The 12-Step Cure for Writer’s Block, Pt. 4: Question Your Intentions

[This is an excerpt from a piece I wrote for The Creative Penn. Click that link to read all 12 steps!]

W.H. Auden was asked what advice he would give to a young poet. He said he would ask the poet why he wanted to write poetry. If the aspiring poet said, “Because I have something important to say,” Auden feared there would be no hope for this young writer.

But if, on the other hand, the novice said he wanted to write because he loved to play with language, Auden thought there’d be some promise since the young writer was open to the discovery aspects of the poetic process.

Are your intentions are holding you back?

Just because you have something to say doesn’t mean that it is interestingly said. Is what you have to say less interesting than what you have to discover? If so, find a way to shake things up.

Toy with playful ways of destroying or altering your original vision. Remember, you don’t need to be married to any of the results. If you like the new direction, follow it! Or incorporate those new and unexpected elements into your original plot, theme, or purpose. If you make a few attempts at writing AWAY from your original intention and still believe strongly that the earlier version was best, go with it– and with more confidence, since you’ve tested it against alternatives!

-Chris R. at BookBaby


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