It disappeared as quickly as it came. My mind screamed 'Dear God, make it stop!'
One moment the space was empty. I was all alone staring into the quiet void. And then - without any warning at all - there it was! Again! And again! What did it want from me?!
The aptly named 'Cursor' simply appeared and disappeared over and over. Taunting me. Reminding me of my inability to think of a single thing to write with its unrelenting blink.
I closed my eyes to sob silently and escape - if only for moment - the truth that I was the latest victim of Writer's Block.
It happens to everyone. But it doesn't have to be a scary thing. In fact, it can be overcome. Like turning on the light to prove to yourself that the Boogeyman in the corner is just the jacket you draped over the chair earlier, there are a few simple things you can do to render the cursed Cursor harmless.
What we call "Writer's Block" is nothing more than temporarily stunted creativity. There are 3 roadblocks to creativity and 3 habits of people who are consistently creative. Understanding each of these will go long way towards avoiding "Writer's Block."
Roadblocks to Creativity
1. Noise in your environment
2. Chaos in your schedule
3. Clutter in your mind
You simple cannot be effectively creative when you have distractions in your environment. At the kitchen table with screaming kids running in and out is a terrible place to expect any juices to flow...other than what those kids just knocked over.
Likewise, if you have zero margin in your day (perhaps shuttling said kids to a dizzying number of activities, or trying to squeeze in one more meeting or call), you shouldn't expect creative lightning to strike during the 10 minutes you have between whatevers. Lightning has a tendency to show up only when conditions are right. Not when you tell it to.
Finally, if you have a noisy space and a crowded schedule, you're most certainly going to discover that your mind is also quite cluttered with dozens of competing thoughts. And since is humanly impossible to focus on more than one thought at a time...sorry, there's no such thing as "multitasking", only "rapid switching"...that creative idea you're trying to get out onto your screen or paper is going to suffer. It may even refuse to show up at all. Hello, Writer's Block!
But have no fear...there's hope! Here are 3 ways successful creatives overcome those roadblocks.
Habits of Successful Creatives
1. Dedicated space
2. Protected time
3. Predictable process
First, they get away. Carve out a protected place where you know you can go for the express purpose of creating content or ideas. A porch swing. A spare bedroom. Heck, find a walk-in closet if you have to. Lock the door. Ban the hoodlums. Silence your phone. Turn off email alerts.
Next, successful creatives make regular time to be creative. Set an appointment with yourself that is every bit as important as soccer practice or that sales meeting. If creating something of value is valuable to you, find the time and don't compromise.
Then, successful creatives develop predictable repeatable processes. When you go into your dedicated space at your regular time, get in the habit of doing things the same way every time. The less energy you brain has to spend thinking about what comes next or where something is, the more energy it has to be creative.
There are certainly more steps you could take, but these will go a long way towards fighting off the curse of the dreaded Cursor.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have juice to clean up.