There is a classic scene from the Laurel and Hardy movie "Men O' War" where they try to impress a couple of ladies but can't afford to both have a drink. After the usual hilarity, they buy one to share and Ollie lets Stan go first. Stan raises the glass and proceeds to drink the whole lot. When asked why he did it he replies "I couldn't help it... My half was on the bottom."
We want our words to be meaningful, we want them to make a difference but are paralysed by the fear of mediocrity, of failure. We are scared to write 500 words of rubbish in order to reach a 20 word epiphany.
We are afraid it won't be worth it.
We can't help it.
Just like needing to drink the top half of a glass to get to what's below we sometimes have to write those 500 words before the 20 we wanted to write reveal themselves.
But it is the fear that holds us back.
The Writing Paradox was a case in point. After spending two months agonising over how I was going to write about the relative merits of pen and paper versus keyboards I just decided to go with what I had; the closing paragraphs became manifest, unbidden. The direction was never my intention, but it worked: epiphany.
When fear stops, magic starts.