If you’ve been paying attention to my last few posts, you’ll know that I worked really hard on my writing during December and then writer’s/worker’s block hit hard in the beginning of 2019. Good, now you’re up to speed.
It was weird, because it wasn’t that I didn’t want to write. I would sit down to work and not just get anything done. It was awful and extremely frustrating, regardless of how well I know that you’ve got to take the good with the bad. I wanted so fucking much to work, to keep my streak going, and I’d sit down every evening and do nothing.
So I decided to do something about it. I knew I needed to refresh, to his ctrl alt delete and reboot my system. I needed to get back into the habit of things, the habits I’d lost over Christmas. I’m very habitual of me. In a perfect world I’d have a strict time schedule where I did the same thing everyday, ate the same foods, and could work on my writing at set time. Over Christmas everything had fallen apart, so I started with those things. I needed a fix.
I don’t necessarily like going to the gym, but I like that I go to the gym. Does that make sense? I like that I am a person who does it, even though I don’t like doing it. Anyway, I needed to get back into my routine, so I forced myself to do that. Even if it meant I wouldn’t have time for editing or writing that day. I needed the habit back. I didn’t even want to go, in one sense, because after having most of Christmas off I was so out of it. But I set an alarm, picked myself up, and went. It wasn’t particularly useful training the first few days, but that wasn’t the point either. I just needed to go there and go home again, get the rhythm going, get used to it again. At first, it didn’t help with my writing at all, because obviously I was spending time somewhere else.
For some weird reason I decided to spend more time on social media, not less, even though I spent a loooot of time there over Christmas. I have so many awesome friends there, the #writingcommunity is so amazing, and I needed to have that. So I did. I engaged with people, played games, read about what everyone else is writing. It inspired and motivated me, if not for any other reason than spite, me feeling like I have to catch up and be ‘as good as’ everyone else. It’s also, (at least to me), good to to see that other people are struggling, to talk to people in the same situation, and listen to how they got out of it. I suppose that’s why I’m sitting here now, writing this.
I’m not saying it will work for everyone, but I remember at least two full evenings I “wasted” just chatting to my buddies. Thanks guys, you’re amazing.
My wife and I decided we needed to get out, to socialize, meet our best friends. They’re busy with their toddler, but they agreed, we needed to hang. So we took a weekend, stayed overnight, partied, ate, talked, played games. It was amazing. I’m not a very social person – or rather, I’m very happy to be alone. So I don’t really notice if I haven’t spent time around people in a while, because I don’t miss it. Except my body does. I think. I don’t dislike interaction, in fact I love it depending on the people, but you get what I mean. It had been a while, and I needed to see them. At first it was difficult to try and step away from the writing, and my phone (because when I was sitting at home at least I was on Twitter, which often feels like a good substitute for work.) But I kept thinking that this was counterproductive, that this wasn’t what was going to help me get back into writing. Except it was. When my wife and I came home the next day, all of the stuff below happened.
My Writing Space
This is probably the biggest fix of all. My mind and habits were cluttered because I felt my writing space was cluttered. I felt the whole house was cluttered. So I cleaned it all. Then I tidied everything up. Threw out lots of old shit. It was soul-cleansing. And I didn’t stop there. I did the shed. All those boxes we all have stored with our old shit, the ones with things from the place you used to live before you moved to where you lived before now, you know those? I went through all of them. Threw it out, rearranged it, gave it away. But my writing space was still the same. So I threw out the table. Hell, I threw out two tables. Got a big, old desk from my father, one he’d inherited. It was old and beaten up so I sanded it down, oiled it, found a place for it, my wife rearranging the whole living room.
At the end of all of it, our whole apartment looked like a different place. Seems like a lot of work to go through just because I felt demotivated with my writing, right? But that evening, the first evening after everything was done, I got more work than I have in the last two months. My 2nd book is soon off to my editor, and then after a round of beta reads, I’ll be ready to publish. Again.
Thanks for this advice, Trey. I’m in a slump myself; will take into account some of things that helped you. Always enjoy your tweets; just retweeted the link to this blog.
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Thanks for sharing! I’m in the furniture rearranging and writing space creating mode myself! Hoping it’ll do some good…
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If you’re anything like me, it definitely will!
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