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Writer's Paralysis The Opposite of Writer's Block

Updated on October 27, 2015
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Been Thinking All Night

I am tired. I have been thinking all night. I should have gotten up and written my thoughts down, but I didn't. Now there are so many thoughts I can't write. There are so many parts of the story floating in my mind that nothing is getting written. This is writers paralysis at it's worst. Unlike writer's block where you can't think of anything to write about You have plenty to write, but you are overwhelmed by the amount of material. You freeze like a deer in the headlights. How do you stop this cycle? A friend once advised me the best way out of writer's block was to write. Write?

Come along and I will lead you through my adventure out of writer's paralysis.

Writer's Paralysis

This is my term for not being able to focus.

Woke With A Start And Too Many Thoughts

Thought my sinus had finally unclogged and were running. Went to grab a tissue and noticed it was blood running from my nose. So I have to get up and change the bed. I pre-treat the stain on the sheets and mattress pad. Then wait for the treatment to work. While I am waiting I have a cup of tea and read for awhile. The mind keeps wandering away from the text. Hunger draws me to the kitchen, where the idea of taking morning medication wanders across my mind. A banana and hard boiled egg will keep the pill from making me sick. Then I remember large amounts of water must be taken with this pill. I get a bottle of water. Decide its time to walk the dogs. Meet a neighbor at the park. Her dog is a well behaved Aussie cattle dog who likes to herd my Border Collie McNab dogs. It perplexes her that my dogs don't understand they should act like cattle. My dogs ignore their friend today, ignore the ball and go wandering across the field. These are fixated on the "ball" dogs who walked away, and ignored their friend. They ignore me until the others leave and we concentrate on chuck the ball and retrieve, Then we play steal the ball. Bandit isn't as good a catcher as Joe, so he will watch for a chance to steal it. Once he has the ball he runs to the opposite side of the park. Now we are back to normal

Unless you want to write a novel or a hub.

Thinking

My mind never seems to stop thinking. Thinking, thinking, thinking of all the things I want/need/ must do. The list is always so long it never ends. Today is a nice and quiet day. The grands are with their other grand parents, so there will be no "Want to go to the Dog Park" texts that I can't refuse. The decision to not worry about my health, and go to Alaska on Tuesday has been made. "It's a Go". I cannot have any treatments. My platelets are too low. I will worry about cancer later.

In the meantime there is a driving urge to write about the stunning events leading me to the Yukon Delta of Alaska. I walk into the bathroom and notice the counter and sink need cleaning. Out comes the cleanser and sponge then the thought "One thing at a time until completed,"comes to mind. Yes, that is what I need to do. One thing until completed. All the while thinking of things that need to be written. Grab a notebook and begin to write in long hand. There will be no computers for three weeks. Pen and paper to write on needs to go on the list. Our electronic notebook, which would have been perfect, met with a horrible end. Should I go buy another one? Husband would think that was fun. I don't want to spend the money.

The pen skips and writing isn't fast enough to get all the thoughts down. While looking for another pen the bedclothes shout,"Put us in the washer". Frustrated writing with a pen, I start the computer. Decided to check email to see if any need immediate attention. Delete! Then start a hub about the events leading up to this Alaska trip, but can't decide if the whole thing is too personal or if people need to hear about it. What should the title be? Finally decide the crazy cycle has got to end. What do you do when everything you see shouts, "Squirrel" and you follow it like a hound dog?

STOP

Breath in breath out! Follow me out of writers paralysis.

Healthy Fact About Mt. Dew

Water and orange juice are the first and third ingredients in Mt. Dew.

Get Your Mind And Body Going The Same Speed

It is imperative to get your mind and body synchronized. Bodies just don't move as fast as thoughts. For me a cup of coffee goes a long way toward speeding the body and slowing the mind. No coffee? Mountain Dew works well too. The shock and awe my drinking a Mountain Dew cause my children is worth it sometimes. Their mother who eats more vegetables in a day than most people do in a week drinking a Mt. Dew. The world must be ending.

Write Those Squirrel Thoughts Down

Write down the themes of what you are thinking. When I am this hyper a white board works splendidly. The surface is smooth and the pen flows smoothly. If you make a mistake erase. Don't worry about order, you can prioritize later.

