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Dr. Paige Turner Diagnoses Writer's Block

Now here’s a sticky question from my readers that I think Dr. Paige Turner would be more qualified to deal with than I am.

“Paging Dr. Turner, Dr. Paige Turner to the ER.”

Dear Paige,

This is hard for me to talk about, I hesitate to bring it up, but I know you will handle it with care and sensitivity. I can’t seem to get excited about writing these days. I want to write, I really, really do. But I get up to the keyboard and there’s just no action.

At first I thought I was just tired out from a long day. The next time, I was operating on a full night’s sleep. It was early in the morning, one of my favorite times to write. Well actually, I like to write just about every chance I get, but the mornings – I’m ready and raring to go!

Not that time.

My next attempt was also a flop.

No matter how much I want to, I just can’t get those creative juices flowing. I don’t even want to try, because I just can’t bear coming up dry yet again.

My writers’ group says it’s no big deal. “It happens to everyone.” But what if they’re saying that just to make me feel better?

Paige, can you give it to me straight?

Yours truly,

Richard


Dear Dicky,

You know I don’t pull any punches. So here’s the truth:

Yes, they are just trying to make you feel better.

But – it does happen to everyone, at least once or twice.

Now Dick, I’m clearly not able to diagnose you properly without a face-to-face examination, but the symptoms you are describing sound like what is commonly known as Writer’s Block, but what we in the profession tactfully refer to as “R.S.,” short for “Resistance Syndrome.”

Resistance can morph into many forms. You may think you’re just experiencing a touch of Writer’s Block, when what you have could be lethal.

Let’s assess your problem objectively. Here’s a little home test you can perform to determine if you are indeed suffering from Resistance Syndrome:

Writer’s Block or Procrastination?

A little procrastination is normal.

But uncontained, it can explode into a full-blown outbreak.

Do you see yourself in this scenario?

Writing. Gotta step away from the computer for a minute. Outta Diet Coke. Chips might be good with that. Not hungry. More like itchy, but still… Might as well go to the bathroom so I don’t have to get up later. Is that toilet tank running again? I gotta fix that.

OK, back at the computer. Writing. Why can’t I read my own notes? My handwriting sucks. Maybe check my email. Nothing new in the last five minutes. Maybe browse Facebook real quick. Jeez, these people haven’t posted anything interesting in hours.

We’re back. Writing. Let’s move this sentence. No, no, no. Move it back. Nah, cut it. Just cut it. There’s gotta be a better word than that. Over to Thesaurus.com. Actually, that word says just what I want. Hmmm, is it further or farther? Dictionary.com says, “interchangeable.” Hey, there’s an ad for fart sounds in a can. Oh, I gotta forward that link.

Writer's Block - Is your Procrastination Persisting?

Man, is my ass tired from sitting in this chair. Yup, I’m writing. Writing about how writers can make writing easier and more effective. Make their writing take them further/farther faster. Maybe I should be writing about farting. Oh, I definitely need to post this procrastination marathon to Facebook. Then, straight back to writing.

“Writing is what you do when procrastination finally drives you crazy.”

I can’t find out who said this, though I have certainly wasted enough time searching online. Nevertheless, they obviously knew what they were talking about. To be honest Dick, I only answered your letter because I couldn’t come up with a reply to someone else’s pressing question.

Richard, is your procrastination persisting for more than four hours?

If so, you should seek immediate treatment.

The Distraction Man Cometh

Distraction – procrastination’s sinister Partner in Crime – steals your attention and “Boom!” You can’t concentrate on the task at hand.

Extreme distraction is one of the symptoms of Writer's Block aka R.S.

Anything is more interesting than your script.

Your mind wanders.

You drift off into endless outer space.

You can’t concentrate on one thing for more than a minute.

Soon you are totally lost. No idea what you where you were headed or even where you are now.

You’re writing at Starbuck’s, and you can’t stop eavesdropping on the couple next to you on an awkward first date. You get up from your desk, and you wind up doing two loads of laundry. The phone rings, a friend wants to know if you want to catch the new movie coming out this weekend, and you keep them on them on the line for an hour.

So Dick, are you at the point where you’d rather reread an old issue of National Geographic than cozy up to your computer, open up that file and dive in?

Writer’s Block or The Siren Song?                                      

You are in the zone, or there’s a milestone in sight, or you’re nearing the finish line at last, when “Hark!” it’s the siren song of a New Idea!

Writers Block: It's nothing new. Sirens Lure Ulysses' Ship To Crash On The Rocks

Enticing.                                                               

Seductive.

Perilous.

Do not fall prey to the allure of the Succubus. It may seem irresistible, but beware! In reality this is an inescapable trap – simply another form of self-sabotaging distraction. Should you engage, your ship will crash on the rocks and sink.

Open a new document. Jot down the concept. Name the document. Close the document. Push on!

The idea will still be there when you’re ready to write something new.

Now get immediately back on course – or risk never reaching your destination.

Dick, if you answered yes to any or all of these questions, your test results are in.

You are experiencing the symptoms typically associated with Resistance Syndrome, aka Writer’s Block.

I bet you’re afraid to ask if there’s a cure.

Honestly, yes and no.

It’s treatable, especially when diagnosed early. You will survive, although you may experience intermittent pain and discomfort of Writer’s Block. Click here to read about how you can conquer R.S. and even enjoy an active and productive lifestyle.

Be strong Dick. I am confident that you will get through this.

Just keep your chin up!

Love You/Mean It, Paige