Monday, March 23, 2015
Writer’s block is like getting your car stuck in mud up to the axles
What comes next? First you need to get unstuck and somehow write a first draft. Why might you get stuck? In a 2013 blog post titled Speech Preparation #4: wrestling writer’s block to write the first draft Andrew Dlugan suggested that the deadly combination is a lack of direction plus perfectionism.
In a March 18th post on his Speak & Deliver blog Rich Hopkins discussed Shatter Your Writer’s Block Pt I: Speechwriting in Reverse. His approach is to practice a speech from a mental or written outline and record it. Then he transcribes to produce his written draft. That’s not how I do it, but there is no best way for everyone. I have blogged about how to Use a storyboard to organize your presentation.
Then you can begin editing your draft. In her 1995 book Bird by Bird writer Anne Lamott reminds us that:
“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something - anything - down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft - you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft - you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even God help us, healthy.”
Along the way, ask yourself:
A) Do I have too few points or too many?
B) Did I cover them with too little detail or too much?
C) Does the structure for my speech make sense?
The mired car image came from the Library of Congress.