In The News

Mon 3 Jul 2017

I Can’t Write


Business Consulting & Coaching
I can't write - hand drawn image

I suspect there are very few people in the world who would claim to be naturally good at writing.

Even published authors will often regale you with stories about how much hard work it took to get them where they are today.

While Agatha Christie wrote novel after novel, Harper Lee wrote two in her life time. You don’t need to look far to see that book writing is a varied experience, even by the most famous of authors.

The truth is most people aren’t born with a gift for writing. Mostly it comes with practice and self-belief.

So here are four things you need to do right now:

  1. Stop saying ‘I can’t write’ and start saying ‘I will write each day’. Believe in your ability to build your skills.
  2. Stop expecting that writing should always be easy. As with any skill it needs to be practiced, and for some (like me) it needs to be done daily to improve.
  3. Don’t worry about your first draft being perfect. This is why the first version is called ‘draft’ because is about getting your ideas on the page. Once you have a draft you know that you can edit and revise as much as you need. That’s the beauty of working on computers; everything is easy to change.
  4. Don’t get hung up on the idea that you have to start at the beginning. Once you’ve got an idea of the table of contents, it’s fine to start writing whatever comes most naturally. Filling in gaps is much easier than starting from scratch.

Still not sure what to do, here are a few tools and tips that often provide a great foundation for creating those ideas to write:

  1. Talking and transcribing is sometimes the best way to ‘write’.
  2. Pen and paper. For a change of scenery, you don’t always have to be at a computer.
  3. Saving interesting writings/articles/blog post etc in a ‘writing ideas’ folder in your email account or on your computer.
  4. Keeping inspirational books close by on my bookshelf.
  5. Go for a walk to refresh your brain. Even quick steps up and down the hallway or a stairwell is helpful if it’s not possible to get outside.
  6. Deep breathing.
  7. Keep a few inspirational pictures and quotes around your workspace or on your phone.
  8. Remembering what Seth Godin said: ‘I have never known someone not to be able to talk, so why can’t they write’. So next time you think you can’t write, just start talking, even if it’s just to yourself.

Do you still think you can’t write?

I would love to see your questions and comments in the comments box below.

Your real life examples, comments and questions will allow us to dive deeper into each of the above questions and perhaps provide other readers answers to their questions. It’s a win-win for all.


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