November 15, 2022
Feeling Stuck? How to Write No Matter What
By Rochelle Melander
Lately, several clients have mentioned to me that they’re having difficulty getting to their writing. It’s not that they don’t want to write—they do. They all have projects that they care about. But they’re procrastinating. Or, they’re distracted, frustrated, and tired.
Here are my tips for dealing with common writing obstacles.
When you procrastinate, try: Temptation Bundling
Temptation bundling combines a treat with a task you procrastinate. When I was first trying to make exercise a habit, I bundled my favorite soap opera with time on the bicycle. If I didn’t cycle, I didn’t watch. One writer I know allows herself to indulge in her favorite treat, a Pumpkin Latte, only when she’s writing. You might save your favorite playlist for your writing time. (More info)
When you are distracted and unfocused, try: Using a Timer
I’ve noticed that I can often get more done when I have just an hour to write than when I have all morning. What’s that about? With just an hour, I work fast and furiously. With no deadline, I procrastinate. I get distracted. I play online. Turn off the internet, set a timer for 20-45 minutes, and write. The timer will act as a tiny deadline—and you’ll get much more done!
When you’re frozen by dread, doubt, or fear, try: The Countdown
Mel Robbins made popular “The Five-Second Rule.” She said, “If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.” Count down from five to one—and then MOVE. You can use this same tool to get started on your writing. The minute you have a thought—or when it’s time to show up and write—count down!
When you need accountability, try: Writing with Friends
National Novel Writing Month provides community for lonely writers. We can join write-ins at libraries and coffee shops and suddenly writing feels fun again. One of my clients was struggling to write newsletters for his business. He found a colleague who would meet with him once a month for a writing morning. The two met at a local library—and by the end of the morning, they’d written their content. How would co-writing help you?
When you’re discouraged or tired, try: Playing with Words
When writing feels like work and has lost all of its joy—then it’s time to just play. Stop worrying about creating something you can sell or even show to others. Instead, play with words. Write to a prompt. Play with a new form of writing. Try creating a found poem from newspaper and magazine headlines.
Your turn: How do you get yourself moving when you’ve lost your mojo? Leave your comments below.