Rip Van Winkle Writing Habits: How long does it take to change them?

Rip Van Winkle was a rather lazy procrastinator who went to sleep for twenty years. When he awoke the world had changed. This can happen to any writer.

No two writer’s block problems are identical, and neither are their resolutions. There are many factors that make a difference in how change comes about, or whether change occurs at all.

One key issue is motivation level. Do you need to write to put food on the table or complete a graduate degree? Do you have a relentless inner drive to express yourself through the written word? Or is writing something you think might be kind of a cool hobby to experiment with at some point in your life maybe after you’ve been retired for a while if you still kind of feel like doing it then?

The greater the need or desire to write, the more likely you will have the steam to do what it takes to initiate and sustain a regular routine of writing. There’s more to it however.

Some writing block issues are specific to a conundrum in a current project, and if/when that issue is resolved the blockage dissolves rather readily. Other writers turn things around by simply implementing a free-writing practice like Julia Cameron’s morning pages exercise. Change can happen very fast, sometimes inexplicably.

Other blocks are decades-long, complex struggles that have manypsychological, interpersonal and practical dimensions that all need attention. It takes longer to identify the problems, create a plan for change and to sustain follow through. A writer in this situation needs to develop patience and enough optimism to persevere with the time and energy investment required, the gradual pace of change, and the battle with many internal and external forces that want to pull you back to the old stagnant status quo.

Traumatic or draining life events or circumstances play a role in determining how hard it will be to alter your writing life. You need to have enough time and emotional resources to maintain the day to day focus required, and you have to be able to get back on the horse if you fall off.

You may do best by focussing on changing your routines and habits around writing. Or you may have success by overhauling your writing space or changing location. Perhaps paying attention on non-productive thought and feeling patterns will be most useful, or having some regular psychotherapy. Find what resonates for you.

Rip Van Winkle missed out on twenty years. Don’t let another twenty go by without waking up your words.

About David Rasch

Author, psychologist, speaker, teacher, consultant, workshop leader
This entry was posted in Common Writing Block Problems, The Blocked Writer's Book of the Dead, Tips for overcoming writer's block and procrastination and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s