Saturday Morning Chit Chat, Taboos and other Psychological Blocks or 9 Tips for Breaking Them.

Posted on August 10, 2013

9 Tips for breaking writers blockI’ve been struggling the last few weeks with writers block…well more like writers distraction.  If my Saturday posts were called Saturday Night chit chat I would have been fine. I just completed a ranty little post on sex and politics, but even I have to refrain from that kind of discussion first thing in the morning. I could have also shared my concerns over poor voter turnout, public disengagement, the unseemly relationship that sometimes exists between reporters and politicians and no I’m not skipping back to sex and politics, but you can see a certain theme emerging here. I have very definite political opinions, but I don’t see them as necessarily appropriate for public consumption or appetite. I have a taboo against writing too deeply on politics.

Taboos are interesting things.  I know that some taboos find their origins in religion or culture and they can be good and bad. Clearly having a cultural taboo against randomly killing people is a good thing, but having a cultural taboo against girls being educated, not so much. What about personal taboos? Those taboos whose origins are more individual in nature?  My own taboos around writing about politics is a good example.  I have strong opinions in this area and while I would freely give advice on how to engage and even that you should engage, I hesitate to go beyond that because it’s part of my job to work with governments.  Political people have a tendency towards paranoia (except people really are out to get them) and it’s easy to see yourself or your opponent in critical discussions, so I try to avoid misinterpretations by simply skipping those kinds of public exchanges. I also think that politics is one of the best dividers out there. Want to start a fight?  Strike up a conversation about politics and sooner or later you’ll find something to fight over.

So what do you do when you can’t seem to write about anything but the very subject you’re trying to ignore? Back to writers block. So what I’ve been doing is writing the issue out of my system posting them on a private blog.  I’ve also been exploring.  Looking at interesting blogs, articles and books in hopes that something  catches my attention. Right, everything has captured my attention.  There isn’t rabbit hole I haven’t jumped through. A point of inquiry I haven’t followed and still no useful posts.

So I finally ended up treating myself like a client.  I want my best advice on what to do to get past writers block. Here’s what I had to say.

1) Take a break. Step away from the project and do something else.  Give your mind an opportunity to rest or shift gears. Sometimes the harder you push for a solution, the further you get from finding an answer.

2) Create an Editorial calendar. Now would be a good time to create an editorial calendar if you don’t have one and to refresh your existing one if you do. With the fall coming people will be attending conferences and getting back into the swing of things.  What can you contribute that might help?

3) Turn off social media.  The internet can be an amazing distraction.  It may seem like a handy resource but it’s easy to get lost in all of the options it has to offer. Disconnect and see if that will help you to focus.

4) Get some alone time:  People are wonderful, but if you are having a hard time staying on task then they are like moving, noisy shiny distractions.

5) Find another creative outlet.  It’s obvious your mind is racing, so paint, garden, do something that gets the creative juices flowing but is unrelated to writing.

6) Do some physical exercise. The body and mind are connected.  If you have been solely focused on writing, whether it’s writing your blog or other pieces, then you haven’t been exercising. The movement will help you to think better.

7) Research some outstanding questions. Get the answers to questions that have been plaguing you.  What areas of communications, public relations or management would you like to learn more about?  Do the research and share your findings.

8)  Have a pretend conversation. Start writing as if you were having a chat with someone and see if the stream of consciousness that follows gets you going.

9) Ask others what they do to get their focus back.  The issue may be writing for you, but it’s really a focus challenge.  Find out how others have solved similar challenges and see if you can extrapolate from there to address your own challenge.

So, it’s Saturday morning and this blog post has been automatically posted because I am away at a cottage with no internet connections…I’m probably painting, but maybe I’ve gone for a walk with my husband to get a little exercise. I’ll write Tuesday’s blog in the car ride on my way back.  🙂

What do you do to get past writers block or other psychological hurdles?  I’d like to know…really!

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