A couple of years ago I struggled with long periods of writers block. This impacted on everything I was trying to write at the time, including my Masters. It was hard going. What was worse, just when I thought I had moved through it, I was hit with another period of inability to write.
One of the keys to moving through a writing block is to work out what causes it in the first place. For me, writers block hits when I am overwhelmed by what I have to do. It may be that it is too much; or the deadlines are scary; or there is a lot of pressure behind the writing work, such as my Masters; or a combination of all of these things.
Strangely, the magic relief to these periods of writers block was to work between several projects.
I have heard others say that this is not a good idea; that you can’t be focused when multi-tasking. Switching between multiple projects is not multi-tasking. It is working on different projects, one at a time.
Let me clarify with some examples. I will work on an Iski Flare manuscript until I need a break from it; then I’ll draft a couple of blog posts. I might spend some time editing another story or playing with ideas for a new story.
I am not trying to work on several projects at the same stage at the same time; that is, I’m not trying to draft two stories at the same time. That wouldn’t work at all for me. That would be one of those crazy ideas that would lead to becoming overwhelmed at the state of two different stories and so lead to a major stumbling block.
I usually have one project in draft, one in edit and one in final production stage. This means that if I become overwhelmed by one, or tired, I can switch to something else. I love drafting. I find that easiest of all my writing tasks. But then I love to nurture that into something stronger. So, I can work my writing tasks in around my energy levels and keep the momentum going.
Given my timetable for this year there is a little more overlap in stages of projects than I would like but it generally works. It may be that if I’m editing two works, I focus on one for a week and then the other and they would be at different edits. If I have a deadline looming then it might be that I can’t concentrate on anything other than what I have to get done.
The mind works in strange ways and I have found a few ways to work with mine to get the most out of it. Keeping busy keeps me writing. The key is to find the right balance of busy writing without tipping into Overwhelmed World, where there is so much to do that no writing gets done at all.
How do you like working?
Is it large chunks of time or little? Can you follow one project through from start to finish without getting distracted, or blocked or burnt out; or do you have to think about something else at times?
I would love to hear your stories and tips on beating writers block – hit reply to this post and share them with me.