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Writer’s resistance and academic cleaning

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Læsetid: 3 minutter

Have you been in a situation where you cannot write though you have lots of ideas? But your inbox is empty and you have ironed all your laundry. We have all been there and I have 3 tips for you to avoid getting stocked in procrastination.

I have a confession to make.

2 months ago I announced that I would rebuild the style of my blog. Well, that task was finished weeks ago, but I haven’t started writing yet. Until now.

Writer’s resistance

I keep coming up with excuses for things I should refine in WordPress before I am ready to write. That’s bullshit. I should have started writing 4 weeks ago. That was the deal I made with myself when I decided to restyle my blog. Bummer, I didn’t.

It’s not that I suffer from writer’s block. At least that’s what I think, because I have a long backlog of ideas for articles, and the ideas keep coming. But I haven’t been able to open Scrivener (my favorite tool for writing) and pour out the words. Instead, I have suffered from a severe attack of procrastination. I call it writers resistance.

I have felt such a resistance for starting writing again. I have vacation off from my daytime work. I am spending it at home because I have a lot of woodwork (is that even a word?) at my house I have to paint this summer. I live in rainy Denmark and I haven’t been able to paint yet. In order words, I have had plenty of time to write.
But I haven’t.

Skrivemodstand og akademisk rengøring

Academic cleaning

It was such a strange feeling. I had been looking forward to taking time off from work and spend it on writing. Instead, I did this:

  • Split my Twitter account in two (one in English and one in Danish)
  • Reposted old posts to the two Twitter accounts to gain new followers
  • Followed back on new Twitter followers to gain even more followers
  • Looked for free tools for automatic posting to social media (was recommended to do this manually, så until further no automation)
  • Went over my WordPress plugin to check if needed them all
  • Deleted inactive WordPress plugins
  • Tested several free email optin popups
  • Went for PopupAlly
  • Implemented the popup newsletter optin
  • Styled the popup to match the colors of my blog
  • Implemented the embedded PopupAlly email optin at the end of each post (and some pages)
  • Styled the embedded email optin to match the colors of my blog
  • Styled the embedded email optin to be responsive (that took a lot of time because the free version of PopupAlly is not responsive)
  • Made changes to my Mailchimp setup so the emails would get at personal touch
  • Changed a few words on my newsletter landing page
  • Deleted the email optin on my latest post (the famous 2 months old one) since PopupAlly does the job now
  • And probably some more things I just can’t remember

Huh, it felt good to make this list.

These things on the list are what an old colleague of mine calls academic cleaning. Instead of doing the task, you clean up your inbox, your desktop or the pile of papers on your desk. I cleaned up my blog.

Writers resistance and academic cleaning - 3 tips for sneak attacking your procrastination

How to sneak attacking your procrastination

I know what I should have been doing. I should have written a little bit each day. Just 5 minutes. If I had done that I wouldn’t have lost my flow.

I didn’t need to publish every day, but I should have written something. Just a sentence would have been better than nothing. That way I would have felt in touch with my writing (and I would have had articles that needed only a little work to be published).

Tip #3: Visit your writing project every day

A Danish author (don’t remember who) once said that even if she didn’t have anything to write, she made sure she visited her book project every day and sometimes the words then came to her. That is good advice. You should visit your writing project every day.

Well, it stopped raining. I have to go painting my house.

Tip #2: Small breaks can do good for your writing

Not all breaks are bad. A small break for your mind when you are stuck in writing can do wonders. Do something physical (like painting your house) and your brain will keep running in the background and suddenly when you are halfway painting the wall you have got a new idea. This is leading me to my best tip.

Tip #1: Don’t close your writing app

If I keep Scrivener (my favorite writing app I was talking about earlier) open when I put my laptop away, the next time I open my computer, Scrivener will be the first thing I see, and I am more likely to write some more stuff before doing anything else.

Also if am I doing something else and a new idea are coming up, I can write it down immediately. You could use other apps like Evernote (another favorite app of mine) or OneNote for keeping track of ideas.

But now, I have to go finish my painting.

Do you think writer’s block and writer’s resistance are the same? What do you do to keep procrastination from your doorstep? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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