by Angela Lauria March 23, 2015
In this episode , Dr. Lauria demonstrates how to get writer’s block working for you instead of against you. Whether you think your problem is procrastination or laziness, you’ll learn exactly how you can leverage the energy that has been holding you back to hoist you forward on your book journey. Once you learn this technique you will find yourself actually looking forward to your next visit from the counter-muse know as writer’s block.
Featured on the show
Creativity Temple – Visualization Exercise to Free Your Inner Author
In this episode you will learn:
- The reason you get writer’s block
- How to get rid of it – and use it to your advantage
- The hidden messages you can only find when you have writer’s block
- How writers block when you are trying to write is like over eating when you are trying to lose weight.
- 3 techniques for overcoming writer’s block when it happens
Listen To The Show:
Get the Full Episode Transcript:
And we are back, it is ^Page Up^ and today’s topic is one of my favorites we are going to talk about why writer’s block is awesome. So I know that you might not be believing me yet about this writer’s block is awesome thing but I promise you that writer’s block is so different than what it appears to be. So many of my clients come to me saying that they are stuck, that they have been working on a book for a long time but that working on doesn’t seem to include actually writing. That they wrote twenty pages or thirty pages or forty pages and now they can’t figure out what to write next and they dread the idea of even opening the file and that’s when I get really excited. Because what I know is writer’s block is not what it looks like. Writer’s block is a message from your inner author, from the part of you that knows exactly what this book needs to be and when you are headed in the wrong direction, when you are not living up to your full potential for the book that’s when you will often get stopped or stuck. And that’s your inner author trying to get your own attention. It’s basically a part of yourself waving a checkered flag or a yellowed flag saying pay attention there is an accident up ahead and there is really a message for you in your writer’s block if you chose to accept it.
Now here is the thing most people chose to resist writer’s block, most people push up against it saying this shouldn’t be happening or I need to be more disciplined or I need to work harder or somehow they are saying they don’t want the writer’s block. Now here’s the news, that creates more writer’s block so resisting writer’s block can take a long time. Noticing you have writer’s block is a pretty quick process and when you notice it, if you simply acknowledge it like oh look writer’s block, fascinating haven’t had that in a while. I wonder what the message is from my inner author it actually goes away rather quickly and when it goes away it leaves in it way something super magical which is usually a transformation of your book writing process. It’s something that you didn’t realize that was missing from your manuscripts, something that you need to share with your reader and really it was a visit from the muse.
Writer’s block is so scary when you feel like you are in this flow and now you’re stuck but when you can see it and actually a specific message for your writing to make your writing better to make you a better author. To make you someone who is changing people’s lives which is exactly what it is when you see it like that and you can get excited when writer’s block shows up then your work will go so much deeper and reach so many more people. So how do you get rid of writer’s block? Because I know it does not feel super good when it comes so the first thing is to just identify it. So step 1 is just calling it what it is, just acknowledging what is happening and dropping the story that it shouldn’t be happening. So usually what people do is they want to be in denial about the fact that they are having trouble writing. So they will force themselves, they’ll weight knuckle their way through and maybe they will get I don’t know another hundred words maybe two hundred words and you know they are sort of fighting against it. So the first thing is that when you are not in slow, the way that you are going to identify this actually is when you are in an easy writing state so a lot times I would give people a writing prompt and a timer. So if you want to do this exercise the writing prompt is just why I wrote this book and set a timer for thirty minutes and that should come very naturally to you. That should be a very stream of conscious why I want to write this book, who I’m writing this book for. I actually have people imagine their book already done and they are speaking to their ideal reader and in that thirty minutes you should just be writing pretty much the whole time. Then I want you to identify how many words you wrote during that half hour and double that number so for most of my clients it five hundred words and when we double it we get there words per minute rate which is a thousand words an hour.
So i always want my clients to be writing at at least 80% of that so if you’re not writing eight hundred words per hour then you are some state of writer’s block. Now if you’re writing zero words per hour you are in a massive state of writer’s block, that means the muses are gathered around you serenading you, begging you to listen to them. You are probably telling them to go away , if you are writing let’ s say seven hundred words an hour there might be a little gem of an idea you’re missing that’s available to you if you want it. So the first thing you do is you acknowledge “I am in writer’s block, I’m writing less than 80% of my hourly rate” then you can wean into that and ask your inner author simply what is the message? So what I recommend to people is that you i actually do this typing i learnt this exercise writing that open a new document and in the way you regularly type ask your inner author what is the message you have for me? And then only using your non dominant hand for me that’s my left hand, only using your non dominant hand type the answer, what is the message that you have for me? And sometimes we go deeper with those questions so we might ask, what do I need to know right now to get to the next level? What is my ideal reader most afraid of? This is very often the message than your inner author is giving you.
