You know who you are. You’re a writer! Procrastination is part of our daily ritual. You sit down to write, blank page taunting you and the to-do list begins to dance around in your head. You keep looking at the phone hoping someone will call, or you stare at the clock hoping that appointment will arrive sooner. Surely the grass needs mowing! We all love writing. It has to be love if we repeatedly expose our deepest vulnerabilities on the page. This vulnerability is also the reason why we will find just about any reason to avoid it. What if what I write today sucks? I have no ideas today, only crickets chirping. I am uninspired. If this sounds familiar, then read on. If not, congratulations and I would love to hear from you on how you were able to silence those voices once and for all!
1. Acknowledge and Accept Where you are Right Now
One thing we learn in yoga is to acknowledge and accept where we are in the moment. The sensations in our hip flexors, the anger and frustration bubbling up from the guy who cut us off on the way to yoga. This can be used when we sit down to write. Take a couple big belly breaths as the blank page beckons you or mocks you (whatever the case may be) and just notice what you are feeling right now. Once the feeling of vulnerability or boredom or fear is acknowledged we can begin to open up that space in our mind for more imagination.
2. Turn off the Internal Editor
If you know you are a critic of your own work, or that your page fills up with scratches and strikethroughs, use your intention to turn this part of yourself off. There is always time to go back and edit. The first step is to allow the words to flow on the page. Tell your inner-editor to go make you a cup of tea in your mind’s eye or some other task that is useful.
3. Write about your Current Surroundings
Some days we can approach the page without a thought to commit to it. It feels like a chorus of crickets have infiltrated our mind and we have nothing to say at all. The fear that the page will stay blank or that we will have nothing worth saying keeps us from doing our important work. Conquer this by writing about what is happening outside of your window right now. Write about the sounds in your house or the coffee shop in which you are sitting or write a list of thoughts that are bouncing around in your brain. You will be surprised by where this leads you.
4. Write $#*!
Release the need to be the next Timothy Findley or Alice Munro. Set aside a time each week or more if needed to just write garbage. Be boring! Be cliché! Be redundant! All of those words that make writer’s cringe, all of those things we are taught not to do, give yourself license to do as much of it as you can! This will overcome any resistance to being imperfect or “wrong” and you may discover you are not as bad of a writer as you think!
5. Sometimes you Just Have to Force It.
Sometimes you just have to force yourself to write. Make it a daily habit and it will get easier. The more you write, the more you will want to. Make a delicious cup of tea or leave your house to write at a library or a coffee shop to avoid distraction, turn the electronics off and just write. I know you can!
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