I wrote the following post way back in April of 2012 for Pen to Paper Communications. Over the course the last year, though, I’ve come to fiercely believe that the ideas of “point” and “purpose” apply to writing as a whole, not just to writer’s block. I encourage you to define the point and purpose of your writing not only on those fateful and frustrating days when you cannot find the words, but also on the days when the words flow freely. In fact, have a clear purpose laid out before you even start writing your piece. And sometimes you may not discover the ultimate purpose until you’ve begun the process of expression… the moment you unveil it, articulate it for yourself before you keep going. Okay??
I don’t believe in writer’s block. The second you tell yourself you “have writer’s block,” you have given yourself permission to stop and fester; to focus your mind on the negative disposition that “you can’t find the words.” Block implies there’s an inability, beyond your control, to move forward and that your only option is to stop.
I submit to you, dear reader, the moment of uncertainty when you struggle with what to say next is merely a misplacement of your focus. You have not lost your words. To misplace simply means you need to look to find; this implies movement that is completely within your control—a continuation of your writing endeavor with a detour. You need to go back and define the point and purpose of what you are writing. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in finding the words that we lose sight of what we wanted to say in the first place.
Before you sat down to write, you had an idea, thought, or desire you felt the need to share. There was something you needed to say or create in order to express what was on your heart or mind, right? Go back to that and define what it was you felt the need to say. One to two sentences—this is the point of your piece.
Now take this deeper. Why does this point matter? We write to covey that which burns inside of us, so what is it that is driving you to make the point? Keep asking “why” until you hit the raw part of you that is driven to emotion… anger, tears, laughter, peace, etc. The thing that moves your heart is the purpose of your prose. Define it and write it down.You have found and regained your focus from a deep and authentic place.
Not only that, but think about how much more powerful your message will be now that you’ve tapped into the emotion driving the purpose. When you’re moved, your audience will be moved. Go back to your project with your point and purpose defined; let them guide you in crafting your message. Never once in this process are you blocked from writing but instead are driven to rediscover perspective, which is motivational. It’s positive motion rather than an undesirable stop.
Walk with me through a simple example:
The point of this blog post: to contend that writer’s block does not exist, but rather the loss for words is simply a lack of focus. Go back to the beginning and define the point and purpose of your prose.
The purpose of this post (why the point is important): To redirect your mind away from a negative myth and encourage your writing.
Because a positive mindset breeds motivation to continue forward–to keep writing.
Why is that important?
Because you have something to say that needs to be shared.
Because what you share brings to life a piece of your unique story.
Why does that matter?
Because your story ignites my story; my story ignites someone else’s story; that story ignites another story, etc… bridging us together in community.
Think about all that happens when people come together as a community. That, my dear reader, is what moves me and, therefore, is the ultimate purpose of this piece.
Do you buy into the notion of writer’s block? Why or why not? Think about your current writing project. Can you define the point and purpose of your message?