Move out of Paralysis and into Production
I used to have this print hanging above my desk. It was a visual representation of writers block—namely, the word “writers” written a thousand or so times, all stacked in neat parallel rows until it took on a physical block shape. An ex-boyfriend had hung it there, his attempt at poking fun at a real part of writing for a living: those times when you stare at the screen willing your fingers to type but nothing comes out. Maybe it comes in fits and starts. Maybe it doesn’t come at all, and you start to blink in time with the cursor on the blank page. Your mouth partakes in another form of cursing altogether.
When your writing is your job, it wreaks its own special brand of havoc, this devil we call writers block. How did it get there? Why now? Why me? Personally, I don’t think trying to analyze the beast gets you anywhere. When I want to make a change, I’m much more of an action girl myself, trying any number of things until I get to the desired result (or die, whichever comes first).
When you run an online business—or even an offline one—, you face a choice in your marketing: Do I or do I not want to (gulp) blog? You weigh the pros and cons. It’s great for SEO. It’s a time suck. I can paint myself as an expert. Ugh, but what about internet haters and their nasty, incessant trolling? What will I talk about? What if I’m—dare I say it?—boring? Shouldn’t I be focusing on helping my customers? Who is going to read this anyway? And what will people think when they do?
Question after question pops up in your mind around this idea of blogging. Heck, even if you’re already blogging regularly, you’re not safe. It’s a full on tornado swirling around up there in your brain…until it’s time to write. Then poof, it’s as flat as Kansas. Where did the brain activity go? You swear it used to be here, but it’s like you’ve become mute.
And when this happens, you can ignore all of those other questions you’ve been pondering because there’s really only one that matters: How do I fix it?
Over the years, I’ve tried numerous things to get over writers block: EFT (or “tapping.” If you haven’t heard of this, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Nick Ortner’s book The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living), followed by a slow and methodical act like chopping vegetables or washing dishes. Taking a walk or going for a run are also classic choices as is taking an invigorating shower or luxurious, hot bubble bath.
The thing about writers block that’s so tricky is that a lot of the time, sitting down and forcing yourself to power through can simply exacerbate the situation. (Those Taoists were onto something.) You can lead a horse to water and all that jazz. The best way that I know to move through writers block is to move through something else instead.
So when it creeps up (and it will), you have my complete permission to walk away from the computer and do another thing. Send that energy elsewhere, anywhere. The only prerequisite is that you deeply immerse yourself in that thing, whether it’s weeding the garden or taking a cat nap. Focus on it. Be all in. And when you finish, head back to that keyword and see what comes out. My guess is that you will have loosened up the garbage that was blocking your writing enough to let the light in.
You can read more from Lauren Vanessa Zink – The Top 10 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Business Blog inside Issue 11 of the Business Rocks Magazine.