A short discussion on Twitter got me to write this article about writers block and procrastination. I’ve found that the same techniques can be applied to both really and these are my opinions on things that work for me, they might not work for you.
The biggest obstacle is that big obstacle.
Procrastination causes procrastination because of the sheer size of the object that needs tackling. Everything can be broken down into smaller parts though. The key for me is to get some momentum going again by doing something quick and small and getting an almost instant reward. Buoyed by that, start tackling other bits until the bits get bigger and that large object of tasks starts getting smaller. Eventually you’ll have enough momentum going to take on the core piece which is still weighty but you can take it on by then.
Writing is like this too. Forget the big long essay or thought-piece. Pick a subject and give a quick summary of it. Do the same for a few more subjects. Short snappy comments. After a while you’ll not be happy with the shortness of those and off you’ll go on a riff and a riff from that riff. Many of the longer blog posts I’ve written started off as a single sentence comment from a Fluffy Link but I found I couldn’t stop after that first sentence. Funnily once you get that long piece done you have enough positive energy and momentum going that you want to write more and more.
Do not plan your attack too much.
Planning is a trap there in itself. You’ll put all your thoughts and energies into planning how to tackle the obstacle insteading of shaving pieces off it and then you run out of time. Study is the classic one. How many people who put off their study started off by cleaning their room? After the room is cleaned then comes sorting all the notes into nice sections. It’ll make the study easier certainly when you eventually get around to it but that pile of notes will sort itself eventually if you dive in to tackling one subject head on straight away.
Well that works for me. I don’t have a step three or four or five. What works for you?