Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Three Ps That Lead To No Writing

Oh yes!!
Or rather: no, don't let yourself be caught in the web of The Three Ps

Sure, this post was written by a painter instead of a fellow writer, but The Three Ps: Perfection, Procrastination, Paralysis can be applied to writing as well as painting. 

 I used to get caught up in exactly this poisoned web. Once you've made yourself comfortable in it, it's not so easy to break out, but I found ways to do so that work for me.

1. Write Every Day.
I try to write at least 300 words every day, even if they're crap. On weekdays, I write after I come home from work, on weekends I fit it in as soon as possible. It has become a routine, a ritual that carries me forward, even if it's only 300 words at a time. That's better than two weeks of writing nothing because of paralysis.

2. Write, then Edit.
When I write scenes for the first draft, I don't edit at the same time. Apparently, you use different parts of the brain to edit and write, and doing it at the same time messes up both processes. Obviously, I'm no brain specialist and don't know the particulars, but I do know that it's true for me, so when I write, I leave the editing to Future-Pia.

3. Skip Problem-Scenes.
If I feel like I can't seem to get a handle on the scene / chapter / dialogue / whatever I'm writing right now, I skip it and carry on with the next - I always have a next one in mind. The trick is to keep writing, not stay paralized. I go back to the skipped part later, when I know what the result of it should be. Often (though not always), when a scene just doesn't want to click, no matter how I fret about it, it turns out that it's not important for the story.

These are my personal remedies against The Three Ps, their effect and value figured out through a lot of trial and error.

I bet other writers, painters or artists in general have other ways of staving off paralysis - what are yours?


  1. Now this is a post that all authors and writers, and asoiring authors and writers should read. I know that Perfection and Procrastination are my enemies for sure. I have to struggle to get past them.

  2. Thanks. :-)
    I agree, it is a struggle, particularly at first until you get into a routine.
    I think especially beginning writers (like me) tend to fall into such a pattern. Once you have a deadline to meet or depend on the income from your writing, you can't allow yourself to be paralyzed. But it helps to recognize the problem and this pattern, because then you can actively counteract it.
    It sure took me long enough to realize it...