Someone online posted a desperate plea for help with writer’s block. The question mentioned a “massive project” like a book proposal or dissertation.
Oh, my. I feel for you. I was so frozen with fear when I started my own dissertation that I didn’t write a single word for a month.
But there’s hope! I finished my dissertation, learned a lot along the way, and went on to become a pretty productive writer. Here are some strategies to try:
- Make up your mind to do it badly. That removes the intimidation factor. You can always make improvements later – and you will, once you have something substantial to work with.
- Start with a leading task – something small related to your project. You could type a couple of quotations you’re planning to use, for example, or look something up. Tell yourself “I’m just going to….” Often that will get your engine going.
- Know your favorite escapes and excuses. Mine is housework. I didn’t clean my stove for two years while I was writing my dissertation. It was too tempting to divert my energy into making my house sparkle.
- Find a buddy. Plan to meet for writing sessions.
- Change your location. I went to a coffee shop every evening for an hour.
- Don’t worry about inefficiency. Those coffee shop trips involved a lot of wasted time – packing my stuff, driving there, unpacking when I got home, trying to concentrate in a noisy atmosphere. But over the long haul I got a lot done, and those nightly trips gave me something to look forward to.
Good luck, and hang in there!
Jean Reynolds’ book Five Minutes a Day: Time Management for People Who Love to Put Things Off can be purchased from Amazon.com and other online booksellers for $6.25 (paperback) or $1.99 (Kindle). Other ebook formats are available from Smashwords.com for $1.99.