We forget to create first, and evaluate later. We can’t drive a car in first gear and reverse at the same time. Likewise, when we mix different types of thinking, we strip our mental gears.

Creating means generating new ideas, visualizing, looking ahead, considering the possibilities. Evaluating means analyzing and judging, picking apart ideas and sorting them into piles of good and bad, useful and useless.

Most of us highjack our writing attempts and other creative endeavors because we evaluate and edit too soon and too often, and therefore create less. In order to create more and better ideas, you must separate creation from evaluation, coming up with lots of ideas first, then judging their worth later.

For instance, write or brainstorm, even for a short amount of time, say 10 or 20 minutes without stopping. Then let what you’ve written rest, even for a day or so. Write, then get away in your hammock (or other favorite place) and let your mind rest. Then another time separate from creating, work on the editing and refining process. Order a copy of Celebrating Women’s Voices for a variety of topics to get started writing.