Deciding to Push

Today I’m documenting an episode of ‘writer’s block’ I experienced. I hear all writers experience this obstacle at one time or another. Some writers fight it and others let it control their output choosing to believe that it’s just not a good day to write. Blame the Muse. Or the weather. Or bad digestion.

Writer’s block, to me, seems to be another word for procrastination, but whatever you choose to call it, fighting it seems to be the best option otherwise something else (fear, laziness, lack of desire?) is controlling my production or more, poetically, my freedom to express myself. Some fiction writers I know won’t force themselves to write when they feel uninspired but I think they are missing out on the big payback that pushing on can deliver.

When you’re writing business materials, however, you don’t really have a choice but to produce or face unpleasant consequences. In either situation, I think that pushing past whatever obstacle (feelings, the to-do list, the distractions) is going to render potentially superior prose. It’s like choosing to take the mountainous path because you know it’s going to sculpt those muscles with the challenge and improve your health versus taking the flat route which will be more pleasant but not offer any big long term benefits. Here’s my experience this past Monday.

The first couple of paragraphs flowed pretty easily but now I’m fighting the desire to escape.  I am absolutely itching to get out of this chair. Is this fear holding me back from achieving what needs to be done today? The classical guitar music I usually find soothing is grating on my nerves. For about a half an hour I stare at two panels of Word documents willing them to meld and make sense out of the chaotic swirl of thoughts strewn across the pages. I can do this. I want to do this. Ok, I really just want to run. Or check Facebook. Again. Should I tweet this?

Sticking with it. Breathing. It actually hurts. Just putting down some words that make some sense until the composition starts flowing more naturally. Now deeply in the moment. Many pages written and I’ve hit a difficult spot again. Urge to delay, procrastinate, write emails, Facebook-stalk old boyfriends. Consciously resisting and then, getting back to work. Determined to spew dreck instead of producing nothing in order to push through to some really good stuff.

Ok, that push did produce some coherent prose and now I’m going to take a little break to rest my brain and return refreshed. No computer for at least half an hour. I continued like for most of the day (on for 30 minutes, off for 30 minutes) and I wrote a large chunk of the e-book that I’m working on. Still behind the 8-ball but definitely moving forward. Tired but I may return to the manuscript later after some family obligations are met. It’s pretty cool that the task does not feel quite so intimidating now that I have pushed through and forced myself to write. And this is only the first draft…Good thing I love writing.

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