When your brain does a fart and you get stuck on what to write
working through a different kind of writer’s block
If you’re starting out, you may find yourself stuck — unable to put fingers down on the keyboard in a coherent manner. You’ve set yourself up to write but all your brain does is a fart.
Not your regular, open and airy kind of fart — but a splurge of ideas that’s been mulling around in your head and you just don’t know exactly where to start.
It’s like that time you ate too many beans and the gassy build-up needs a place to escape. It swirls around, moving like butterflies rummaging in the dark, only to come out as a puff of noxious gas. Sometimes it’s silent. Sometimes there’s an announcement.
Whatever it’s doing inside of you, one thing you do know for sure is that it needs to come out.
Ideas are like farts. If you don’t acknowledge it, it disappears into the ether, forgotten and lost in time. The moment you give it attention is the moment it will begin to take shape — a tale of its own creation, a history of connections, a neural network of thoughts and critical turning points.
But how do you go about capturing ideas? Do you do it with a butterfly net?
Or is there a process to help unclog the thing that is your brain and get your creativity into the right gear so it comes out as a puff of perfume, rather than something else?
It starts with the exercise
Why is it that some people find it a lot easier to write while others struggle to put down a word? If you’re like me, you sit in front of the screen, starring at the glaring blank page while your brain decides on the words to let out.
The words are in there. They’ve always been in there. But you filter and polish every word before it even has a chance to come out. You examine its shape, its relationship with the next words to come out, to nitpick, take it back, stretch it out on its side and worry about what others will think of it.
You experience the equivalent of gym anxiety, but with your writing.
But like going to the gym, you just need to do it. Over time, you become accustomed to the existence of others and just get on with whatever you planned to do.
No one is watching you except you. It’s a bad habit.
And the only way to get over it is to just write — to let out the fart of ideas, get it onto the page and then deal with it later. Over time, you’ll find yourself getting better. You figure out a routine. You get faster at writing, at typing, and at editing.
But before any of that can happen, you need to get used to the act of creating.
Eloquence is fluency in your ability to let out ideas. The ability to write a refined piece on the first draft is like painting with Bob Ross. The master makes it look effortless — creating a follow along with a walkthrough of layering paint and colors, of swiping and swishing the brush in certain motions and strokes.
We may follow along but find our final result somewhat amateurish in comparison.
But that’s expected. Bob Ross knows what he’s doing. You don’t.
However, over time, you will. You just need to practice. To work on letting out your ideas consistently, to a point where you’re starting to speak in a coherent manner on digital paper.
Eloquence is a skill — built up over weeks, months and years of practicing the art of pre-arranging your thoughts without thinking, of figuring out ebbs and flows. It might be easy to follow along with Bob Ross. He’s got it all figured out for you and is just telling you what to paint. But to have the skills to paint independently — now that’s a different story altogether.
Writing is the same. You can follow structures, follow instructions, follow suggestions and everything else in between. But to figure out your voice, how it sounds, what combination of words best represents the quality of your thoughts and ideas — that’s up to you.
The process of consistently creating content starts with the habit of writing.
Many of us dream of being writers, of making it in an industry where the creations from inside our brains have the potential to also put food on the table, pay the rent and many a bottle of wine or two.
We may want to be freelancers, to write that novel, to marketing ourselves as someone that creates — and that’s where our issue lie. We’re too sidetracked by the thoughts of being a writer, rather than being a writer.
You become too entrapped by the acts of inaction, stuck in your own mind, unable to move forward with your writing projects, thinking too much about its commercialization, how it’s going to make the money and not doing what is actually necessary — write.
So let out your words and free your farts — write out the messiness of your mind — so you can finally free yourself of the internal judgments and criticism that’s preventing you from doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing.