Updated: Jan 19
Stuck? Scared that your creativity may have dried up? Frightened that you're going to throw your content planning off track? Relax. Here's what might be going wrong and what you can do to put it right.
Pain is nature's way of telling us something is wrong. OK, writer's block may be more of a psychological pain rather than a physical one but staring at a blinking cursor for a few hours is also a sure-fire way of getting a blinding headache. But has it ever occurred to you that your discomfort may be an opportunity for intervention? If what you've been doing before hasn't worked, it's a chance to stop and consider a different approach.
So what's going on?
Creativity panic overtakes all of us at some stage (even us professional writers) and any writing coach worth their weight will suggest an arsenal of hacks to get over it:
Staring out of the window.
Having a chat with a colleague.
Making a cup of tea.
Having a look at a few relevant (and a few random) YouTube videos.
Sorting out your desk drawer.
Hanging the laundry.
But sooner or later the idling around slips into procrastination and before you know it, you've consumed three packets of Quavers, two KitKats, and five episodes of Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
If you've got this far and you've still not got past 100 words, you may need a little help.
Meggan Watterson in The Divine Feminine Oracle Guidebook comes in with some stellar advice:
When we are aligned with the essence of who we are, then what needs to be communicated through us, whether words, or music, or artwork, can flow. When our creativity feels blocked or stagnant, it isn't because the water has dried up. We might fear this. But the truth is that self-awareness is the key to unlocking our creative flow.
In other words, your pain is telling you that what you're attempting to write isn't your story. And when it comes to messaging, you are your story and your story is you. So if these two things are even slightly out of alignment, then it's likely to cause some degree of discomfort and a huge blockage in your creative flow.
What has brought you here?
Are you doing what everyone else is doing?
Be inspired and follow that inspiration if it feels natural but don't think you have to do the same thing to be successful. Be yourself.
Have you had advice but it doesn't sit well with you?
Sometimes your discomfort zone is there for a reason - whatever it is, it isn't for you. Push your boundaries and be brave by all means but if it's not working, be confident enough to amend or bin it and start again. Answer your inner truth.
Has someone inadvertently tried to overlay their authentic self over yours?
It's easily done and rarely intentional. It usually comes from a place of genuine concern and a willingness to cure your ills but occasionally it's more disruptive than restorative. Reconvene with your senses - they'll lead the way.
Are you trying to be something that you're not?
You may have fallen into this trap for purely innocent reasons but those with the 'live, laugh, love' façade in front of a 'shit, piss, stab' business ethic are soon ratted out. I'm not for a moment suggesting that you're at the deep end like this but don't paint a picture of what you're not. Keep it simple. Your people will find you if you allow your light to shine.
But how do you find your authentic self?
Ah, now this is the holy grail and some people spend an entire lifetime trying to answer this call but in terms of writing for yourself and your business, try these tips and you'll be heading in the right direction:
Find your flow: gardening, laundry, doing the dishes, picking up a sudoku, going to the gym, doodling, or alphabetising the bathroom cabinet. It doesn't have to be flashy, expensive or overly taxing - all that matters is that you get out of your head for a bit. Try to consciously zone out of what you're trying to write. Meditation is awesome for this. And then return when you're ready- you'll know when it's time.
Get out in nature: vibration is the word of the moment and I can understand why. We're rediscovering our roots in the planet beneath our feet and it's not just a hippy trend. Touch a tree, listen to the birds, ramble aimlessly for a while (even if it's around the park or the garden) to restore your inner voice. It will tell you what you need to know if you're quiet enough to listen.
Enlist a friend or a professional: there's nothing like someone holding a mirror up to you for you to discover all the details you knew were there but couldn't see. Whether this takes the form of tea and cake with a buddy or signing up with a qualified coach, invest time in the beautiful and unique creature that is you.
Draw from the deep well within
'You are everything you'll ever be' - something I've told my kids since they were born and it's something I swear by. All the resources, strength, creativity and tenacity you'll ever need is right there. Offload the unwanted pressures, others' unhelpful expectations, and notions of what you think you 'should' be doing and you'll let it out. When I start work with a client, I always ask to see what's around them: the articles on their desk, the picture on the wall behind, the wallpaper or curtains in the room. In their choices lie the clues to who they are and what they want to say. These tiny, intrinsic details build the picture of a unique human and just as each gem is unique in its formation, we all refract the light of the universe in a slightly different way.
This is what we're all aiming for and when the light we emit isn't right, it's because it's being blocked.
So next time you're poised with a cup of tea in one hand the TV remote in the other when you should be at your desk writing, thank the pain in your gut. It's inviting you to take some time out to think about how exceptional you are.
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