Procrastination & Writers Block

I’m not even going to lie.  Today…my brain is not functioning.  I guess you could call it writers block.

Earlier today I sat at the computer trying to figure out what I was going to post, and I honestly could not think of one thing to write.  I also have an archive of articles I’ve written for use on here, but none of those really appealed for use today.  They’re all great articles, but I like to have a reason for using them.

Anyway, as I was sitting here organizing some things, I remembered how many times musicians or writers get in a rutt when it comes to writing or creating in general.  I would say I am pretty good about getting out of writers block, or avoiding procrastination.  But, I wasn’t always. I used to procrastinate like (insert similie here).

Today, I wanted to share tips on how to avoid writers block and procrastination.  Because, honestly, the two go hand-in-hand.

A lot of times during writers block we can’t put our thoughts together the way we need to.  What I will generally do is take an hour break and go work on something else.  As musicians there is always something you can be doing to focus on your career.  If you are having trouble writing a song, take an hour break and focus on some of the business aspects of your career.  Then come back to your song,  a lot of times putting in the work for business will get your mind moving and your creative juices flowing.  The key here is to make sure you are staying active.

Speaking of staying active, besides business, working out is another way to get your brain in motion.  Its amazing how the ideas just start flowing in after a good workout.  Its a wake-up to your entire body, plus a great way to motivate yourself into a yes-I-can attitude.

Now here is something that I might get flammed for when it comes to procrastination.  A lot of people say you should start with the most difficult task first (eat the frog), this is great if you are not a true procrastinator.  Here is what works for me:

When I wake up, I find the quickest task that requires some work.  Notice I’m not saying easiest.  I’m saying if I need to get a hold of someone for business as part of my tasks, I will make sure that I start by trying to get a hold of that person.  Or say I need to do some quick research, I will do that.  If you do the hardest/toughest task first, as a procrastinator you may get discouraged or bored for you ADD folks out there.  By starting with a task that is quick, you build yourself up for the long haul.  Eating the frog should be second in my opinion, you need appetizers before any large meal 😉

Then again, I’m also a very energetic person who has a hard-time focusing on one thing for too long.  So how do I combat that?  Chunks.  I’m not talking 50 minute time chunks (though this is a GREAT method for getting things done), I’m talking task chunks.  Say you’re working on a business plan.  Break that down. Something like “Once I complete my summary page, I will take a 10 minute break”.  Be reasonable though with breaking things down.  If you start doing things like “Once I write a paragraph, I will take a 10 minute break”, you’ll fall right back into a procrastination hole.  Generally, in order to be more effective, I will create a breakdown of my tasks the night before, that way I am not wasting time in the morning working on them.

Now, have you ever woken up and just written the five things that come to  mind?  If you’re a songwriter, I suggest you try it.  If I had a bad day before (as far as ideas), waking up the next day and jotting ten things down that come to mind usually puts me on the “write” foot 😉 to getting things done.  Ok, Ok, bad pun, sorry.

Hope you have a great and productive day!

-Eric

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