“You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or — worst of all — ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
When we procrastinate, there’s often underlying fear at work. Are you writing a book? Developing a new product or service? The bigger your leap, the stronger the fear.
Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert knows it all too well, as she writes in Big Magic. …
18 months ago, I broke down. I sat on a train on my way to work as a university lecturer, and suddenly my heart started racing. It went faster and faster, then it skipped a few beats, and raced again. My breath became shallow and urgent. I felt dizzy. I looked around but no one else seemed to notice that something was wrong. Then the terrifying thoughts started:
I’m all alone! Am I having a heart attack? I need to get out of here!
I know now that I had a panic attack.
It was the first one of many…
“Rest and relaxation are part of creativity.” — Joanna Penn, Productivity for Authors
As a writer, I often search for productivity tips — how can I write more, more, more? Have you ever tried to stay in the writing flow, afraid to jinx it?
The problem is, once you reach a certain point, writing without breaks will backfire. You will start working slower, get frustrated, and try to push through when your body and mind are long exhausted.
What you really need is regular recovery time.
“Without a strong, specific commitment, you might not have the motivation to even begin.” — Dan Sullivan, The 4 C’s Formula
I’ve been blocked about my book for the last six weeks. Instead of writing my chapters, I focused on coaching other writers, taking online classes, and writing my newsletter. I kept telling people that I’m writing a book, but I wasn’t really writing.
I wasn’t fully committed.
Business coach Dan Sullivan explains in The 4 C’s Formula that commitment is the first step to starting a project and following it through. …
How often have you sat at your computer staring at the blank page? Do you keep looking for new apps and hacks against writers’ block? Do you wonder why these tricks never help in the long run?
We focus too much on quick solutions. Often, it’s not the app itself, but the novelty effect that does the trick. But soon enough it wears off — and we procrastinate again. We start wasting even more time to find another productivity hack.
You can break this pattern by understanding your own writers’ block — and taking the right action.
After 20 years…
“The brain is a storytelling machine. But it needs to know the start and the ending.” — Steven Kotler, on the Kwick Brain Podcast (#48)
No matter if you write fiction, non-fiction, or academic articles — if you haven’t thought it through, you will struggle. How can the brain write what it doesn’t know?
The easiest way to diagnose if you need to step away and think is to try and finish this prompt:
The purpose of my next paragraph is to show that ___ . Here are the three points I’m going to make in my chapter ____.
As a writer, you want to design a schedule that works for you. But many writers struggle to find the best way of writing, or they don’t schedule writing at all. At the end of the month, they wonder why they haven’t gotten any writing done, or why they feel unproductive most of the time.
The first step towards designing a great writing schedule is to understand what writer type you are.
You block out time for writing sprints ahead of time, filling them in on your calendar week by week. You tend to write for 30–90minutes (‘snack’ writing). It…
“Procrastination is a very powerful signal telling you that it’s time to get another Who involved. You’re stuck. You need help. The question is: Will you find that help or just sit by yourself?”
- Dan Sullivan & Benjamin Hardy, Who Not How
As writers, we’re used to working alone. Everything depends on us. Our mindset, our writing routines, our time. In fact, isolation can be crippling.
But what if we don’t have to shoulder it alone? What if there are people who can give us perspective, cheer us on, and push us to reach higher writing goals? …
How do we write with kids in the house? How can we focus and keep them happy at the same time?
I am writing this article while my kids are self-isolating. My partner is ‘on duty’. My older child, 7, has just run upstairs slamming her door. I resisted leaving my desk to ask what happened. I also resisted being angry at my partner for not keeping her quiet (I was less successful at that). Ten minutes later, my younger one, almost 4, sits fake-crying outside my door. I keep it shut and put on my headphones. I know my…
Many writers worry that they might not keep up their momentum after a day off, a long weekend, or a holiday. Won’t it take forever to re-start after a break? Shouldn’t we take some work with us, just in case?
Below are two steps that allow you to fully let go and enjoy your writing break guilt-free: (1) completion mindset, and (2) letting go. They take about 30 minutes and should be done at least one day before your break starts.
I’m using these myself on Fridays, and I work through them with my coaching clients whenever they take a…