November 7, 2023
Note From Rochelle
As a writing coach, one of my gifts is helping people figure out why they are stuck. Often, writer’s come to me saying they’re blocked. But if you read my post last week, you know that writer’s block is almost always a symptom of something deeper.
In this month’s workshop on writer’s block, I’ll be sharing how I help people diagnose their own writer’s block. I’ll also offer examples of common reasons people are blocked and how to address those.
But that’s not all! My colleague, EFT expert Liesel Teversham, will be guiding you through a process that will help you to use EFT (tapping) when you are feeling emotions that prevent you from writing.
If you ever have felt blocked, procrastinate regularly, or experienced imposter syndrome, this workshop is for you. Learn more and sign up here: WRITER’S WORKSHOP
Today’s tip is about finding your genius time—one of the core practices I use to help me avoid writer’s block.
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Detect Your Genius Time
by Rochelle Melander
Find your best time of the day for writing and write. Don’t let anything else interfere. Afterwards it won’t matter to you that the kitchen is a mess. –Esther Freud
According to scientific research, our bodies peak for physical, social, and intellectual tasks at specific times of day. Researchers offer broad suggestions about when we do best at various activities. For example, many of us do well at intellectual tasks during the late morning while we excel at creativity in the evening when we are tired and more open to new ideas. But even scientists admit that peak working times are different for each of us. Though some people can be classified as early birds or night owls, many people don’t fit easily into any category.
This is where genius time comes in. Genius time is that part of the day when you are best able to work on your primary purpose. This quest will help you discover your genius time and the practices that support you in your creative process. My primary purpose is writing—and my genius time is mornings. That doesn’t mean I cannot write at other times of day it just means that I don’t write as easily in those hours. I don’t want to waste my mornings with email, social media, or meetings. I need to use those precious hours to write. But your primary purpose might be making art or coding computer games. When you examine your life, you might discover that your genius time is in the afternoon or just before bed or over the lunch hour. Your job is to protect and nurture your genius time no matter what happens. This multi-step quest will help you do just that.
Use your journal, datebook, an online app, or a combination of the three to complete this quest.
Step One: Map Your Energy
Review your most productive days. Map when youve performed like a genius at social, intellectual, creative, and physical tasks. Your genius time for each type of activity will probably be at different times of day.
If you find it difficult to recollect your best times for working on writing and other creative projects, that’s okay. During the next week or two, keep track of your tasks and performance. Throughout the day, list what you do. At the end of the day, review the list and note the type of task you were doing throughout the day (if it’s not immediately evident). After you have a complete list of what you accomplished, then record your energy level for each task. You can note your energy level with a simple + for engaged energy and a – for negative energy. Or, you can use terms like H (high), L (low), and M (medium).
Spend a week or two experimenting with working on your primary purpose at different parts of the day and recording your experience. Then review the results. When did you tend to be most productive as a writer? When did you tend to be most productive at other tasks? Can you build your time around these energy shifts?
Step Two: Choose and Schedule Your Project
What’s the one project you want to make progress on this week during your genius time? Maybe you want to work on your book, blog, or stories? Or perhaps you have a major business presentation coming up and you need to use your time to prepare for that. Choose one project to work on during your genius time.
Create a schedule for your week. If possible, match your one project to your intellectual and creative genius time. When I say schedule, I mean more than “think about it”—as in, I think I might write tomorrow after work. Note the following information in your calendar or journal:
- When will I work on this project?
- Where will I work? Is the setting conducive to what I need to do? Do I have what I need to get work done?
- What will I work on? Choose the chunk that you will work on each day—or at least for the first day in your schedule.
- How will I handle interruptions or distractions?What might interrupt your plan? How will you deal with that? How will you stick to your genius time when the kids are screaming or friends invite you out for drinks or a client needs you or you’re weary and just want to take a nap? Decide now.
Step Three: Honor Your Genius Time
Put that butt in your chair and work on your project. If something happens and you miss a day, forgive yourself. And show up again the next day.
Game Play Tips
- Solidify your plan to use your genius time for your creative work by repeating a mantra like: When I get home from work, I will write for 20 minutes on my nonfiction book.
- Set up your workspace ahead of time—like you might set the table for dinner—so that when it’s genius time, youll be ready to create.
- Throughout the day or the day before, imagine yourself in your space, successfully creating.
- It can help to schedule your other tasks according to your energy flow. Once you get used to this, you’ll never go back!
For the Win
It has taken me a long time to honor my genius time and NOT feel guilty. You may need to accept that you’re going to feel like a fraud when you tell people you cannot meet for a networking event because you are writing or creating. If it helps, don’t tell them what you’ll be doing. Just say: I’m in another meeting. And you are: with your muse.