Episode 9 – Barriers to Writing

In this episode, Anna and I talk about barriers – internal and external. We discuss trying to find a way through, from family issues to imposter syndrome.

Signs of being stuck:

While deep down we might know that we should be writing, it is not always apparent to the conscious mind that we are struggling to write. What does that mean? If you aren’t achieving your goals, it might be a good idea to look at why that could be. Self-sabotage could be to blame. It’s worth considering whether you are experiencing a fear of change, of failure, or even a fear of success.

Other signs are; there is always another small task that just has to be done, interrupting your writing time.

Is research writing? Well, it might be, but it can also be an effective way of avoiding writing.

Other symptoms include; feeling confused, starting and then going blank. The story itself or the characters are not right, making it difficult to muster the motivation to carry on.

There are also external barriers, such as a noisy environment, no space or demanding children, pets or relatives.

Some solutions:

An activity such as running or walking can kick start the brain and get it unstuck, plus increase your daily step count, burn calories and help you get fitter.

Brainstorming or writing for fun. A change of project can get you back into the habit. It isn’t supposed to be torture – honest.

The noisy egg timer helps me concentrate for a short period (it only goes up to 50 minutes, which is plenty long enough).

Surround yourself with people who encourage you. If you find some who supports you and believes in you, treasure them and/or marry them.

Take a break from writing to have some new adventures. Just like the body, we need to take care of our creative brain. Just remember to plan a writing session at some point in the future.

Allow yourself to be inspired by other writers. Reading replenishes the soul, it’s a fact!

If stuck – look at your life and throw out the unworkable stuff. This is probably a good recipe for living whether you are a writer or not.

Be open to the present moment. That sounds easy! Train the brain to make it easier with techniques like mindfulness.

Shut off all distractions – phone, Facebook etc. – and when you are bored enough, perhaps you will write.

Books mentioned:

Reasons to Stay Alive Matt Haigh

The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron

Let us know any barriers we’ve missed. Any that are specific to you or even better, how you have overcome them. We’d love to hear from you. Good luck,

Lucinda and Anna.