It’s pretty funny.
I’ve been staring at this screen for about 30 minutes, knowing what I wanted to write, but not able to actually pick it up and begin.
That’s actually what I wanted to write you about, anyway.
What prevents most of us from getting any writing down, even and especially when we purposely set aside time, brew the coffee, flex your fingers, fire up the word processor…
And then… NOTHING!
It’s infuriating, I know. And there’s been so much written about relieving writer’s block by both myself here and here and others such as Julia Cameron in her outrageously excellent book The Right to Write.
What I wanted to bring your attention to is the OTHER side of the equation, the act of SITTING down to write!
Don’t you find it peculiar that when you really do your utmost to set yourself up to produce, you wind up sitting there, frustrated and coming up with nothing?
Perhaps it’s not so mysterious!
If sitting down frustrated seems oddly familiar, consider this.
Do you have memories of having sat down involuntarily, for instance:
- In school, sitting and agonizing over the clock apparently not moving at all… doing nothing.
- Sitting agonizingly long hours in detention if you did something ‘bad’ in school… doing nothing.
- Sitting down in church not understanding what it’s all about and just waiting to get out of there… doing nothing.
- Maybe someone even told you to ‘sit down and shut up!’ and you obliged and sat there fuming… doing nothing.
Sensing a pattern here, no?!
If any of that struck a chord, you’ve probably extended that experience later in life:
- In college, nodding off in class or skipping class whenever possible
- At work, waiting for the clock to hit 4 so you can buzz off
And so on. Is it any wonder we find it hard to sit down and accomplish anything!
Can you see how it all gave you the expectation that whenever you sit down on purpose, you’re not going to enjoy yourself and certainly not produce anything!
But enough of the problem, let’s see how you can actually FIX it!
There are two ways to fix this underlying writer’s dilemma:
- Get moving. Do anything that helps you get physical movement, because that will inevitably liberate your mind and create the mental movement you’re after! Go for a walk among natural beauty… row a boat… take a drive in your car… go for a swim… Anything that you genuinely, personally enjoy doing physically. That will help your unconscious unhinge itself and start working in unison with your conscious mind. In other words, you feel like you’re on track again.
- Get comfortable. This is why Starbucks makes a LOT of their money. People have this need to get into a place that feels friendly, sipping a beverage that makes them feel good, the interior is pleasant, nice music in the background, perhaps moody lighting… An experience that calms all the senses, giving your mind the okay-go-ahead signal to race on and get creative. Of course, you can do this in any other way that works for you: snuggle up to a sofa corner, sit by a crackling fireplace, a cup of hot chocolate… just give yourself the permission to be creative!
- Okay, there’s a third way too. It’s actually taking care of the underlying problem. That is, the unconscious linkages you have between sitting down and unpleasant experiences. There are many ways to do that, but one that works for me is simply writing down how it feels in as much detail as possible… then on another page, write a ‘reframed’ version of that experience so that it feels completely pleasant and normal and wonderful and helps your creativity… you get the idea.
You may not have thought of it before, but these underlying blockages (in this case, quite literally!) are destroying your otherwise excellent chances of writing great words, doing quality work, and generally getting things done.
It’s uncanny how this generation of sitting-down-workers are undermining themselves by not taking care of such basic requirements to getting quality work done.
It’s time you shake that ghost of the past, and finally reach your potential!
Until then… cheers, ta ta… and leave a comment! 😉