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  #16  
Old 07-02-12, 07:15 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

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Originally Posted by yellowflowers View Post
Hi spunkysmum,

I can definitely relate to getting stuck on one step and not being able to move on then. I try counteract this by forcing myself to move onto something else, but then I do this thing where I'm doting from all over the place within an assignment and its all a total mess and I've no idea how to get any order on it.
I do that when I am trying to complete a form or application. I NEVER can just go through and fill in each blank one after another. I go looking for the easiest ones to answer and get those filled in, planning to come back to the others later. It can be awfully overwhelming.

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I get stuck on that - one step thing - like wanting to go to the shop but that would involve the shower or some other task like finding my wallet and because that feels overwhelming I'm just frozen. Its a bit 'all or nothing - like sometimes the step I'm stuck on isn't essential - like finding the right trousers - any would do when the prority is getting out the door to get something important sorted - but I get stuck on this one thing - and get paralysed because it all seems too complicated some how.

xxx
Isn't this crazy? Yet it happens all the time. I'm looking around for something that could really easily be replaced by something else for the time being, as though finding it is as important is finding my medication or something else equally essential. I am forever letting something relatively inconsequential get in the way of my getting out the door to where I need to be going. I am an out of the box thinker and creative problem solver extraordinaire, always coming up with delightfully simple yet un-before-thought-of systems and devices that surprise people I work with.....so WHY can I all of a sudden NOT manage to come up with a more available alternative to whatever dumb thing I think I have to have before I go out the door - a thing 7 times out of 10 I won't end up using anyway?

I try to clear off the array of random clutter on my dresser most of which I can recognize is just a bunch of useless junk that I have not needed for ages, and I run across an item the size of a button or a screw that I am at a loss to categorize, and suddenly I'm stymied. Don't even get me started on sorting papers. Actually, really don't get me started because it's so long since I tried that I don't remember what it was like.
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  #17  
Old 07-02-12, 08:11 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

Get The Now Habit in an audiobook and listen to it when you drive or (my favorite) work out.

It's written to YOU, because you ARE ME. It's not a typical self-help book with a bunch of fluffy suggestions that would only work for someone who didn't have this problem. It's an explanation for WHY you do what you do and HOW to dismantle what's happening.

It was recommended to me by a lawyer's coach. I solved this issue because I had to in order to be able to continue working in my chosen field. I was literally killing myself because of the depth to which the anxiety had gone for me.

It took me about four years from beginning to end to peel away all the layers of this issue. But I largely solved it within about one year of listening to The Now Habit.

The best part of The Now Habit is this bit:

He asks you to imagine that you've got a one-foot wide plank laid out along the ground. It's 30 feet long. Your task is to walk across the plank. You have all the skills to be able to do it. The plank can support your weight. Can you do it readily? Absolutely. No problem. If asked to do it, you would do it without hesitation.

He says, now imagine that the board is laid out between two buildings, 100 feet up in the air. Someone tells you to walk across it. How do you feel about that order now? Do you hesitate? HELL YES, because even though you have all the skills, and are perfectly capable of safely navigating the board, now the consequences of a mistake are dire.

That is why you procrastinate. The consequences of an "inadequate" work product have become dire to you. A piece of that is that you've self-identified too strongly with the quality of your work product. You're likely a perfectionist, and you likely motivate yourself with "I should" "I must" "I can't," etc. You are not choosing to walk across the board. You're requiring yourself to. And you're your own worst critic. So when you hesitate to follow the "order" to walk across the board, you criticize yourself and tell yourself that "normal" people just follow the order. You're not recognizing that you would and DO follow the order when the consequences of failure are not dire.

You're also believing a lie, which is that "normal" people wouldn't hesitate under those circumstances. Nope. "Normal" people just don't experience the situation as though the board were up in the air. They feel it as though it's on the ground.

Fact is that most people would hesitate to cross the board under those circumstances, right? That's a normal, healthy, emotional response to a perception of the situation.

Ok, so now you know why you don't want to go across the board. How do you fix it?

He then asks you to imagine the same situation, with the board suspended between two buildings. Only now the building that you're in is on fire. What do you do? Do you still hesitate to go across the board? No. You realize that you MUST get across. So what do you do? Most people say that they would skootch along on their butts. In other words, they will cross the board imperfectly. It ain't pretty, but it gets the job done.

So what are you doing when you procrastinate on a writing project? You're setting the building on fire. You're pushing yourself to the point where the consequences of failing to write are more dire than the consequences of failing to write PERFECTLY. So you ultimate end up diving in and skootching along the board on your butt. And if that's going to be the natural result of writing 24 hours before the deadline, then you may as well do that 72 hours before, or 144 hours before, or whatever.

Letting go of perfection is a key piece.
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  #18  
Old 07-02-12, 08:25 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

The chicken and egg problem: Which comes first, the seeing or the writing?

