Unstuck: Do Something Else

Sometimes, it is impossible to get started. We sit at the paper or computer, and as soon as we clear some mental space for ourselves and look for what we want to say, our minds crowd with The List.

You know The List. It's a demonic little thing that pops up and tells us all the things we haven't done yet. Laundry, emails, blogging, replies to comments on blogs, checking our bank accounts, doing the dishes, hanging those blinds we bought weeks ago to replace the awful vertical blinds that came with the house.

It goes on and on.

And no matter how hard we try to ignore that list of stuff, it simply keeps intruding. Now, we are in a battle of wills against our own mind. We want to write, we want to have our lives run smoothly, we want to avoid pissing off the people we live with by leaving too many dishes around and wearing smelly socks.

When The List just won't leave us alone, my advice is not what I normally have to say.

Stop writing and go do something else. Clear some of The List, little things that by the time we have thought about and rejected doing, we could have done them.

So take a minute and respond to some emails, wash some dishes and, for the sake of the gods, your socks. Take a walk, do that half hour workout… Whatever it is that tickles at us the most.

Then, come back to writing with a clear conscience. Sometimes, giving in to life's obligations allows us the space to find the words and get moving again.

And remember, some days don't write. Take time away from writing and go out to enjoy the weather, people, the sun (remember sunlight?). If you need a day away, take a day away. Take two. Whatever it takes to refresh ourselves a little and get The List whittled down enough to take time away from life and write without other concerns.

A post script: I took yesterday off myself from writing, so I will be posting twice tonight. We had to say goodbye to our dear Felix, and I spent the night drinking whisky with irowboat and remembering the good times. But I will be caught up soon in October's daily posts.

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