This is a hard one but hang with me, very often that message is you’re being too demanding of your reader in a way that will tune them out. So very often what i have learnt is that the messages is really about getting into the conversation in your ideal reader’s head and this is hard to say but this is a place that we are going to be honest with each other. It’s really because what you’re writing is very ego driven, so when you’re writing and it’s all about you and what you want to tell them and what you want them to do. Very often you will bump into writer’s block because you are not coming from the truest deepest place of service. When you are coming from service it’s much easier to be in that flow state and so when you can tap into what the message is from your inner author then when you go back to writing you know what’s missing. You know how to change it you’re in a flow and sometimes I’m going to be honest that doesn’t work so if your inner author will come right out and tell you what message she has here’s the next level of triage that i will suggest to you and that is that you actually stop writing your book so again close out of that manuscript and sometimes it can be as simple as going to do something else. So if something is on your mind and like folding the laundry, taking the dog for a walk or feeding the cat, if there are things spending time with your kids there are things coming up for you go do that thing. And here is the one little twist I’m going to put on that when you go do that activity we’ll say folding your clothes I want you to do it with the belief that you are working on your book.
Now hear why that’s true, when you listen to your inner author who is saying step away from the computer, please stop trying to write right now you actually are working on your book but what people tell themselves is I shouldn’t be folding the laundry I should be writing right now. I’m supposed to get five hundred pages today and i only have thirty minutes left and I’ve only done one. That’s story that’s resisting makes your inner author crab crawl backwards away from you. So when you say some version of thank you inner author for telling me to step away from the computer, I have been wanting to fold my laundry. I am going to fold my laundry and know that you are getting ready to give me the next message I need. It makes your inner author feel safe, it makes your inner author feel like she can stay in the room and receive that message whatever that message is.
I do recommend when you take a break from your writing that you set a timer usually ten to fifteen minutes is a good amount time and then when you come back to your computer open that document and just see what message your inner author has for you that has changed. Now if nothings change after you step away there is another level of triage that we do and we’ll do a whole podcast of this one. That is really connecting with your book already written, so if you have some experience with visualization and i have a visualization which I will include in the show notes and for this show so you can go to the authorincubator.com/3 for this show. And you can download my free creativity temple visualization now that is awesome for writer’s block and like I said we’ll do a whole in the future but I will give you access to this thirty minutes download. Where you can really connect with your book already written and figure out what the hidden messages are for you.
So there are three techniques just to go over those again, three techniques for overcoming writer’s block the first one is just to lean right into it and ask your inner author what message this writer’s block has for you and I suggest that with a non dominant hand exercise. The second technique for overcoming writer’s block is to step away from your machine or from your notepad with a timer of ten to fifteen minutes go do whatever is on your mind but with that positive intention whatever I’m doing right now is working on my book. So you are not scaring your inner author away and then the third things is to get my creativity temple exercise and connect with your book already written and see what is on the page, on the next page. Wherever you are you can actually hold your book in your hand flick to the next page and see what it is that you ended up writing. Those are the three techniques for overcoming writer’s block.
Now I want to tell you a story and that story doesn’t seem like it’s about writing but so much of what I teach in writing goes back to my own journey with weight loss. So one of the things that would happen to me, so I lost a hundred pounds five times because I’m an overachiever and one of the things I would notice is that I would make myself this promise today I’m not going to overeat. I’m going to dinner and I’m not going to have any of the bread on the table, I’m only going to have one square of this chocolate and then I would eat the whole bar. So overeating was something that I did frequently and when I did it, it really upset me because I felt like I was breaking a promise with myself and I wanted to lose weight. So why was I continuing breaking these promises that weren’t even so hard like I can totally wait five miles without eating bread but why was I not? What was compelling me to eat that bread? Well, writer’s block is actually the exact same thing it is you breaking your promise to yourself you said to yourself I want to write and then you give yourself a case of writer’s block. Now I know it doesn’t feel that way and I can assure you it absolutely didn’t feel that way when I was overeating it didn’t feel like it was something in my control if I could control it would definitely not do it, right?
