Writers’ block

Yesterday I went along to a two hour workshop on writers’ block at uni. I found out about the workshop while I was reading emails instead of writing notes, so the speaker’s suggestion that emails should only be checked twice a day seemed rather relevant.

My issue is not generally getting words written, it is getting the words written that I need to. I can sit in front of a blank document for 25 minutes, then as soon as I switch over to send an email or complain about something in a blog post the words just splatter out from the keyboard. Sometimes I try to trick myself, I go to type an email and include something about the idea I should be writing about. I then cut that text out of the email before I click ‘send’. Chances are those bits are not of interest to the person I am emailing; my supervisor does not need a summary of everything I have done, seen, read and thought every week.

My other trick is to give up on writing and just waste time clicking from one website to another. Whenever I have a thought about whatever I should be writing I then click back to the document and write it down. While I am there writing I try to trick myself into squeezing out a couple more paragraphs.

Clearly these strategies are not working all that well. I end up having to stay up later than I want to and, even worse, when I go to look up some notes I wrote on an earlier idea I often find the document is nearly empty meaning all that work never made it out of my mind. Through the workshop I have been reminded that there is no substitute for just getting it done.

I do not have any pearls of wisdom to share, but I felt somewhat relieved that when we had to write, by hand, 200 words in 10 minutes I was not the only person who did not reach the 200 word mark. Apparently writing by hand is supposed to get ideas flowing faster but, as nearly everything I write is typed straight onto a computer, I think my brain feels more at home with the keys than writing straight onto paper.

Alright, back to work!



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