It’s advice that is often necessary but does not always appear easy. Just write. How many times have you heard someone complain that this is useless? Or impossible? And yet it is so simple, it really is doable. What isn’t is what is added in your mind: just write perfectly; just write impressively; just write a polished manuscript in an instant. That, my dear reader, probably won’t happen.
The idea of ‘just writing’ is like freewriting exercises that can improve your creativity and increase your capacity to express yourself during regular short intervals of no more than 20 minutes. Writing whatever comes to mind without stopping until your set time is up, is a regular practice for writers and will allow you to exercise your mind ‘s ability to jump over the ‘writer’s block’. The main goal is not to get the best words out, but to write without concern for style or grammar or even being viewed by another person; the focus is on flow. You will naturally find yourself dissatisfied with what you wrote and critical of it, but it’s yours to delete, burn or keep once the exercise is done. The point being it is yours to do with what you want but is not expected to be published. Put in a drawer, forget about it, then read it again in a few days, as it may be part of a rough draft.
This method of writing has many other benefits besides the creativity and expression. For instance, it also clears the mind, resolves mental blocks that get in the way of productivity, helps in learning, memory work and absorbing new information, helps with problem solving, and even promotes planned or required writing projects–be it formal writing for work or personal, such as writing a reply to a letter, or even a business plan to secure some necessary funding.
In practice, writing helps people make sense of their thoughts and their experiences. It is a processing system people use to create a narrative or tell a story. It starts with building meaning and relatable stories first with ourselves, then others. Part of this is taking overwhelming events and breaking them down into smaller more manageable events that can then be organised towards a resolution. This is one reason why therapeutic writing has been so beneficial under supervised care, since it may spark strong emotions, or triggers. With direction, writing through these or talking through them can even be healing.
Either way, writing has been a part of the human story with the likes of scripture from your ancient faith, the 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys, the Diary of Anne Frank, right through to your modern-day social media accounts or public webpage posts. The opening up of these new channels of self-publishing has crossed over into traditional publishing, with some collections of blogs becoming books, owners becoming influencers and even thought leaders. The main common denominator is consistent writing. So ‘just write’ is not such bad advice, after all.
Connecting with a writing coach can walk you through this daunting process if it feels like writing is hard. Feel free to get a consult by getting in touch or completing this brief survey to see if a coach can help your needs.