The FBR Rule to Overcoming Writer’s Block

Quick Tips, Resources

Quick Tip

When writing the first draft of anything, employ the FBR mantra. Remember that whatever you’re writing right now is going to be Fast, Bad, and (w)Rong (Poetic license here, FBR rolls off the tongue easier than FBW).


If you follow the FBR rule when writing, you allow yourself to put down all ideas on paper (or on screen) without correcting typos or going back to rephrase what you’re saying. Without interrupting yourself to edit, you’re able to enter into your writing zone. Without holding yourself back and second-guessing yourself, you allow yourself to be more creative and let the ideas flow. This gets most of your thoughts on paper and gives you something tangible to work with. Any corrections and polishing can be done in the editing state. 


Maintaining a blog means a lot of writing. A lot! And the first drafts of most of my posts are written following the FBR rule. Once I’ve got the material on paper, it will take me a couple of rounds of editing to get it to a publishable state. But the hard part of actually writing the article is done. 

I use the same method when writing most things for someone else – reports, opinions, explanatory emails, what have you.

This method is used by Safi Bahcall, author of Loonshots, How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases. and Transform Industries

How to implement it

Very simply, just start writing. Turn off your word processor’s spell check and grammar check and write down your thoughts as they come to you. If you’re unsure of a fact, put in a space-holder and carry on. You can look it up later. If you see yourself making grammatical and spelling errors, ignore them as best as possible and keep writing. If it helps, stick a post-it note on your screen with FBR written on it to remind you to follow the rule. In Bahcall’s words:

Write fast, write bad, and write wrong—no going backward to fix the grammar or vocabulary. Don’t remember a person’s name? Make it up. The date of an event ? Invent it. Keep moving forward. Valuable energy is lost by moving between creation and fact-checking. Making it good and right is a job for another time. That liberates you to follow the narrative thread and just keep going with it. It’s really surprising where it goes.

I’m still trying to perfect this method – but every time I remind myself of this rule, I get back into the flow of writing. I’ll admit, it’s uncomfortable. We’re used to being perfectionists and getting things right that putting out a first draft that’s FBR goes against our very nature.

Of course, the first draft isn’t meant to be shared – it’s the starting point. Once you have the first draft down, you will need to edit it. But now you can focus on the editing function without interrupting your creative flow. 


Please share this article with your social network if you found it helpful in any way. Thank you!


1 Comment

  1. Cristina

    I have experienced writer’s block more times than I would like to admit! Sometimes it really can be such a struggle, so thank you for posting this tip! I will definitely try it out against the next block 🙂


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