By Mark Hurwich, Founder, Concentrated Coaching LLC
Got a great idea for a book or article, enough skill to write it…and it’s not getting done? Or, worse still, maybe you’re successfully forcing yourself to write, but despite months of work aren’t producing anything you like.
You hate this block, and quite possibly yourself, too…right?
Salvation can actually lie in befriending your writer’s block, or at least what’s behind it. If you really want it to leave you…find a place to love the parts of you that created it.
We like to think we’re rational beings with a single-minded purpose. So when we notice internal conflict that we can’t settle—“we” want to write, but it’s as if parts of us have a different agenda—we often try to bully past. That works for small matters and maybe in the short term for bigger ones. But beyond that, it’s pretty stressful.
So what’s an alternative?
You might want to apply a powerful tool (called Internal Family Systems) that many coaches and therapists use. It asks you to personify that part or those parts of you—the ones that don’t want to write—as if each is a little person. You’ll treat each of these as positively intended, but not having the best strategies to realize what it seeks. You actually want to get to know and connect to those parts better as a preparation to a win-win negotiation. Once you do that—understand parts’ positive intention and fears, and they experience you as an ally–chances are you can all find a different strategy that satisfies these parts and enables you to write.
There are several ways to do this.
Remember playing with stuffed animals or dolls, and assigning them roles to act out tough interactions in your family? It might sound silly, but maybe finding a warm fuzzy to personify your writer’s block can work for you. To do this, you’ll want to get to the place where you feel blocked, bring out the toy (as if it is the blocked part), and start finding out about it by literally having a conversation with it…out loud. Can it feel your connection to it? What’s it afraid will happen if you write? What does it want for you? Do this enough, with some compassion and creativity, and you’ll often find a solution.
Another way my clients often help themselves, or at least start the process, is a journaling exercise they do for fifteen minutes a day for a few days in a row. It also gives them also gives them an opportunity to explore their block from a compassionate and creative perspective. You can find that warm-up exercise here.
Sometimes it helps to talk to another person, especially one trained in deepening your connection to your core purpose behind the writing, as well as help parts relax into alignment with this purpose. You may have a friend, editor, or publisher with natural gifts along these lines. It’s also something I do with clients over the phone, by Skype, or in my office. The writer’s stammer case is a good example; this work was completed in just a few hours.
Good luck. And reach out if I can help.
Mark Hurwich founded Concentrated Coaching; he helps people “stuck”—there’s something they have skills to do, but struggle to do it—get unblocked quickly by reconnecting to their passion/purpose, and settling internal conflict. For more info, call 267-629-2189 or visit ConcentratedCoaching.NET.