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Lower the bar to increase your output

The urge to write something pushes you to get to your favorite writing place, pour your thoughts onto the page or computer monitor, and you feel that special sense of excitement only writers know. All that happens – but you don't seem to get the writing done. What's the deal? Why do you want to write and find yourself not writing?

This mismatch of desires and actions come from one or more of the following:

  • You come to the keyboard with only desire and nothing prepared
  • You are expecting to get too much done
  • You have unrealistic expectations of the quality of your efforts

You've heard it before: "Perfect is the enemy of good (enough for now)." We are all sucked into the myth that truly gifted writers simply sit down, and magic leaps from their fingertips. Speak to as many published writers as you can corner and ask them about the quality and quantity of their first efforts. You will find that almost without exception, their first drafts are rough, awkward, incomplete, disorganized, poorly structured, and of very poor quality. But what most will tell you is that they know this, expect this, aren't worried about it, and have confidence that with revision and rewriting, the quality of the writing will improve – without fail.

No one wants to disappoint himself. We don't go write when we know, instinctively, that we simply aren't prepared to do the level of writing we aspire to or the amount we have set as our goal or both.

Preparation leads to product. All writers eventually discover that the writing really gets done before they sit down to the keyboard or lined pad. It is a matter of focus, visualization, and goal–setting for the upcoming writing session. The more time the writer spends preparing himself by visualizing the scene(s) he intends to write, the more excited he becomes about actually getting to the writing and getting it on paper.

Bottom line: If you aren't writing, you aren't prepared. Or you are expecting too much too soon. Or both.

Lower the bar, spend more time thinking about what you want to write before beginning, and watch what happens.