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Discover what keeps you from being a writer

Take a look inside: that's where all the answers are

You can do better, way better, and you know it. You see what you want to write clearly in your mind. But somewhere in the way, you loose it, and you feel really bad about it. You sit in front of the computer, or the white page, and you end up cleaning the house or eating sweets compulsively. I know the feeling, because I've been there too many times. Until I discovered why that kept happening, and (most important) what I could do about it. Let me show you how to end with the writers block once and for all!

The key to productive writing

Here are some good news. You don't need to go on retreat, you don't need a sabbatical, you don't need isolation or silence. The answer is within you, you just need to be brave enough to aknowledge your processes.

Getting to know your inner yous and explore your fears is the key to success

Once you're less scared you will start to really use the the time you've allotted for your writing.

You might be thinking: "What the hell is this woman talking about? I have only got one me". Well, think about them as archetypes. Whichever word works best for you. But belive me, they are there, and the sooner you get to know them, the best.

The four fighters that live inside your head

They work with you when you're writing, doesn't matter what: an academic paper, a novel, a blog post ... All have their strenghths and flaws, and all of them are necessary to keep balance and overcome fear.

So, let me introduce you to your worst enemies and your future best friends: the four archetypes or yous[1]:

  • The Artist: is the one that has the ideas. He is volatile, childish, selfish and very bright. He loves chaos and mess. We tend to suppress him, with:
  • The Censor: he is the opposite. He is the one that helps you organize your ideas, but also puts limits to your imagination. What he fears the most is losing control and unknown situations.
  • The Procrastinator: he wants to work, but is full of fears: of failure, of success, of not being able, of not being loved, you know what I'm talking about. He is mostly afraid of the films made by:
  • The Perfectionist: he is constantly making films about how perfect things should be, he is a bit of a megalomaniac and scares the hell out of the Procrastinator.

How to handle your team

The first reaction when you discover what's going on is to love the poor Artist and the Procrastinator and hate the mean Censor and the Perfectionist. But that's not the way to work with them, at all. Because they ALL mean well, and they ALL have a purpose and a place in the creative process. The problem is not the fact that they are there. That is normal. The problem is that they are unbalanced and out of control.

Prove of what I say about hating the Censor that is the book Your inner critic is a big jerk, written by Danielle Krysa. It is a wonderful book: funny, insightful and really useful, BUT, she talks really badly about the Censor, that's not the answer. I'll explain you why.

We tend to forget that ALL the archetypes are YOU. They are a part of you, weather you like it or not. And, what's most important: they will ALWAYS be there. That's the reason why hating one or more of them is not the answer. Because doing so, you are hurting yourself and sooner or later you'll be back on the starting point: sad, lonely and frustrated. What's the answer then? Keep reading, it's quite easy!

Understand their mission

The four archetypes are there for a reason. Once you understand this, all becomes easier.

  • The Artist is here to create.
  • The Censor is here to make those creations beautiful and flawless.
  • The Perfectionist is here to imagine, to make you dream and improve constantly.
  • The Procrastinator is here to remind you that you're human and that it is ok to be so.

Respect the creative process

The problem is simpler than you might think. We get blocked because we work with all our team screaming at the same time. And it doesn't work like that. For you to listen to each one of them, they need to speak one by one, in the following order:

  1. The Artist needs to take out the ideas in his messy and chaotic way. Allow him 30', or less, to just express himself and write whatever you feel like writing.
  2. Then the Censor might want to take a look at it and tell you what needs to be redone, organized, cut or erased.
  3. The Perfectionist will always show you new ways, or better ways to improve your work.
  4. The Procrastinator will help you know when those dreams are too big for you.

How to apply all this

Easier said than done, uh? Let's see what can you do once you know what goes on in your head.

  • Plan different sessions, of 30' each: one for the Artist, and the other for the Censor.
  • Make your plans with the Perfectionist, but listen to your Procrastinator and rest without guilt when you feel too tired.

I will show you more techniques to re-educate your inner yous. For now, I'm glad to have introduced them to you. So, what I recommend is to just stay aware of how your mind works while you write.

[1] This characters come from Cameron, J.: The Artist's way, and Fiore, N.: The Now Habit.

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