Earlier today, a friend asked me how the writing was going.
Not well. Truth is, I've been stalled. Lately it's been torture even to compose a blog post.
When I step back (figuratively speaking) and look at what has been making writing so torturous, I can see that I'm judging.
As my brain forms the sentences, I'm telling myself that no one's going to be interested or that there's a better word than the one I just thought of or that what I'm writing isn't clear and concise enough.
I'm editing as I'm writing, and this always kills the creative mood for me.
So how do I stop judging? How do I turn off the editor?
Being aware of what I'm doing is helpful, as it means that I can dismiss the voice of judgment as it begs me to erase what I've just written or insists that I obsess over a sentence until it comes out exactly right. (Does exactly right even exist? Hmph.)
Another strategy that has often worked in the past for me is to start each day and each writing session with freewriting. When I freewrite for the purpose of letting go of judgment, I consciously let go of punctuation, spelling, capitalization and even coherence. I write down the words as they come into my head without any regard for whether they seem to go with the words that came before. I'm not going for complete sentences. It's more like word association. Or image and sound association.
Finally, I sometimes find it helpful to remind myself that my job is not to judge whether my writing is good or whether anyone else will want to read it; my job is to write it.
So quit judging and write. Write until your fingers are tired and your brain refuses to call forth any more words. Write until you're so tired your eyes won't stay open. And then, when you sleep and dream and wake again, write what you dreamt and go from there.