Monday, December 11, 2006

A lower bar

Some kind readers noticed that this blog is back after a hiatus. (There are readers!) Roy Peter Clark’s advice helped me get going again. In "Writing Tool #33: Rehearsal," he quotes the poet William Stafford:

I believe that the so-called "writing block" is a product of some kind of disproportion between your standards and your performance ... One should lower his standards until there is no felt threshold to go over in writing. It's easy to write. You just shouldn't have standards that inhibit you from writing.

In short: If you have writer’s block, your standards are too high.

When I got stuck last year, I was helped by Anne Lamott’s advice in Bird by Bird to just bang out “a shitty first draft.” This time around the problem has been getting to a half-decent second draft. Until I figure that out, I’ll take William Stafford’s advice and keep lowering the bar. Sometimes, especially on the web, the shitty first draft just has to make its own way in the world.

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