Just do it: How to overcome the biggest barrier to fiction writing

Just do it: How to overcome the biggest barrier to fiction writing

Sitting down at a laptop, a notepad or a typewriter for an extended period of time is a challenge.

How are you meant to turn off the outside world? How are you meant to focuson one thing for so long, especially when all we want to do is check phones, bite nails and make more coffee.

Distraction is all too present, and I’m spending my time doing everything in my power to stop myself from writing.

I haven’t published on Medium in a long while. Truth be told, I’m not sure why. Maybe I was uninspired. Maybe I still am. But is that a good enough excuse to stop writing? Is that a real reason to quit on something?

If you really want to write, there are no excuses

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I make up (ahem) ‘good’ excuses to not write.

‘I need a new website first.’

‘I should clean up before I put some time aside to write.’

‘I should have a shower and make some coffee first.’

I’m tired. Maybe I’ll take a nap and then write.’

We’ve all been there. That’s that’s not a bad place to be.

Excuses are signs of burnout

If you’re making excuses, you’re probably worn out. Nobody can be expected to write all the time. Even the best writers didn’t have the stamina to push on day and night.

Sleep is important.

Time away from writing and a screen is invaluable.

Standing up is important.

How are you expected to think up new ideas, new articles, new blog posts, new book ideas and new short stories if you don’t give yourself the space you need around writing?

Just do it: Take time away from writing

The issue with time off is that we think it’s unproductivie, that we could and should be using that time to write and ‘progress’.

Truth is, if you take periods of concentrated downtime, you’ll return to your work more productive and more creative.

It’s guaranteed.

When I use the Nike slogan ‘Just do it’, what I mean is don’t find yourself in that space of limbo where you’re trying to take a break from writing but you’re not completely switching off. Instead, you’re itching to go back to your work but you know that you need to rest.

Just go and do anything else, for however long you need to do it for until you either strike gold with an idea you need to write down, or until you feel motivated to write again.

Stepping away from your work is just as important as the work itself.