I have friends who write effortlessly like superheroes. Crank 500 words in 2 seconds? No problem. Others sweat uncontrollably, hyperventilate, and tremble at the mere thought of writing.
If writing stirs a panic attack in you, try this: start with an email.
Instead of launching an imposing behemoth like Microsoft Word, call up your humble email program and begin your next writing piece as a simple email.
Most of my articles start this way, as lowly emails addressed to an imaginary persona. It’s my favorite psychological trick for fooling the brain into thinking a writing task is less critical than it is.
Here are the benefits:
We use email every day as part of the drudgery of work. Most of us have an email perpetually running in the background”a terrible habit. But since it’s always open, you have the opportunity to write at anytime. No waiting for Word to launch and crash later.
You feel less pressure
None of us have problems writing emails. Longer written pieces, however, awaken our inner critic. Is that sentence structured correctly? Hey, are you putting those periods in the right place? You get so worried about perfection, you can’t even start. Creativity stops. Procrastination becomes tempting, and you go off to play Dance Dance Revolution or Sudoku instead. Email lowers the standards. It’s intentional informality reduces the fear of imperfection. This helps you generate more words, more quickly. Remember, quantity is quality.
You’re more conversational
Emails are casual, like everyday conversations. It shouldn’t sound like an college paper. If you’re writing for a blog, starting in email ensures your articles have an easy and informal tone.
You’re more concise
Even formal papers benefit from an email approach. Email forces you to be brief and understandable, because you have to keep it short. Earlier this year, MIT Press published a little academic paper I co-wrote in the journal, Design Issues. How did I start this paper? As a teeny tiny e-mail on my Sidekick.
You can get feedback quickly
Feedback is imperative for improving the quality of any work. Using an email program to write makes exchanging feedback super easy. Just fill in the address field and hit Send. No attachments. No Mess.
Okay, you get the idea. When you’re stuck on a writing project, put your words in an email. If it doesn’t work, send me a message about why it didn’t. ;-)
Trouble writing? What are your favorite tricks for easing your writing woes? Please share in the comments