Writer's block happens for many reasons, but fear of reader judgement is a big one. To overcome this, write your first draft for no one but yourself.
Picture: Ed Yourdon/Flickr
In the New Writer's Handbook, Erica Jong explains:
All writing problems are psychological problems. Blocks usually stem from the fear of being judged. If you imagine the world listening, you'll never write a line. That's why privacy is so important. You should write first drafts as if they will never be shown to anyone.
Since reading this quote, I've taken the advice, and it's helped tremendously. It's a lot easier to get started and actually produce something when I'm not worried about how my writing will be nitpicked.
It also helps to remember I'll be allowed to consider reader judgement during the second draft. When I edit, I do imagine how the reader will perceive the text. The first draft, though, is just for me.
Check out the book itself at the link below.