NCWA welcomes Joe Bunting from The Write Practice in a series of writing prompts.
This post contains excerpts from Joe’s e-book. See links following post to obtain the complete version.
I spent most of the morning trying to figure out what to write. I had four or five different ideas for posts, all of which I threw out. I was blocked.
The three reasons I was blocked:
Recently, someone I respect had criticized my writing.
Shortly after, I didn’t get a writing job I really wanted.
Shortly after that, a writing mentor of mine said a piece I had written for him as a favor “needed a lot of work.”
Taken individually, none of these would have been that big of a deal, but together, they sent me down a shame spiral. It’s true, I thought. I’m a terrible writer. I have no taste. I’m immature.
The Secret to Getting Rid of Writer’s Block
The hardest part of getting over writer’s block is to realize you’re blocked. Once you know you’re sick, it’s pretty easy to prescribe the medicine you need to get well. What is the medicine? The cure to writer’s block is the worst sentence in the world.
Why would you want to write the worst sentence in the world? And how could that cure your writer’s block?
Because it frees you from perfectionism.
Writer’s block is caused by your irrational desire to write the best sentence in the world. I wasted two hours of my morning because I was trying to write the perfect post, one that wouldn’t be open for criticism. This is impossible and not worth the effort. It is much better to write something open and vulnerable.
Because you can’t inspire yourself.
Inspiration doesn’t come from you. It is a gift from something outside of you…
Because it’s impossible.
Writing the worst sentence in the world is just as impossible as writing the best sentence…
Discussion Question: How do you get unblocked? What techniques do you use to cure writer’s block?
Our goal today is to write the worst sentence in the world. I hope you have spelling and grammatical errors. I hope it is boring. I want you to write something so bad that when people read it they think, “This guy or girl is the worst writer I’ve ever read.”
In order to write the worst sentence in the world, write for thirty perfect-free minutes. Then, go through your writing and look for the absolute worst sentence you wrote.
When you’ve found your worst sentence, have the courage to share it with your writing group or in the comments here.
Excerpts and writing prompt from Joe Bunting’s e-book,
14 Prompts, available by clicking on the link.
Joe Bunting is the founder of The Write Practice. He loves the sound of a good sentence and would like to think of himself as a literary snob but can be kept up far too late by a page turner meant for thirteen year old girls. He would like for you not to know that though. He and his wife, Talia, enjoy playing backgammon and Angry Birds on her iPhone. View his website.