The most difficult thing for a writer to do sometimes is to actually start writing. Doubts creep into our heads, and they consume us. We begin to think, “They are not going to like it,” “They are going to tear it apart,” “They are not going to be moved by my words, and my words will lose their power.” Even though we know that feedback and criticism will only help us improve, we cannot prevent these pesky thoughts from entering our minds. We want to be perfect. This was my biggest fear when I began working at Paragraph Inc. as a copywriting intern: I would try so hard to be perfect that it would hinder my ability to write.
I remember getting my first assignment like it was yesterday. I was giddy; my palms were sweaty, but I was ready to work. The team instructed me to write a New Biz email—an email sent to prospective clients. The task was simple: use one of Paragraph’s previous case studies to explain why they would be an asset to the client. I looked at previous New Biz emails, and I thoroughly researched the case study they wanted me to include. I was prepared. I knew my stuff. Now, I was ready to start writing. But, when I sat down on my bed (I do my best work there), opened up a blank Google Document, and lightly hovered my fingers over the keys. I had nothing.
This blank Google document that I was staring at was like a blank canvas. I could see something emerging from the emptiness, something bold, unique, personalized: a story. But, none of the words I conjured up to create this work of art seemed worthy of inscribing on this blank document. I kept writing and rewriting, but nothing was left on the page. My nerves had gotten to me.
I was distraught. So, I went back to something that has always brought me comfort: a blank piece of paper and a cheap Bic pen. I took a deep breath, clenching in my hand the object that wills my words into being, and put it to the paper. I began to write like no one would ever read what was on this flimsy sheet. And, they actually wouldn’t. All they would read was the concise and articulate Google document I would submit, the masterpiece.
With all those thoughts swirling in your head and the feeling that you cannot put them into words, it is best to take a deep breath and just write. Write like no one will ever read it. Not even yourself or else you will begin to criticize and scrutinize every sentence and every word until you have nothing.
My advice: If writing is your passion, don’t let your nerves get to you, just write, even if your idea doesn’t make sense, if you think it is too bold, or not bold enough, just write. And if you do that, the final product WILL be a masterpiece.