Why I Write For The Garbage Can

write for the garbage canDo you know of an author that has written a book in one sitting? Or how about a composer who created a masterpiece in an afternoon?

You haven’t? Me neither. And that’s why I write for the garbage can.

Johnny Mercer, the songwriter, said he used to write for the waste basket. When I first heard this, it blew my mind. After hearing a 3 minute song that seems so perfect, many people get the impression that it was written the way they heard it — in a short flash of inspiration. And even though we know better, we can be overly critical of work too soon in the process.

Writing for the garbage can solves this problem. Write just to write. Only edit once you have enough material to work with. I’m not trying to write the next timeless masterpiece anymore. I’m just figuring out what it is that I want to communicate and then writing, writing and writing some more.

Here’s 7 steps to powerful writing:

  1. Know what you want: State your intention.
  2. Collect the information: Get the facts or tools that will support your intention.
  3. Just create: Silence the critic and go for it. If it’s a musical creation, don’t forget to record it.
  4. Take a break: Get a way from the project.
  5. Just create some more or start over: Either extend step 3 or start fresh.
  6. Take another break: Take at least 24 hours off to let the ideas incubate.
  7. Analyze and correct: This is where you get critical. Just remember to be nice to yourself.

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