Akimbo – No Such Thing (As Writer’s Block)

Seth Godin’s podcast continues to wage war on resistance.

Here’s the crux of this episode’s argument: Writer’s block is a myth. Well, sort of. There’s no doubt that if you’re not writing it’s because your struck. But, if you’re stuck, you’re stuck for a reason. Find the reason. If you can’t find the reason? Find a reason to write anyways. Here’s one:

“As long as we’ve got to type, we might as well type something worth reading. The idea that we are able to create more and more bad work on the way to good work is one way to get past the stuck-ness.”

If you don’t write because you’re afraid it’s bad, write anyways and make sure you write enough that there’s some good in all the bad stuff. The goal isn’t to perfect every word, it’s to stop feeling trapped. The problem is that we fall victim to our own fears, and waste our time with distractions. As Godin says:

“We want the reassurance of knowing how Stephen King does his writing.”

“What kind of pencil does my favorite author use?”, we ask. That is a cop out. It’s easier to find the answer to this question than it is to confront our fears.

A side-effect of never confronting those fears: Our work is often middling, because we were too scared to make what we were compelled to create in the first place. Yet this is just another path to failure:

“As we can see from those who make mediocre restaurants for the people on the middle and don’t make a profit, going for the middle rarely works. The successes all start at the edges, for the weird people who didn’t show up in a focus group. Catering to the obscure extremes that we end up with something that becomes a surprise best-seller. If you can become important to a few people, the cash flow will begin to support your move to serve more people.”

Confront your fears. Cater to the extreme you’re passionate about. Do the work you were created to do. That’s all there is to it.