Three Reasons You Can’t Write: Clear Thinking Required

by Randy Murray on June 2, 2014

As a writer I am sometimes put off by how much others make such a fuss about how difficult it is for them to write.

“Just sit down and write!” I tell them, mostly out of frustration.

And then, after I calm down, I can see why it is so difficult for many people to write and to write well. I’ve found that for many it boils down to three simple reasons.

To write and to write well you need to:

  1. Think clearly.
  2. Understand the form in which you need to write.
  3. Be willing to rewrite.

They do not necessarily go in any particular order.

First, think clearly.

And here’s the secret: I often do not think clearly until I’ve written something, which lets me find out where I am in my thinking.  I then tear apart what I’ve written and rewrite it. Or after my editor sends it back telling me I haven’t quite gotten it. I believe that I come to think clearly on subjects by writing about them, exploring them, and distilling that into carefully selected words and shaped sentences.

If you are unwilling to rewrite it’s unlikely you will come to think clearly. But that’s reason #2, so we’ll leave it for tomorrow.

Do not allow confusion and uncertainty to stop you from writing. Clarity will come if you start, then figure out what you do not know, do not understand, or think you know (but can’t really defend). Then is is time to rewrite, do more thinking, and learn as you do.

If you sit down to write on a subject and do not know precisely what you think or want to say it is very difficult to start. It becomes easier to begin, to put words down on the page, if you tell yourself, “let’s see what I think now. This is not the final, finished thing I am writing at this moment.”

Let’s get started.

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