We will be discussing writer’s block, procrastination and the science behind them…later on…
There is a movement just starting in the writing sphere of the blogosphere; writers are pushing away from the confines of immediate social media constraints to concentrate on, you guessed it, writing. See Yuvi Zalkow‘s goodbye post at Writer Unboxed and the comments that follow as well as Chuck Sambuchino’s Letter at Guide to Literary Agents.¹(additional links in footnote)
Of late, there are more and more tempting, shiny, objects with immediate gratification and rewards to tempt us away from out long-term goals of finishing our writing projects. Two words: social media. I highlight the comments section of Yuvi’s article because a great deal of writers are feeling bogged down both by the pressures and temptations of the immediate rewards of various social communities. I am not espousing a complete disconnect from society, “IRL” or over the internet. But in my travels around writing circles, this is a repeated refrain.
We need to understand the immediate vs. long-term goals we have as writers and how we reward ourselves. This is something that will, in the long run, help us finish our projects.
What I would like to underline here is that breaking tasks down into bits rather than one large project on a to-do list is much more effective than trying to start on a large, looming project ie: “finish my book”.
I discussed this in my new method of using the right and left hemispheres of the brain in conjunction with various tools to break items down into do-able tasks using the tools that correlate best with the fortes of each hemisphere. Imagery and creativity in the right brain and logic and method in the left brain is a simplified way of looking at it. But the chemicals are what we are wanting to increase so there is less avoidance to sit down and write and more intrinsic reward in the task itself. Dopamine, part of the brain’s chemistry, plays a great role in mood, addiction and reward as well as movement (the latter we will leave for the MDs). I will explain temporal discounting more as it relates to our writing and provide solutions that you can try on your own to see what fits you best. If we understand the science of avoidance or, in our cases, writer’s block, we can best find the solutions for overcoming them. For now, enjoy this great video. Then take a few minutes to work on your novel. Happy writing!
To understand the Pomodoro Technique, please visit this page. There is are great explanations on the method and plenty of productivity sheets for download there as well.