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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Momentum Beats Writer’s Block Every Day


momentum cures writer's block 2One of the biggest benefits of consistently, habitually showing up for fifteen minutes of Product Time is the momentum you build.

Since the time is so short, just fifteen minutes, you don’t have to fret about finishing a writing project or doing the best work you’ve ever done. Just show up and do something small, something simple, something not fraught with significance.

It’s much easier to show up again and again when what you’re doing is small, simple and relatively free of import. No worries. No need for perfection. No reason not to show up.

Of course, your Saboteur will suggest that if it’s so small, simple and insignificant, why bother at all? One answer is that this is just what you do, just who you are. Chances are you didn’t brush your teeth this morning because you were anxious about your dental health; you brushed your teeth because you always brush your teeth in the morning. (See more about how sitting down to write can be as easy as brushing your teeth…)

Brushing your teeth is small and simple – less than five minutes even with flossing thrown in. And brushing your teeth on any given day isn’t all that significant. If you skip brushing your teeth today, your teeth aren’t going to fall out tomorrow. But the cumulative effect of brushing your teeth every day influences your health and well-being enormously.

momentum cures writer's blockThe cumulative effect of showing up for fifteen minutes of Product Time four or five times a week influences your perception of yourself as a writer, keeps your Saboteur at bay, and builds the kind of momentum that gets books written and published, plays written and produced, graphic novels written, drawn and in the hands of those who love them.

avalanche-5Avalanches start with one tiny, insignificant snowflake, falling on a millions of other tiny snowflakes that fell before it.

There’s magic in taking a small step: movement begets movement. You don’t need creative fireworks and revolutionary inspirations. Regularly repeated small steps will take you miles farther than waiting for the Big Moment ever will. They can, in fact, take you all the way down the mountain.

Some days you’ll be unexpectedly lucky: a ten minute freewrite launches you into a new project. Or a bit of research delivers exactly the right detail to explode a creative slump. Or a stray bit of dreamstorming makes the puzzle pieces click together.

You’re a whole lot more likely to happen upon that special freewrite, explosive information or illuminating daydream if you regularly show up for Product Time.

Even if you never find the special, explosive or illuminating, you’ll be amazed at how the small steps add up. And you can take comfort in knowing that today’s small step doesn’t have to be amazing. It just has to be.

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10 Comments on “Momentum Beats Writer’s Block Every Day”

  1. Raven Tolliver November 9, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    I think a big problem for those suffering from writer’s block is that they won’t even show up to write. They’re waiting for ideas to mysteriously appear in their heads without any starting point, inspiration, or outlet, and want things to be perfected in their heads before they put them on paper.

    Like

  2. Heidi Mull March 26, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

    I just found your blog and am really excited about info like this that confirms my own experience. I tend to use anywhere from 10-30 minutes, depending on how much resistance I’m up against. This is actually a major reason I wear a watch with a countdown timer to make it as easy as possible.

    Like

    • rosannebane March 28, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

      Hi Heidi, Thanks for your comment. I use the timer on my phone because I can choose the sound it makes. I’m all in favor of using whatever tools work for you.

      Like

  3. Joel D Canfield December 3, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    There’s a “snowflake” method that appeals to me . . .

    Like

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