The myth of writer's block.

The Pilot Piece – The Myth of Writer’s Block and Mediocre Work

The Davis Daily blog needs a pivot, and it’s in need of some action, too. It’s been over three months since my last post. 😲

Hence, a lofty goal of blogging every day from now until the New Year.

[UPDATE: 2021 has arrived and I’ve continued my daily writing practice – I don’t publish everyday however].  

Regardless of the length, it’s getting into the habit of typing out a coherent thought each day and making it a routine – I’d like to produce more work faster, too.

After listening to Tim Stoddart’s podcast with the renowned Seth Godin, I’m not only inspired to write more, but I’m all in on what Seth calls the practice in his new book. You can check it out here. 👈

Two things stuck out in the episode: 

  1. Writer’s block is a myth—the inability to write (or producing any creative work, for that matter) stems from the fear of creating something nobody will care about. 
  1. Producing great work means producing mediocre work—you must accept that the good comes with the bad. 

What’s the revelation? 

You’re not perfect the first time – even the pros take a few turns to get it right – don’t let fear stop you from creating whatever it is you create. 

Seth Godin has blogged every day for almost 20 years. His posts are short (for the most part), but as a writer, it’s admirable nonetheless. It’s also daunting to consider doing it myself. 

So, I’ll start with the next 53 days and go from there. 

As for accepting mediocre work, it’s comforting to know Seth acknowledges his as well. He admits to writing multiple posts each day; many don’t make it to his blog.  

It’s about dedicating yourself to the practice and working through the average to get to the good to get to the great.  


Photo by Richard Dykes on Unsplash

That’s why it’s called a first draft

To me, it highlights the importance of an unbiased first draft. Going from concept to final product is a process – it’s taking a big idea and distilling it down into its best version. 

Searching for the perfect word, the perfect sentence, and the perfect paragraph is a stifling exercise. It bottlenecks creativity and productivity. 

Why choke yourself at the beginning of a project when you are most inspired? 

It’s better to unload your thoughts as they come and fire them at the page like an automatic weapon. Editing is for the second draft, where you keep or delete as you see fit. 

And you get more critical with each draft, going from automatic to semi to single fire. 

I imagine painters sketching in their notebook before committing brush to canvas. Allowing themselves to explore a piece without fear until finding their idea’s final form.

Of course, this concept applies to more than just creative work – it’s the crux of personal growth and professional development. 

Everything has a first draft. 

Don’t be afraid of mediocre work or get derailed by incremental improvement. There’s a reason for clichés like practice makes perfect or third time’s a charm

Greatness lies on the other side of fear. See you there. ✌

The Diary of Davis Newsletter.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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