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Breaking Down Writer’s Block

27/05/2011

(First of all, I have to say that I am LOVING the WordPress updates, especially my introduction to full-screen mode — it really is a distraction-free way to write.)

Lately I’ve been feeling an extreme case of writer’s block, the major cause of which is the ever-present “List of Things to Do Besides Writing and Excuses Not to Write” (the title needs work). We all have that list, written down or saved to our smartphones or just looming in the forefront of our minds: meals must be made, children cared for (not that I have this particular list item yet), bills paid and other responsibilities fulfilled. Let’s not forget the other excuses as well: Family Guy is on, coffee time with the best friend is calling, and I should really make the effort to go to the gym.

Okay, okay, it’s not like I’ve actually made it to the gym — that list is good for putting off a lot of things…

At any rate, I feel like the need to write has been building up inside of me and without an outlet for all of my thoughts and observations I think my head may explode — well, mine or my fiance’s, since in lieu of writing I’ve taken to babbling at him about whatever crosses my mind. And still, despite the desire that is almost an ache, this is the first time I’ve sat down to write anything not work-related in more than a week…except for that letter I wrote to Josh. Can’t discount the power of handwritten correspondence!

Sitting here, it’s easy to understand why so many great writers are never discovered or published. They get caught in the undertow of everything else going on in this Great Big World and by the time it comes to write, they are wiped out from the stimulation. There’s so much to write about, and so little, and like eating one’s vegetables the idea of sitting down and going through the healthy exercise of letting everything out just seems like too much.

There is one underlying (or overarching) reason that my List gets in the way of my writing, and maybe you have the same problem: poor time management. Don’t get me wrong; in a professional setting I’m great at keeping track of what needs to be done and by when, and prioritizing tasks so that everything is done well. I keep appointments and am prepared for them 99.9% of the time. My time management breaks down, however, in my personal life. I think to myself, how can I juggle keeping house with planning a wedding and realizing my ultimate dream of starting my own wedding planning business, then balance all that with family and friends, snuggle time with FH, and reading and writing?

I wish, as I continue the inner monologue, that the hours of the day went on as long as I needed them, and that I felt strong enough and motivated enough to make full use of every single one of them instead of just feeling overwhelmed.

Well, writers and those who love them, it’s time to snap out of it — and here’s how I’m going to do it.

  • First, I’m putting the list to paper. Everything that I have to do, want to do, and think I have to or want to do is going on the list.
  • Next comes a long, hard look at the list. What is truly important and what can I let go?
  • After that, it’s time to put a plan in motion. In order to knock down the wall between my thoughts and my writing, I have to have a dedicated time and space in which to write.

The time to start is now; after all, The Knot tells me that I have 400 days until my wedding, and I hear that life doesn’t get any easier after you say “I do.”

Thoughts to try on: What’s your biggest cause of writer’s block? How are you standing in your own way, and what can you do to change that behavior today? And what in your life can you afford to just let go?

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