10 days in a row. No pressure.
Yeah, right, who am I kidding? Of course, there is. It is my longest streak of consecutive posts. I am starting to get multiple likes and follows. I have to keep the momentum going. So what happens? I develop a case of writer’s block. Obviously not a terrible one because you are reading something today. Still, I did agonize slightly over what I should say.
My bad cases usually last for days, weeks, and sometimes even months. During them, I’ll pull up my writing, stare at it and figure I am going to do more damage if I do something rather than nothing. The causes are varied, but usually emotional in nature. Feeling inadequate or non-relevant are probably my two biggest block builders. They happen when I’ve read something and compared my work to that or someone has read my work and told me what I was doing wrong. The second one is worse than the first because it triggers my need to incorporate what I perceive as a new rule to add to my writer’s handbook and review everything that I’ve done based on this rule regardless, if the rule contradicts other rules. These contractions or having a case of writer’s block that goes on for a while can be frustrating. The more frustrated I feel, the tighter I lock up.
So how do I break the cycle? I use my IPod Touch. Things are slower on it. I can only type one fingered and it only has one screen. If I want to check my email I actually have to start the app. Skype isn’t even installed. Unlike my desktop, where both are active all the time and therefore can cause unwanted breaks in concentration with their announcements of new messages. Also, with my desktop, I’m faced with the choice of do I write or do I work on paying projects, play a game or watch Netflix? While I can do the last two on my IPod, they aren’t as fun.
IPod, in hand, I either bring up my writing app that connects to Dropbox and my book files or the WordPress app for writing in here. Working on a book from Dropbox versus Scrivener on the desktop is freedom in itself because I consider Scrivener the official home of my books whereas anything on Dropbox is temporary and any changes made there don’t have to be incorporated if I don’t want them to be. Once I figure out what I’m working on, books or blog, I then go real quiet and listen. Usually, within a few minutes, one of my characters or an idea will pop in my head and I just start writing. Then when I feel like I’ve written enough, I stop and let it stew until I can go back to my desktop where all the good tools for formatting and writing are. I finish there and lo and behold, I’m over my hump. For that day at least. There are sometimes I need to do this three or four times before I’m actually cured of my writer’s block. But, at least, while I’m subjecting myself to my cure, I’m been productive, instead of being frustrated and do nothing.
So my cure for writer’s block involves cutting the distractions, giving myself permission to think, and removing the pressure to perform. How do overcome yours?