Getting Stuck: The Diagnosis AND the Cure …
Hello and Happy New Year!
Regardless of when you are reading this, it is a new year and I’m hoping it will be a happy one for you.
Most of you know that I have been writing in one form or another all my life. However, for the first time, I experienced something I have heard about all my life… the dreaded writer’s block.
Although it was not Covid, in some ways it has been just as traumatic for me… days and nights spent talking (and listening) to myself. The voice on my shoulder was aggravating and quite a nag… She reminded me that content was not the issue since I keep a running list of potential topics. I tried to raise the issue of not enough time, but she was quick to point out that the holidays had actually provided me with more available time than usual. The looming deadline felt like a dark cloud over my head and a heavy weight on my shoulders.
I made “deals” with myself. (Have you done that?) I blocked out time on my calendar setting aside X hours to focus only on writing; however, when that time came, there always seemed to be something else that took priority.
It might have been an unexpected call from a client with a pressing issue, the pull of laundry that needed doing, or sometimes it seemed like something else… It felt like the little kid in me was stomping her feet saying, “I want to do what I want to do, and I want to do it now!”
For someone who coaches others on Time Management, Overcoming Procrastination, the importance of creating one, three and five-year plans, this was completely unacceptable to me! I am used to setting stretch goals, hitting my targets, delivering on time, and keeping my commitments… I love what I do!
How did I get here?
And how was I supposed to get past this obstacle?
First of all, I started by asking the inner me what seemed to be the problem, what she wanted, then I got still enough to listen.
I was reminded that there is a season for everything. A time to work, a time to play, a time to rest, a time to interact, and a time to just BE. I read recently if you don’t rest when you need to, you’ll rest because you have to.
Instead of continuing to beat up on myself with the dreaded “shoulda, coulda, woulda” triplets,” I hit the pause button and reframed. I gave myself permission not to write, but more importantly to stop thinking about it and wait until the inner me was ready to start again. My biggest lesson learned was that I just didn’t do it quick enough.
Once I understood what the problem was, thought about possible solutions, created a course of action and hit the “go” button, things began to get better. No, I didn’t start writing immediately, but I stopped worrying about it. I cleared my mind, let my mind and body rest, and then like magic… the ideas started flowing and I was writing again.
Have you ever been stuck?
Have you berated yourself to try and get back on track?
What was the toll it took on you?
Maybe you’re there now…
If so, I encourage you to hit the “pause” button, lighten the load, and take a break (mental and physical), so you can get back on track.
Each of us, as only each of us are the “authors” of our story and the “directors” of our lives. A friend once asked me: Joan do you want to burn out, or fade out?
Personally, I want to live life with zeal, energy and enthusiasm so I can continue to make a difference in the world. Recognizing when and knowing how to “unplug” is critical, because it provides time and space to recharge mentally.
I’m not really into New Year’s Resolutions, but I’m thinking the following quote by Sir Kenneth Branagh, British actor, screenwriter and filmmaker, might be helpful to keep in mind as we enter into this new year: “Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don’t get so worked up about things.”
Are you up for a challenge?
Are you willing to keep this on your radar screen for 2022?
Let us hear from you!