Raw material

This is why so many inexperienced writers get writer’s block. They try to edit before the generative flow is finished. They start thinking analytically too early, and so the material stops coming. This probably happens regularly to students who are trying to write to deadlines. Especially if you put off writing a paper until a couple of days before it’s due, you’ve got no time to allow the creative flow to generate its material. And the creative flow is important no matter what kind of paper you’re writing. Intuition and vision work just as well for research papers as they do for short stories. You need to tap your deeper wisdom regardless of the topic or purpose of what you’re writing. Yet most of our education about writing has to do with outlines, propositions and so forth. I’d like to see what would happen if teachers began incorporating “free writing”-the quick writing that you do automatically-into homework schedules. What would happen if students were encouraged and trained to tap their creative flow? If they had really interesting material to work with, then the left-brained part of it wouldn’t be such a chore. 

I can’t stress enough that you can trust this flow. You can trust it because it is merely raw material; it is not the finished product that you’re stuck with. Once you consider all your words raw material, you will be much freer to just write whatever comes. And you will also be much freer to do whatever you need to do with what comes. 


– from “The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing Life” by Vinita Hampton Wright Loyola Press