Know Thyself as a Writer

Here are a few common ways that writing productivity problems manifest. Which one(s) ring true for you?

Time and scheduling difficulties * difficulty starting projects * rejecting ideas prematurely * drawing a blank * daydreaming * procrastinating * organizational challenges * no good place to write * perfectionism * excessive editing or rewriting * overworking * binge writing at deadlines * difficulty with stopping * difficulty completing projects * psychosomatic/physical issues * difficulties sharing writing * fear of criticism * traumatic writing experiences in the past * lack of support * isolation, depression * anxiety * other mental health issues * drug/alcohol abuse * fear of success.

It’s important to be specific about the nature of your particular difficulties before embarking on a program of change. Every struggling writer  will overcome the difficulties in their own particular way.

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House Training the Writer Within

Each time you put off working on your article, poem, or novel, you create a moment of relief for yourself. It feels good to procrastinate because (for a while, anyway) you don’t have to face the many challenges that writing presents. Unfortunately, this works like house-training a new puppy by giving him a biscuit when he pees on the rug instead of on the paper. There is an experience of some immediate, welcome relief but what follows is a mess you have to clean up later.

Procrastination operates like a heroin addiction: it fixes our immediate discomfort while Continue reading

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“Just Do It!” – Does hearing this help?

Many friends, lovers, mentors, therapists and colleagues have lost patience with the blocked writer in their life, and finally resorted to what I call the “Nike Intervention.” Whether it’s intoned as wise counsel, a desperate plea, an autocratic command or a contemptuous barb, the impact on writing productivity is generally neutral or negative.

Occasionally the right person at the right moment says “Just do it!” in just the right tone of voice, and the struggling writer experiences an epiphany that dissolves the blockage and releases a glorious flood of pent up words into the world. Usually, however,  the writer who hears these words experiences Continue reading

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Californication: Season One

David Duchovny stars in the TV series, “Californication” as a blocked writer with a variety of interpersonal and emotional challenges. The first season of this series depicts a talented, successful author with impulse control issues who hasn’t written for years despite the agonized pleas of his agent, ex-lover and others. Instead of writing he spends his time drinking, screwing, getting into fights, trying to be a parent, and desperately trying to win back the affections of his ex, who is about to marry a less colorful but more stable man.

The ‘blocked writer’ is a common theme in movies and literature, Continue reading

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Writing Blocks and Excessive Early Editing

Some writers work in a very disciplined, consistent way, yet seem to get no closer to the finish line. One issue that can be connected to this problem is excessive editing of first drafts. This approach makes the experience of writing slower and more stressful.

Significant mental energy is required to solve editing problems while simultaneously trying to generate ideas. Elements of perfectionism are commonly associated with this premature microscopic scrutiny of the fine points of an early draft. Frustration, doubts, fears of failure, Continue reading

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Table of contents for the Blocked Writer’s Book of the Dead

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Chapter 1 - Why Blocked Writers Need a Book of the Dead

Chapter 2 - Death is Inevitable; Writing is Not

Chapter 3 - Know Thyself

Chapter 4 - Past Lives and Write Now

Chapter 5 - The Grateful Blocked

Chapter 6 - Motivations for Writing

Chapter 7 - A Room, Womb, or Tomb of One’s Own

Chapter 8 - House Training the Writer Within

Chapter 9 - Procrastination: The Sickness Unto Deadline  Continue reading

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I’ll be speaking about writer’s block @ Ojai Wordfest on April 12, 2014

I will be speaking at this year’s Ojai Wordfest conference in Ojai California.http://ojaiwordfest.wordpress.com

Here is the writeup:

1pm – “Overcoming Writing Blocks and Procrastination” at the Ojai Library 111 E Ojai Ave., (805) 646­1639 | FREE | It’s not uncommon for writers of all levels to experience difficulty with producing the written word. Problems such as procrastination, perfectionism, fear of criticism, anxiety, poor time management, imposter feelings and binge writing can impair professional, creative and personal fulfillment. Learn specific strategies for identifying and resolving writing blocks and restoring the flow of writing. | Spanning 25 years at Stanford University and as a psychologist, David Rasch has been working with writers who struggle with blocks, procrastination, and other writing productivity problems. Author of The Blocked Writer’s Book of the Dead, Rasch is former president of the Central Coast Writers Branch of the California Writers Club and most recently, was crowned the winner from more than 160 entries at Ojai Art Center Literary Branch’s February 2014 ‘75 Word Story Contest.’

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