Do It Until You Know What’s Next

Today I’ve been poking away at a fiction story about an accidental guru, and blog posts about not second guessing your happiness, realizations versus answers, some possible trajectories about self-inquiry, and an intro to a series about the Integral Model. While doing all that, I realized why I write several posts simultaneously.

One of my favorite pieces of advice to writers comes from Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway recommended that you should, “write until you… know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.” I have found this a supremely effective tool for writing at a good clip and avoiding writer’s block. If you sit down knowing what will happen next, you have no pause to doubt yourself.

What I have recently seen is this advice is just as good for writing non-fiction pieces. You write until you know what you are going to say next, and stop. Since non-fiction writing involves a lot of saying specific points, you can get to this point rather quickly. That is why I work on several pieces at once. I can plunk away at a post, get to the point where I have a clear notion of my next point, and skip to a different post. It’s a little bit like cooking a meal with several dishes all at once. (Without the pressure of needing them to get done fairly close to each other so the dishes don’t get to room temperature before they are eaten.)

Not every suggestion works well for everyone. However, if you are a writer, and find yourself frequently hitting “dry spells” you might try Hemingway’s little gem out. Let me know how it goes if you do.

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