I have often found myself sitting and staring at my blank word page, Grammarly, my website, Medium, and just about any platform for writing and creating. It is pretty evident as I keep thinking while punching the damn keys. Some thoughts will stop you from writing, and then you have to fight back.
Are we not supposed to write and write and then write some more. Perhaps the time varies as to how much you can devote depending on your schedule. What remains constant is your love for writing and frequent bouts of the overworked head.
I do a 9 to 5 job (who said 9 to 5) if only it is as they say. It is a cliche that has struck a chord with people like us (almost all) who work regular jobs and then curse life and everything else on weekends when drinking. I’d say it would take around the same energy and commitment to change things that it takes us to rant and crib. Ya, call me Saturday, and you get a mouthful about my job and life and blah blah blah.
The more we blah blah blah, the lesser things change.
Oh, I digressed. You see, the thought chain I made and then went off. A classic example of how our thoughts are. One to another, and then you are off to some other work. It took my meeting invite reminder that is due in 15 minutes to bring me back to the actual thing here; the thoughts that stop us from writing.
Imagine how I drifted midway writing an article. Quite a possibility then to sit and only think and do nothing. It happens all the time with us. Once I could not create for a week or more, fearing I am not good enough. See, two reasons here; fear and self-doubt. The meeting stretched, so technically it also prevented me from writing. The thing with office calls is they never end when they end. The real work begins post discussion. In my case, it took a whole day to figure out the time slot to write again on my beloved laptop that tends to heat up. Perhaps, it is a way of showing discomfort.
We have a plethora of ideas inside our heads, and they stay there for the most part due to inaction.
The radical, riskiest, or maybe controversial are the easier ones to hold back, and we sleep on it. I always felt creative while thinking about them, but they slowly and surely faced a solitary death when nothing creative spills out of them. They were just there without adding any value. No life changed, and not a soul could move.
Do any of the following reasons for not creating sound familiar to you?
The idea is not perfect
Post brainstorming all the possible reasons and why a struggle converts into a real doldrum is because fear triumphs above all.
If there is a ticking meter for keeping a tab on the primary reason, this would be it. The biggest reason my ideas live comfortably up in my head is the fear that they might not be good, unusual, or unique for the reader out there.
You may not be a wimp, but fear knows no boundaries. While we can be sure about our abilities and skill to deliver, execution is a constraint time and again.
Sometimes our ideas fade away while all we had to do was; execute. Your idea needn’t be flawless, revolutionary, or even original. All it needs is to see the light of the day. Once it is on paper, you can play around and improvise as you wish.
I’d say that a written piece is way better than an undelivered revolutionary idea.
Outcome: I’d willingly ditch an idea, bury it forever rather than have it come back failing and haunting me forever.
The fix: It is more of a mindset game. I mean, failures are a part of our life, and how are we supposed to know without putting ourselves out there.
- Share your work with others more often.
- Brace yourself for setbacks as they are the path to a comeback.
- Vulnerability is fine. Embrace it and move on.
The drill and slog
There. I said it. Sometimes it is too much for me. Yes, there are instances where words flow in abundance flooding the screen, but often it is one royal struggle for me to pull something out. Pretty sure some writers can effortlessly paint the canvas with their words and have a magical flow. Sadly, not everybody is.
We love the written piece but hate writing. While I may be way out of line, that’s how it is, at least for me.
A part of us always seeks comfort since writing can be a struggle often. The correct words, sense, story, and execution are exhausting, even for the best.
I love the completed piece, but the drill and slog of writing hold me back. It is like putting bricks together for a house. While we devour the result, the process is taxing.
The fix: The best way is to get started. Pull out a time window with no distractions and go berserk. It may be 20 minutes slot, but make it count. You can think of how it would come together post the mental slog assuring yourself that you’ve been there and done that.
- Get started
- Cut the distractions
- Seek motivation through the result when you put it all together
The early celebration
We celebrate too early. We underestimate ourselves to the extent of triviality. The boxes of reasons preventing you from creating are interlinked. As mentioned earlier, we hate the drill and slog, and any victory triggers the happy hormones inside. Once you start the creative process, it flicks a switch inside. Switch that signals victory because all this while you’ve been basking in the dread and stress it would take to write.
Now that you have started, it immediately makes you celebrate. After all, you triumphed over the hard part of getting started and charting your way to the end.
The downside of this instant laud is tricky. Although the work gets to speed, we often get complacent midway. I have found numerous instances overcoming the struggle, only to end up stuck. It’s like penning 300-500 words while heaving a sigh of relief that I’ve reached there.
Yes, the creative process is underway, but complacency kills it.
The fix: Keep going the last mile or till the flow. You wouldn’t want to screw a great start.
- No complacency
- Finish what you started
The overwhelming distractions
From the beginning of this article to nearing completion, the list of things done is- Lunch, 20-minute nap, Linkedin check, thinking another write-up, a green teacup, and followed again by what to write next. Ya, that’s how it has been.
Frankly, this is when I decided to be focused and dedicated to finish this piece in time. The task at hand ain’t completed yet, while I have been brainstorming and procrastinating about everything else that can wait.
Distractions are to overwhelm us, and we need to find a way around them. To stop distractions, it took me an 8-minute diversion and 10- stopped apps to mute my ever-pinging phone.
Oh, and more, mom calls to check on clothes as she saw some drizzle outside.
Life at its overwhelming best.
The fix: Perhaps we can set aside the time only dedicated to writing. While distractions are there, we can identify the useless from productive ones. Muting phone is a firm decision, while social media control is a must.
The call from my mother is non-compromisable as she puts the food on the table, and I’d willingly get distracted by her rather than missing meals.
- Dedicate a time slot
- Stick to the work at hand