First, I do not give credit to or believe in “writer’s block.” There is no such thing, but we have to call the conditions of sabotaging ourselves something I suppose. I don’t care for the term myself because it deflects responsibility to this mysterious entity. There isn’t a monster hiding behind our typewriters, just like there isn’t an angelic muse hovering over our shoulders.
We come up with the ideas. We execute them. We stall ourselves. We have our very own Goal, Motivation, and Conflict just like our characters.
I can’t tell myself that I don’t have time to write. Anyone can make time to write every day even if it is for a few moments stolen here and there through the day. So, chunk that one down the garbage disposal. Short of hardware issues and a massive shortage of pen and paper, there are no real external excuses that are valid.
There are times when we let life get to us. I’m going through bits of this myself at the moment which is one reason why I am writing this post. From my own personal experience, I’d guess that external situations such as stress with family or a job, impact us on the internal level. While external issues can’t be discounted, we internalize them. We react. The way we deal with those external factors is what matters.
I can’t dissect what is impacting you, but I can say that if you know yourself you can diagnose your underlying issue. Personally, I am an introvert. I need a good amount of alone time to recharge and when I get stressed I withdraw. Normally, I do well with deadlines, obligations, and goals. Add in some stress factors to my happy life and I shut down. I go to the other extreme of slacking in an attempt to get my alone time back.
Since I know this about myself and have witnessed it unfolding before my eyes, I can work in ways to adapt.
My house is always occupied lately. That tends to happen with a 9 year old, two cats, and a forever fiancé living under the same roof. So, I plan on redefining alone time by relocating myself outside the home. A change of scenery. This can cure a lot of different issues.
I’m reinforcing my motivation by posting my goals in our hallways. My greatest supporter happens to be my forever fiancé, so sharing the goals with him will help. It happens that to coordinate all of our lives is requiring a combined schedule that I post every week. I have a monthly schedule right alongside of the weekly one and my deadlines are on it. As I mark off the days, my deadline looms on the horizon. I am very conscious of it.
I remind myself of what makes writing enjoyable for me. I make my environment as pleasant as I possibly can. I reward myself with down time when I meet my goals. I love the show Vikings, so I don’t allow myself to watch it until I have my word counts or time done. When that series is over, I’ll have to substitute it with something else.
I’m bugging the hell out of my writing friends. Telling them of my situation and about the current projects. These people helped me through writing and getting published, so if needed they’ll drag me through this one way or another. A good support system is irreplaceable for me.
There are all kinds of ways to tweak your life and your response to get things going again.
Internal Conflicts for us though, in my opinion, are all rooted in fear. Fear of something. Self-doubt, fear of the hard work it takes to bring a story to completion, fear of the commitment, fear of failing, or whatever.
Find out what you put in your own path to finishing your story and kill it. Brutally with no apologies.
Next post on this series will be all the different ways you can kill your conflicts.
Check out Story Medic’s posts on similar topics as we discuss our completely different writing processes. Plus, he’s given his site an overhaul. It looks great!
Writing Process 1: Braining Storming
Writing Process 2: A Dedicated Space
Writing Process 3: Outlinging