How much time elapses between Fear saying you can’t do it and YOU saying you can? Like, how long before the storm of Resistance blows over and lets you sail into the sunset of your Work?
Below is a tip that easily and quickly blows through creative blocks. The process is as sweet and modest as Halloween candied corn. Ready? Pretty please…
STOP researching, writing and revising at the same time. If these three bad boys showed up at a Halloween party, expect a giant brawl. All three are divas and want your full attention. Research demands variety. Writing wants perfection. Revision expects forever. If you’re sitting down intending to research, write, revise AND finish your Work, you are putting razors and poison into your creative apple.
Here’s our distraction detox plan.
Step 1: Do your research. Go online, to the library, to the book store, to an interview. Whatevers. Have fun. (Really!) Flesh out your big ideas. Go down the rabbit hole(s) and love it. Follow the bread crumbs of sexy stats, groovy superlatives, nutso trivia, purple prose. You’re not writing – you’re researching. This is a party, baby! Cut and paste those awesome article passages and their hyperlinks. Track your citations like a pro. Imagine an editor asking you who your sources are. You better know ‘em, kiddo!
Step 2: When you feel you have enough information (i.e., stuff starts sounding the same), stop researching. Now write a first draft. <gulp> Please accept that all first drafts are <say it with me>… that’s right! “All first drafts are crap.” When you realize content is missing, make a reminder to find that research or “stuff” later. Embed this note/deep thought inside your first draft. Do NOT open up Google, aka Pandora’s Box of Distraction. Keep writing, keep writing, keep writing.
Step 3: Filling in potholes on the first draft (crap) highway is the final leg of your journey. Now is the time to revise, tweak and tinker. Flip back and forth like a house fly on sugar. Research, write, revise, rinse and repeat. Your house is almost built. This isn’t distraction – this is revision vision, baby! You’re putting up the wallpaper not digging out the basement (Step 1: Research) or building walls (Step 2: Writing). You’re almost ready to set the table, answer the door and scream in a kid’s face, “TRICK OR TREAT, ghoul! I beat you.
I am DONE! I am… <whisper> the storm.”
Photo credit: twistedshifter.com