How To Procrastinate Like A Bad Ass (or How To Overcome Writer’s Block)

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Last Wednesday in Brisbane, Australia I sat down to work in the Regus Business Lounge (free access with my Amex Platinum card) and nothing came out.

Nothing.

I can’t recall the last time I had writer’s block. Usually I can at least pump out useless drivel.

But my mind was blank and I couldn’t come up with anything.

Coming from the guy who wrote this article, it was pretty sad. :)

Most tips for curing writer’s block state to take notes, read/research your topic, and just plain force it.

I forced it, and when nothing happened it was time for a radical change.

I decided to procrastinate.

It’s what a lot of us do best, after all. :)

How I Killed Writer’s Block With Procrastination

Following is the exact series of steps that lead to a cure for my writer’s block. Can you guess what the secret cure was before I give it away at the end?

1) I missed lunch with friends because it was pouring rain and I didn’t want my laptop to get ruined.

I was already frustrated due to the writer’s block, and this just increased that frustration.

2) So I went to the Gallery of Modern Art and stared at abstract paintings for an hour.

Ahh, immediate happiness.

3) The rain died down so I walked to my CouchSurfing host’s place.

It was a 30 minute walk and it started raining again 10 minutes in. I got pretty soaked, but all I could do was laugh at that point.

4) Went to an old school guitar store to play refurbished guitars from yesteryear.

I love playing guitar and I especially love small, old school, guitar shops.

1930s uke?! Don’t mind if I do. Weird no-name guitar with a triangle neck? Yes, please.

5) Cooked dinner for a household of 5 (my CouchSurfing host’s place).

I love making dinner, especially when it’s my World Famous 4 Bean, Soy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan Chili.

6) Went to see an old Australian “horror” movie at the Gallery of Modern Art called Turkey Shoot. (Not about shooting turkeys.)

Nothing like a good laugh to make you feel amazing.

7) Hung out at a bar and tried Ginger Beer for the first time.

I don’t drink soft drinks and I’d been practicing Ocsober (no alcohol in October), but I’d never heard of Ginger Beer (it’s a non-alcoholic soft drink) so I decided to try it. (It’s really popular in Australia.)

Let me tell you, it was outstanding. I love ginger and this stuff was very gingery. (Is that a word?) I’ll probably never drink another one, but it was awesome none-the-less.

You can see I’m an outstanding procrastinator. By this time it was after 11pm.

I hadn’t touched my laptop in 12 hours!

When we got back home I decided to fire up my computer and I was “magically” inspired to write. So inspired that I wrote 2 articles (both guest posts for other blogs) within 90 minutes. My goal was only to write 1 article, but everything was flowing.

Why Did Procrastination Cure My Writer’s Block?

Sometimes, just sometimes, the best way to deal with writer’s block is to do anything but write.

The key, however, is to do things that are fun and inspiring. I love modern art, playing guitar, cooking, old horror movies, and trying new things. I jam packed all of that into my day.

How do you cure writer’s block?

Or any mental block for that matter. Please share it in the comments.



24 COMMENTS

  1. The thing with writer’s block can also occur with most artistic or high-concentration works: programming, physics, high-math or just anything difficult. Anybody that has gone through college knows how hard is to keep focused and get things done.

    The minimalist way is just another technique but in the end everything sums to balance between hard
    work, inertia and relax. A live-time learning!

    Taking a free afternoon helps you to concentrate later? Just do it!

    My way usually goes to reserve big chunks of time to make the «real» work and the rest of my time is just logistics to make them happen. Most of the days these are two chunks of two and half hours. The most important thing is to find the quiet moment and place to get into it.

    • Thanks Pau!

      Nice! Reserving chunks of time for specific tasks is exactly how I usually do it too. :) (I’ve actually got a guest post going out soon on that topic!)

      Karol

  2. The best way to beat writers block is having half a dozen ideas written down before you have to write them yet.

    The second best way to beat writers block is to have a deadline – not a fake one – but a real one that keeps you accountable. Like “the article has to be written by 3am or it won’t be published” kind of a deadline.

    • Hey Ankesh,

      Thanks! Yeah, I usually have quite a few articles in draft mode. It’s rare that I can’t finish at least one of them.

      I agree a deadline helps a lot. I had to get one of the articles done by morning so when I got home at night it just seemed to flow.

      Karol

  3. Im sure there are quite a few people over at NANO this month with their write a novel in one month that are running into this.

    Writing is a unique task, some wait for the muse, others force the muse to get its ass in gear

    Some find outlining good, others just flying by the seat of the pants

    • Hey Jon,

      You’re right, NaNoWriMo probably has quite a few people running into writer’s block. And all the tips are good, but what happens when the “active procrastination busters” don’t work? I usually don’t get passive, but it worked well.

      Karol

  4. Yea, I get this as well.

    I generally just go and do whatever or sit around and think about random stuff and then come up with good topics to write about.

  5. Never mistake taking other actions for procrastination! Sometimes you just have to do the thing that is right….. If guitar, art and a darn good chilli feed provide inspiration then these actions are not procrastination…. they are fuel.. thanks for the reminder to do what we love, too often we get bogged down with the I MUST, or I SHOULD BE..and forget to do what makes us happy.

    Cheers

  6. KAROL YOU LEGEND!!!

    really super on point post.

    i’ve seen that in myself really really often. i find that the ideas need to swirl around a lil. also, you need to be in the right headspace, the right mood, the right balance between logical and creative, all that.

    the other BIG thing is that when you sit down and it doesn’t just flow like magic gold, we try to force it. which stops it from coming. let go, do summen else, procrastinate like a badass ;) and try again later :)

    awwwwsomeness.

    stumbled :)

    keep well mate.
    alex – unleash reality

  7. That sounds like one of my favorite posts. I couldn’t come up with anything to write so I watched a movie and all of the sudden I had an instant idea, and it ended up being one of my most loved articles.

    BTW anyway you could publish that chili recipe?^__^

    • Great minds think alike and all that? :) The chili recipe is coming in December as part of a different site. I will let everyone here know where.

  8. lol!!

    I signed up to NaNoWriMo and for the first two days it was going fab, then just ran out of ideas (and had to redecorate my home office lol!)

    I think it’s easier to write blog posts than ‘real’ articles or other stuff.. Usually it was easiest for me when I wasn’t taking it so serious anyway!! :)

    There was a good tip at a songwriting site, ‘If you can’t write.. Live a little!’

    • Hey Layla,

      Yeah, I think the point with NaNoWriMo is just to get the words out. It doesn’t have to be completely coherent. So if you really want to write a novel maybe play a little catch up? :)

      Karol

  9. I find when I have writers block the best thing for me to do is read a book or do something completely unrelated. After a few hours I then immerse myself in information.

  10. You sorted it all out by yourself. I think you’ve got the key there and if doing fun stuff doesn’t work then just writing anything helps too.
    PS. Feel free to come couch surfing with us in Noosa anytime… that World Famous 4 Bean, Soy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan Chili sounds yum. Can’t believe you don’t like ginger beer though, maybe it’s an acquired taste.

    • I loved the ginger beer. “it was outstanding” But I don’t drink soda. It was a one time thing. :)

      Would have loved to CouchSurf in Noosa, but I’m leaving for New Zealand in 2 days. :(

  11. Hey Ninja Gaiden,

    What plugin you use for the comment section? The little “reply” function is something I want to implement in my blog :)

    Cheers,
    Daniel

Comments are closed.