For me, it’s not really “writer’s block.” It’s more like a reluctance to apply the seat of my pants to the seat of my chair. Sound familiar? In his awesome book, The War of Art, Stephen Pressman nails it on (practically) the first page.
“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”
Whether you’re a writer, painter, or spreadsheet jockey, if Resistance is getting the better of you, Pressman’s short book is a must-read.
Here’s one way to overcome resistance that usually works for me. I wish I could credit whoever I got this from, but that’s been lost in the mists of memory. (If you know, please tell in the comments.)
OK, ready? Here goes.
Make a deal with yourself. Promise yourself that you will seriously tackle it — whatever you’re resisting — for just ten minutes. How hard can that be? I mean, you can endure anything for ten lousy minutes, right? (Except waterboarding, perhaps).
OK, grab your digital kitchen timer — a must-have tool for the productivity-minded. Set it for ten minutes. Now get going. Dig in and really give it your best shot. It’s only ten minutes, right?
When the timer goes off, if you’re still not into it, OK. Give up. Move on to something else. You did your part. You fulfilled your end of the bargain. You “win” (or lose, depending on how you look at it). Of course, if you’re like me, after ten minutes you’re back into it and (finally!) rolling again. You just needed a way to “trick” yourself into getting started. Congrats!
Try it and let me know how it works for you. And if you have a better way to get yourself started, by all means share it n the comments.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need a hit of Rolling Stones: “Start me up, start me up baby and I’ll never stop…”