. Pretending that no one will ever read what you write helps. So does visualization.
Before each writing session, visualize your project as complete. It’s done. You’ve sent it to the client, who’s thrilled. Or you’ve published the blog post, or ebook. Then pretend that no one will read what you’re writing today, and have fun with it.
Try it. Let me know how the process works for you.