flexing my procrastination muscles
Almost two weeks ago I wrote this post about writer’s block/procrastination and then my computer decided to shut down and required being completely wiped. It’s taken me 12 days to find the motivation to rewrite this.
I can hear Alana Morrisette now. But like her song about irony, this situation isn’t as ironic as it is downright sad. I started this blog as a safety net for my voice as a writer. Day after day, writing articles about legal externships or cases going to trial or faculty scholarship can be mundane. I really enjoy my job and the challenge each story presents, because well, I don’t have a JD. But, I feared that this rigorous routine of suppressing all notions of sub context and drowning all forms of humor or self-pity could in fact hurt my long-term career as a writer. So, I created a place, this place, where I can bore all of you or all three of you (hi mom), while simultaneously working on my craft.
It also is a little more accountability for me—the ultimate procrastinator. It gives me a place to self-monitor, self-motivate and self-critique. Don’t get me wrong, I live and die by deadlines, but like any true writer, my best work comes in the dark hours before sunrise of the day it’s due. I don’t tend to be a magnet for drama, but it does breed an environment where my best work is created.
Lucky for me, my followers understand procrastination. Well, except for the handful of liars I apparently call friends. If you create on a regular basis, you struggle with writer’s block. Sometimes I think writer’s block is worse than creating sub-par (read: shitty) work. Even if it’s unusable, it’s something.
If you’ve experienced that moment when an idea is screaming at you to get out, you get it. You have to stop what you’re doing and scribble it on the back of a receipt, open up the notes on your phone, or hum the tune into your voice messages. It just oozes out of you, begging to exist. Once you’ve had that moment, you’re ruined. That raw creativity is an addiction. So, when ideas are a struggle, we withdrawal. But if we learned anything from Miley, pre-Bangerz, we know that some of the best ideas come after a struggle. It’s the climb.
Here are some of the writer’s block kickers my lovely creator friends shared with me, along with some of my go-to brain boosters.
1. Start every day with a creative exercise.
It doesn’t have to be when you roll out of bed, or like that rule about drinking water “before your feet hit the floor in the morning.” First of all, that’s wildly unreasonable. Second, creative exercises should begin in a place of calm. So, I try to do a simple writing prompt before I begin my day at work, or when I hit a road block.
2. The three-page word vomit.
Sometimes our brains are too cluttered to allow the creativity to flow. I have a follower who writes three whole pages every single day. It can be a grocery list, a weird dream you had, a rant about the girl at work that keeps giving you dirty looks, or really anything. I’d like to add to this the ability to doodle. Draw something or doodle to fill up your three pages. Something you can really focus on for a solid three pages.
3. Color me creative
Write your favorite song’s lyrics or even your to-do list, but change pen/marker/color pencil/crayon color with each word. See if certain words connect to certain colors. Allowing a free and open space to make creative connections can wake up that muscle to work throughout the day.
This seems basic. But sometimes if I’m just not feeling my own ideas, I indulge in someone else’s. I’m a big fan of columns in the New York Times or Huffington Post. Admiring sentence structure and word choice can do a lot for the subconscious.
Well I did it. And I’ll be honest, this post is somewhere between the sub-par (read: shitty) and oozing creative work, but it’s something. I’m working on giving myself the space to creative regardless of the outcome. You should too.
Did I miss any of your techniques? Please share!