So another piece of this problem is that IF you're like me, you're relying heavily on your right brain to "see" a "best" approach. When you know what to say you write effortlessly. The problem is knowing what to say.

Except that what to say comes to you AS you write. So how do you know what to say before you do the act that helps you know what to say? It's easy.

You discard work product.

Your notes are notes. They're not to be used. Until you can "see" the work product, it will not be fully formed. So you have to be ruthless about this. You're going to end up writing several drafts and the first and sixth drafts won't look much like one another.

But they will have a common organization. It'll be the organization that comes to you when you answer this question, as posed by a layperson who is reasonably well-educated, but doesn't know your field:

You (or one) should _______________________, because ___________________________.

Fill in the blanks. Describe why you (or one) should _____________________, because _________________________ to a friend or a colleague or your five-year-old daughter, or your spouse. How you organize that is the most intuitive approach.

Your right brain is intuitive. You have to trust it to do its job. It may seem mysterious and mystical and goofy. It ain't. Your right brain is way, way, WAY smarter than your left brain. Your right brain doesn't have language, but it has something WAY bigger. It understands your orientation in physical space. It senses things, all sorts of things that you aren't even aware of. It knows when you're warm, or there's a fly on your leg, or you're breathing too fast or too slow. And it sorts out what is worth translating over to language. "I feel hot" starts as a whole cascade of sensations from all over your body, much of which is discarded, and then ends up as that small phrase.

Trust your right brain. You trust it with your life, after all. It keeps you alive. Trust it to solve this problem.
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Old 07-02-12, 08:29 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

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Originally Posted by Sandy4957 View Post
Letting go of perfection is a key piece.
Amen. Perfectionism can be such an obstacle.
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  #20  
Old 07-02-12, 08:32 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

Heh heh. Ok, after this I promise to shut up.

Have you ever done yoga? Or maybe Tai Chi? Or ridden a horse?

You know how you're struggling to hold the pose, or to follow the form, or to sit the trot?

Or here's one. You've probably ridden a bike, right? Or driven a stick-shift car?

How do you learn it? Do you study it, learn the steps, memorize them, drill them, over and over and over until you have it?

You might, but you'll take forever to learn it that way.

More likely, you try, you fail. You try again. You fail again. You fall. You try again. You get frustrated. You try again. And then one day, you're out doing it, and all of a sudden you HAVE IT. And then you don't again. But now you have the glimmer of it.

So you try again, and again, you HAVE IT for a bit longer, and then you don't again. AND THEN SUDDENLY YOU HAVE IT AND HAVE IT AND HAVE IT and it doesn't go away.

The "having it" happens when you stop trying and let your right brain solve it...

Ever stood on one leg on a bosu ball? Know how if you TRY to balance you rock all over the place and keep having to correct? But then if you let your ankle go, let you "sense of proprioception 'find' the correct ankle position," you'll suddenly stand there, effortlessly.

THAT is your right brain. You gotta learn to trust it.
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  #21  
Old 07-02-12, 11:33 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

What type of paper are you writing?
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Old 07-02-12, 11:40 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

I like these kinds of organizers for brainstorming main topics and subtopics

http://marizsuunn.files.wordpress.co...rganizer-1.jpg

I usually brainstorm with one of these first

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/gra...s/circles8.GIF

If you are at a college or university they probably have a writing center that can help you with this.

For me it just took a lot of practice and a lot of revisions. I also asked my friends to read through it and took in their suggestions.
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  #23  
Old 07-03-12, 09:08 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

Yes, Yellowflowers, what I've called a spiral galaxy is similar to a spider diagram. I had to google "spider diagram" to know what that was. The image that is closest to what mine look like is this:

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...RTwfYyYqywHGHg

I just have my lines curving around and I write on the lines, so that mine look like a language version of this:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uNrHax552t...iralGalaxy.jpg

Cheeky's examples are all very similar (it seems to me). The point is to let the connection be visual and associative, rather than a linear outline, because your right brain thinks in sensations.

I'm reading a very cool book right now. It's called 4 Weeks to Organized, and it's written to ADHDers. It's about using your right-brained dominance to organize your day.
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  #24  
Old 07-25-12, 04:27 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

Thank you so much Sandy, Spunkymum and Cheekmonkey,

Sorry I haven't replied - suppose I can be honest on this forum instead of making excuses like in every other area of my life - its like - its like everything else! I find it veryt hard to get back to people, I don't know why. Can't say that in my real life can I - "sorry I didn't get back to you" I have no idea why. That it do this doesn't really help for being a good friend

I think I get overwhelmed - I don't know, its like I think of how I need to get back to someone and I don;t know how to respond or what to say maybe.

