Jordan Ogren

July 9, 2021

Inch by inch.

Looking at a blank page is terrifying.

No matter how much you write, it's debilitating. 

"Where do I start?" 
"How will I finish?" 
"What TF do I say?"

That's why I use the one-inch frame method.

It's simple and allows me to get something on the page while silencing those horrible voices.

Imagine you're a painter:

Instead of trying to paint the entire picture, you have in your mind, start with a one-inch frame.

Fill in that one-inch frame. That's all.

I got this idea from Anne Lamont's book, Bird by Bird:

"It reminds me that all I have to do is to write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame. This is all I have to bite off for the time being."

"All I am going to do right now, for example, is write that one paragraph that sets the story in my hometown, in the late fifties, when the trains were still running."

While she is speaking to authors, the same applies to business writers.

Want to tell the story of how you helped ACME company decrease downtimes on their servers? 

Fill in the one-inch picture frame: 
  • When did you help them?
  • Who did you help?
  • What benefits did they receive?

This method indirectly touches on a critical point of writing: You don't need your first draft to be coherent or perfect.

Write what I like to call a first ugly draft (FUD).

The point of the second draft is to rearrange the content to make a story.

When we want our first draft to be perfect and not shitty, we stall writing. 

We can't imagine writing what we see through the one-inch frame because it will result in a shitty and incoherent first draft.

Instead, we try to see the entire painting and paint. 

We either fall into the fear of creating a perfect first draft and do nothing, or we make something uglier than if we would have put together a FUD.

In the end, using the one-inch frame method helps get something on that blank page while leading to a better-finished product.

Isn't a great final product what we want? No one cares how you get there. 

Inch by inch, paint the picture.

🧠 // JO