Sunday, 21 August 2011

5 tips to bust writers block and procrastination - these work for me.

5 tips that bust writers block and procrastination

I've held onto these from lots of other blog posts like this.

Had them for so long, I can't even credit where they came from - thanks if they were from you, because they seem to work.

1. Go Somewhere Else.
Change the way you feel by changing your environment.

Get to a new place. Coffee shop, that local library you never visit, the kitchen, wherever. Do an hour somewhere else - chances are, you’ll end up staying longer.

2. Do Nothing Social For The First 60 Minutes.
First thing, when you start, no email, no facebook, no twitter, no listening to voicemails.

This is harder than it looks, and the only way to do it is to avoid looking. This is the most effective tip I’ve ever had - it means your day starts as yours. Those friendly messages are great, but none of them - not one of them - will help you get your stuff out of your head. So do that instead first, and have a look an hour later. They will still be there. The difference is, now your stuff is there too.

3. Five Minute Start
Agree to commit the next 5 minutes SOLELY to the task you can’t get started.

Just five minutes. This works.

4. Quiet Hours
Set regular Quiet Hours, where you won’t answer the phone, or email or instant messaging or anything.

For me, two hours is enough. But it’s pretty much the same two hours.
All the tipsters say let the world know and explain what you are doing, so they won’t bother you at those times. I don’t think this is necessary - just set the times, and deal with messages when you re-emerge - victorious that you at least gave yourself a distraction-free window.

5. Being The Mayor Of Whole Foods On Foursquare Isn’t Going To Make Your Idea Happen.

This is my favourite.
I’m not on Foursquare, but I guess it’s about what you do in the time where you ‘go under’. If you can be as obsessive about getting stuff out of your head and onto the page, as you can with an app or a game, that’s a great groove to be in.
(This tip was from here)

Now maybe try closing this window and doing that thing instead?

(unless you want to leave a COMMENT with your own tips for getting started?)

Engaging Kids Online: Maurice Wheeler at TEDxTransmedia 2012

- Why are children drawn to Facebook? What needs does it satisfy?

Here are the development stages:
Copy Cat

Role Player

Control Freak
- The world is scary - time to take control:
1 Collecting - match attacks - Club Penguin puffles
2 Nurturing - pets - Moshi Monsters
3 Customising - changing how bedroom looks - stickers - Habbo Hotel

Tribal Sharer (8/9/10 yrs)
- How you fit in:
1 Badging - facebook
2 Communication - bbm messaging
3 Peer Comparison (competition, or body image) - gaming

Identity Explorer
- Testing new identities:
(eg different circles of friends at guides, church or gym)
Different personalities on different social networks

Confident Consumer

What's also cool about the above is that we don't fully grow out of the stages...

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  1. Easy. I choose ONE peice of music to work by. Press play on that music and like Pavlov's dog, you will instantly associate it with work and will work. You won't be able to help yourself. It's your trigger. For sanity sake, change the choice of music occasionally (or not).

  2. THANKS notgoliath -

    Are you brave enough to share which piece of music has been the best trigger for you?

    (Mine is Aloe Blacc "I Need A Dollar"...)


  3. Five months later, Seth Godin suggests point 2 from a different more eloquent angle here

    "You've just surrendered not only a block of time but your freshest, best chance to start something new.

    If you're a tech company or a marketer, your goal is to be the first thing people do when they start their day. If you're an artist, a leader or someone seeking to make a difference, the first thing you do should be to lay tracks to accomplish your goals, not to hear how others have reacted/responded/insisted to what happened yesterday."

  4. Theres one single big failsafe idea for procrasti-busting here on Phill Barron's blog - great story!

  5. Or you can procrastinate a little by reading this book:

    Still after spending a long time reading it, I ended up procrastinating a little, tiny, bit less.

  6. See also 20 Practical ways to kick fear in the butt...

  7. I am writing with a 16 month toddler with ADHD. I am serious. Yhis isn't just excitable toddler syndrome. The little dude has the attention span of a gnat...just like his mummy. Any tips??

    1. Hi Margot! Congratulations! Feeling like a 16 month toddler with ADHD, myself, I am an expert.

      I have to write out what needs to be done, then literally break that down into the components for that thing. Like instead of "write opening para". I'd have a list that reads something like "Find the document you were working on yesterday", "Open the document [doc name here], and save it with todays date" "Read the opening para - just read it - all you've got to do is read it." "Write out everything you hate about that para". etc.

      It's like writing out the procrastination in real time.

      And sure enough, like a sulky teenager, I start to rebel against THAT chore and magically solutions appear on the page as I thump around and do the written equivalent of slamming doors.

      The other way is to just write a page of rubbish. Deliberate willful rubbish where you empty your head and moan about how terrible you are as a writer. Again, in rebelling against that, stuff always appears against my wishes.

      Its forcing myself to do that which is the hard part.

      Failing that, down a delicious bottle of baby calpol for yourself.

      Hope this helps - thanks for the message!



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