So I was writing the other day, and then I stopped.
When I thought about why – actually, I procrastinated for half a day, scrubbed the kitchen benches, ate lots of inappropriate food, did huge amounts of laundry that could have waited and stopped just short of vacuuming the dog – I realised that I’d gotten caught up in writing for particular people, rather than writing what I had inside, needing to get out.
When this happens, writing doesn’t come easily, or as a pleasure. It’s hard. It’s all in my head, filtered through judgements I’m attributing to imaginary people, and that is a prime killer for someone who wants to write from their soul.
Does this happen to you? Want to know what to do about it? Well, I have a few steps, from my own experience.
Firstly: Give Up.
Yes, you heard me: give up.
Give up writing for a little while. Call it your reset time. Decide that for the rest of the day, you’re not writing. Perhaps you need more time than that. Whatever is right for you, just decide that there is a block of time, right now, when you’re not writing.
Because you need to detox and get some distance from the toxicity of creating judgement in your own head. Save it for the editing process!
Commit to not writing for a period of time of your choosing.
Now: Find something completely different to do. Me? I went and took a ballet class after a break of 8 years. It was awesome! Got me straight out of my head, out of my comfort zone, and I didn’t even think of writing for a whole couple of hours. You may want to do something entirely different to me (ballet is not for everyone…): a luxurious bath, a ramble around the neighbourhood, going out, socialising, rollerskating, archery. Anything at all, as long as it doesn’t involve writing!
Just make sure you do something you enjoy before you next sit down to write.
And then: Sit down to write. Do your pre-writing ritual, or create one. Close your eyes and breathe, come into your body. Acknowledge that you’re going to write, whilst keeping judgement at bay. Make peace wtih the idea of editing later. No matter how big the mess, it’s still easier to edit it if it’s on the page!
Works for me, so I thought I’d share. Do you get jammed up thinking about your audience?