Feeling really down on myself sat the moment, feels like I can do nothing right. I have about 80% of this assignment written but have left the worst bit till last - at least I'm further on than when I I last posted, I know I should be glad about thaT - but insteaD I feel pretty down. Because I can't understand why things are so damn hard - I look around me and everyone else on my course and at my job - they just - they just know how to DO stuff - manage there day. And to me its just so complicated - the simplest of things that everyone else seems to have no trouble with - I am exhausted trying to cope with. I probably should never have taking on this course -its too much for me - even if I am 'smart' enough (which it doesn't feel like despite what the cog assessment said) I'm not able like other people - whatever the hell is wrong with me - my brain just does not work. And the more stressed I am and the more pressure and the more deadlines the less it works!

The uni have given me some software for the Dyslexia - still find it hard to get my head around that I have dyslexia? but yeh - it does make sense. I don't know why really I never thought I did in a way.

But also I guess, I don't know. I've no idea - I have been trying to figure out what is wrong with me since - well I can't remember I time that I wasn't trying to. And I've always come to this end answer of - I'm just a f*** up, can't follow through with anything - all those traits people look down on - I have them all. Can't rely on me, can't be sure I'll remember anything I've been told to do. I am so so jealous, all my life I have been, of those people who seem to live these even 'steady' lives - they are kind of predictable - like those people - when their late - people say 'oh something must have happened, its not like them to be late'. Or 'she'll remember to bring that folder don't worry' - dependable people. People who have routines - I never understood that people naturally fall into routines? Like it just comes naturally to them??? Only in the last week have I really got my head around this - that people have a routine for everything - all the daily tasks- like having a shower -hair first, armpits second
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Old 07-25-12, 04:42 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

Sorry I posted that not finished - because I always loose a post by accident and then don't have the patience to re-right it! yeh, armpits sorry, yeh, no idea what I was saying What I was saying was I don't have routines - I'm not sure if anyone else on hear can relate to that - everyday I'm re-inventing the weal so to speak - maybe that is why everything takes me so long - I'm always trying to decide what the next step is - and what ever I'm doing my brain is suggesting a whole pile of other ways to do it - and also a whole pile of random stuff that means I can't stay on task with where I'm doing at all.

Thank you for all the advice on writing. I've been using those spiral diaphragms really helps for brain storming! it does help me SEE where I am going. Also, I've ordered that book 'The power of Now' Really liked that analogy on learning to ride a horse - needing to just actually do it to learn. I don't know anything about the right/left brain stuff so will try read up on that. And I swallowed my pride today and asked a classmate to read over a bit of my essay - its really hard for me to in-list help - I guess I'm mortified because I feel other people look at me thinking why on earth can't I do this simple task I'm asking help for. I've spent my while life hiding it - it was so strange today to turn to someone and say a I've no idea how to structure this, can you have a quick look at it?'. I try hide the struggle - of course it shows anyway - but I think maybe people think I'm just flaky or distracted - I've never told anyone how hard things really are. I guess a lot I haven't known its not meant to be this hard - and thought that it was hard was due to personal failing that I would fix tomorrow - I've always told myself that - tomorrow I'm starting fresh, I
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Old 07-25-12, 04:45 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

I'm turning over a new leave, starting from tomorrow I will be in work early and be organised etc. etc. Talk about denial. Its like - when am I going to turn around and say 'eh its not fixed yet, you haven't managed to suddenly change yet'!!!

Sorry I better stop writing, thanks again xxxxx
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Old 11-20-16, 08:59 PM
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Post Re: Severe writer's block?

Sandy4957,

Your post was extremely comforting and helpful. I actually started crying when you described the difficulties you had, because it is EXACTLY what i am going through right now. I am going to check out Dr. Neil Fiore's book, as you suggested and try the spiral method you mentioned. Thank you so much for posting.
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Old 11-30-16, 05:25 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

I had the same problem when I was in college and someone told me that writing about random things that are not related to your paper often helps. I tried it and it worked relatively well. I would write about random things that I actually FELT LIKE WRITING ABOUT and within 10-20 minutes my writer's block was gone! Then I was able get started on the paper and things flowed.
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Old 03-13-17, 10:41 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

I am currently struggling with the same problem, and I am writing my paper on the thing that haunts me..... procrastination. It's tough. Talking this out with someone and recording yourself helps.

Also don't be afraid to get help, go get a tutor or go to the writing centre. We have the ideas, the struggle is just being able to explain those ideas in a way that makes sense. And getting those ideas onto paper. A friend or a tutor can help with that
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Old 03-14-17, 02:58 PM
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Re: Severe writer's block?

wumbo - I'm sorry if I'm repeating but I don't have time to read all the replies, maybe tomorrow...

Have you tried getting away from the paper and writing something completely different? Something YOU want to write about? Sometimes just getting back into the act of writing something you enjoy helps expand the enjoyable feeling long enough to finish the thing you don't care about IF you write it immediately after.

If you don't have anything specific you want to write for this technique, go to one of the prompt sites online to jumpstart your muse. Google 'writing prompts.'

Good luck!
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