Like that was not what I wanted to do but here’s what is when you are overeating what’s happening is you are trying to get your own attention, you are trying to acknowledge something that’s going on and for me very often what that thing was, was I was uncomfortable. I was scared that people wouldn’t like me at that table that I was at, I was hurt or annoyed or upset and I didn’t know how to say it and what my overeating was me trying to get my own attention that I had another message. I had another thing going on it was the truth that I was ignoring and the more i ignored these things in my life, the more I ignored the relationships that were falling apart around me. The more i ignored how unhappy I was in certain areas in my life the bigger I got, why? Because it was the bigger the problem was getting and I was manifesting that problem on the outside that’s basically what’s going on with writer’s block. So here’s where I’m going to get really, really honest with you and say, you I know it doesn’t feel this way but you are creating this writer’s block and the reason you are creating it only you know but I will give you a ball park here. There is something you are resisting, there is something you are afraid of maybe it’s being afraid if being seen, maybe you are worried it’s not good enough remember I mentioned I was always worried about if the people I was at a meal with would like me.
So that would cause me to overeat, so if you are worried that your reader might not like this or you’re worried your book is going to get a bad review and I’m even going to say you are consciously worried because I’m not consciously sitting there and saying at this person across the table that he doesn’t like me, not at all. It was not in my realm of consciousness or what was happening was i was subconsciously playing out these dramas by eating and you my sweet, sweet author in transition in transformation. That’s exactly what you are doing when you have writer’s block, its fear, it’s your resistance to your own success, it is your worry or your anxiety that you are not enough and here’s the thing is what makes you enough is just that decision. So when you worry I’m not enough you aren’t because that writer’s block show up but when you hold space only for your success that’s when you can write from a state of flow. So when writer’s block shows up there’s two things that happens and I’m going to be honest with you is most people when writer’s block shows up they don’t tell me even my clients, even my highest paying clients.
It’s a big secret and let me tell you one of my biggest secrets even to myself was how much I overate so there were so many times where I would discount a half a brownie wolf down in the kitchen in between meetings. Or that I wouldn’t just include the three bread rolls I had for dinner in my mental inventory of what I ate, I would only count one right, there are so many was I denied how I was overeating and this is what I see about writer’s block. The most dangerous component of this is that you’re not telling anyone you are, that it’s happening that you’re saying your writing is going well. If you are not at 80% of your hourly writing rate you are in writer’s block, you are in denial, you are lying to yourself about what you are afraid of and all those things you are afraid of by the way I’m happy to coach you on. But here is the big secret of all of this is that when you are truly serving, serving at your deepest level, when you are thinking about your reader and not so worried about you that is when it doesn’t matter that’s when the writer’s block just fade away. It doesn’t have to be your biggest cover story I used to have a friend with a eating disorder and I remember that she always was always curious about what the other people in whatever restaurant we were in thought about her eating. She was so worried about other people and that’s how I feel about writers when they are denying their writer’s block or when pushing through their writer’s block.
It’s like you don’t want anyone to know that you have this problem and what would people think of you and you want to look like you’ve got it all together or you want to hide from everyone. That’s another big thing, so if you are doing this I can tell you are not writing from a state of flow if you have decided to not to tell people you’re writing a book, that’s another big sign. And so the truth is when you drop your // about yourself and who is looking at you eating or what people’s opinion is going to be on your writing and you write with a servant’s heart. You connect with your reader and you make this book a love letter to one person, you make this book your mission to help this person. When you make it about the other person and not about you that’s when you free your inner author. So writer’s block my friend is super, super awesome it is the only thing that is going to get you to become a true writer and when you can stop forcing and pushing against writer’s block. And when you can open up to the true magic anxiety with the message that you have inside you that you were born with to change other people’s lives with your experience to give meaning to everything that you have gone through in your life. When you drop, when you learn how to work with writer’s block, you welcome writer’s block, how to greet writer’s block at the door with a leaping hug that is when you’re going write. Faster and more powerfully than you ever thought possible before so I want you to try and play around with these techniques for overcoming writer’s block. Leave a comment below about how that goes for you, go ahead and on the show notes on the authorincubator.com/3. You go ahead and grab the Creativity Temple exercise and try that even if you’re not in writer’s block it’s a great tool to have and what I really want from you as well is do you have techniques from overcoming writer’s block you can add those in the comments as well. I read all the comments and respond to them and I’m really excited for you to see what a gorgeous and beautiful tool writer’s block and in the next episode what we are going to do is we actually going to take it the next level. I’m going to give you some ninja techniques where you can hack into a flow state and we are going to actually go even deeper on this so there is a whole new level of tools. So make sure that you dive in these three tools and you get them because that’s going to really give you the chance to go to the next level.
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