How is it that you can plan your entirely productive writing life at 3am in the morning, feel the flow of energy that you will pour into your day and then when the day begins, you stop and do something else.
Chores you hate because you don't really deserve to do something you enjoy until you've got some of the 'real' work done.
|Waiting for inspiration to arrive - or the postman?|
I think some of it is fear. That you'll start the regime you imagined and it will all dissolve. So you don't start. Or fear that you'll start and get into it, really get work done and be interrupted again and again until it all explodes in frustration.
But I also think some of it is excitement, ironically. Postponing the excitement of getting into your work in case the writing doesn't go well. This is really a rookie one - I'm forever telling students you have to be prepared to write crap too; at least then it's out of your head and might free up better work. But it's not always easy - until you get those fingers writing.
For me, it is all of this and also the muddle and the ambition and the wanting to be at the finish line already and the worrying that I'm wasting time, so much time and have wasted more already.
At the back of my head, I know if I could start and work consistently, I would make progress and I will.
First step: I will put my phone on aeroplane mode and turn off every app on the computer - Facebook, Gmail, Messenger. If I don't need to work on the computer, I'll take my notebook or pages to edit somewhere else.
Second step: I'll pocket my time into small segments with achievable goals and then it will be easier. This, for me, on days when the mojo is hiding under the sofa playing with turnwheels of dust, is the key: tiny achievable amounts of work, listed on a page broken into segments for each piece of material or area of work I need to progress.
Third step: Start now.
There's an entire chapter in my screenwriting book, Write That Script, on productivity tips, which are really anti-procrastination tools. I did this because of the number of days and weeks when I can feel I am making no progress with any of my works-in-hand, be it writing or attempting to market myself or my books.
The longer these spells continue, the harder it is to break the spell. I don't see it as writer's block so much as writer's mud mixed with sinking sand, some heavy squalls of rain and wind and a muddled, distracted, increasingly frustrated and blue mind and mood.
But it can be moved on from, one tiny step at a time.
Tiny pieces of work. Achievable. Ten minutes at a time.
One word following the next.
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