Writing for the Waste Basket / Breaking Writer’s Block

By | September 29, 2013
Businessman Holding Blank Paper

Photo by Pakorn. Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Isn’t it ironic that when you decide to pursue writing and dedicate a huge chunk of your efforts in that regard, you get locked up with weeks of writer’s block?  I have all of these ideas floating around my head, and even have some paying writing projects that I need to get done.  Yet, I am not writing every single day, like I intended on doing.  Some days I write like a mad man, but most others I can’t even get started.  So to break the writer’s block, perhaps what is needed is to sit down and write, even if that means writing about the fact that I have writer’s block.

I can make lots of excuses, and probably would be justified in some regards.  Sure I recently went through some major life changes, which has up-ended my normal routine, and I recently had some medical issues I needed to take care of.  But I am used to being uber-productive, and not being on my A game just feels, well, wrong.  I went two years writing nothing but technical documentation 5+ days a week for a comprehensive knowledge base, and now that is behind me, I sometimes struggle to get inspired enough to write, even though writing is what I love to do.

Perhaps I am too worried about what people will think.  Perhaps I worry about meeting people’s expectations.  Perhaps it is because my routine is messed up after some of my recent life changes.  Perhaps it is because I am finding myself in a new chapter of my life, where everything is new and undefined.

Maybe it is all of the above.  What I need to do is get back into the flow of writing again.

Writing for the Waste Basket

I was listening to some Anthony Robbins Get the Edge CDs the other day, and one of the things that he talked about was writing for the waste basket.  Well, actually one of his guests was talking about that, to be more accurate.  The guest said that he did some of his best song writing when he wrote for the waste basket, so that creativity can flow and the best writing comes out.  I can see how writing for the waste basket can eliminate the pressure of saying the right thing.

Writing for Others but to My Standards

Thinking back when I was most productive with writing, my best work was always something that I wrote for others, but to my high standards.  It was something I felt needed to be said, or explained and it was something that I felt people could benefit from.  But then there was also that pride of writing the best possible article, that said exactly what needed to be said, and was formatted in a way where it is easy to digest.  I was never satisfied until it met my standards, which were always higher than everyone else’s.  It was always satisfying sitting back, staring at the article just finished, and smiling, knowing it is the best possible article it could be (at least until I revisit it later and decide it could be even better).

So What Now?

I think the only way to break this writer’s block is to just dive in and write.  And write anything.  The hardest part is getting started.  Once the writing is flowing, it is amazing what actually gets done, but in quality and quantity.

Back in 2007 when I first started this blog, I actually posted 44 times in one month.  And when I was doing technical writing full time for a company, I was writing or updating about 25 to 100 articles per week, which included research and screen shots.

Maybe I need to start off the day writing what I want to write, so that I get into the flow to write what I need to write.  Because I do love writing.  I just need to get the creative juices flowing.


Scott M. Stolz

Entrepreneur, Educator, Author.
Helping people embrace life's opportunities.™