When you are hyper,what you write with makes a difference. Writing is a way of organizing your thoughts; it is not good if your writing equipment is distracting you.

As a teacher it used to drive me crazy when a child repeatedly asked to sharpen his pencil. Researchers discovered kids aren't always being bratty, trying to disrupt the class when they sharpen their pencil repeatedly. The change in the angle of a regular #2 pencil lead nearly drives a kid with attention problems crazy. The solution is a computer, mechanical pencil or pen.

Simple Ideas For Removing Clutter

Pick a small place that needs to be purged. It may be all you have time to do is:

  • Toss the dishes into the dishwasher.
  • Organize one shelf of a book case
  • Do something quick on from your thought list.
  • Organize the electrical cords around your computer

Get Rid Of The Clutter

Write down your thoughts! Write your thoughts in shorthand. Be brief. Get the thoughts in solid form on a paper, computer, or white board. Then your mind is cleared out and able to focus on one thing through to completion.

Sometimes you need to physically get rid of stuff.

Secrets Of Success

Success

Success builds success. Jumping from thought to thought keeps you from accomplishing your goal. The commencement speech at University of Texas 2014 is a wonderful list of ideas for accomplishing great things. The speaker is U.T. alumni, Admiral McRaven. For the first time in all the years I have been around the military I have never heard why making your bed was so important. Admiral McRaven lets us in on the secret.

Focus

Now that you have had a motivational talk from the Admiral:

  • Pick one thought from your list.
  • Write a brief outline.
  • Follow your outline; write until you have nothing else to say. If you are tempted to get up or do something else talk to yourself out loud.
  • Tell yourself to focus! That you are not going to move until your are done. Talking is an excellent way of forming thoughts.

When you have completed your project congratulate yourself. Sometimes the act of focusing on one thing is difficult. Be be sure to give yourself a reward when you are successful.

Sometimes those squirrel thoughts lead to completely different hubs than originally planned.

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    • Sparrowlet profile image

      Katharine L Sparrow 21 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Great advice! I've had that problem before, though not as often as the other way around! Focus is the most important thing, and writing your thoughts down, even if they are disjointed at first. You can go back to it and pick up a thread to focus on. Nice hub!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      You and me both, Judy. I guess it's not easy especially when we have so may other things going on that are more important. When we have the time, I am sure we'll both get to it.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Glenn, now you have me thinking I should practice what I preach. Actually I have been adventuring for nearly a year and its time to get back to work. Thanks for stopping.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I love that term "Writer's Paralysis" that you described. That is exactly the problem I have.

      I have no problem coming up with things to write about and I'm always typing pieces of thoughts into my iPad as they come up, so I can use them later for articles.

      I have a huge list of titles already planned. But as you explained, there are just too many, and it's overwhelming.

      Now you got me thinking. I do always structure my plans by making lists of things that need to be done. But I don't do that with my writing. You got me to realize that I can do that too. I should make a list of what article I will write on a given day and just focus on that and get it done.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      radhikasree, Thank you for visiting and voting.

    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 2 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Clutter always distracts me too. Nice tips to overcome writer's block..thanks for sharing.

      Voted up, useful and interesting. Sharing in Hubpages.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Flourish, I have piles of rough drafts waiting for my return. LOL! Blessings for 2015 as well. It is the year of rest in numerology.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I definitely recognize this. I just try to capture the idea, sometimes in "draft" hubs that will sit there for weeks or longer waiting for me to return. It's best to get it out and return when the mind isn't so busy. Great topic. Have a happy 2015 and may everything good be yours.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      rajan jolly- Good to of you to stop by. Focus and planning are my greatest friends. Paralysis is what happens when I am too busy to do either. Life has slowed down and the planning is going well.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Wonderful hub with a lot of thoughts to chew on and digest. Surely writer's paralysis is as bad as writer's block.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Barbara, The trip was wonderful. The last time I had this much trouble getting ready for a trip I had just graduated from college, was moving 14,000 miles to live on a small island, with a new husband:)

      It's that time of year. I am planning the next trip to Alaska; hopefully it won't be so difficult. I am hoping my much older husband will join me next summer.

      There will be hubs about the trip soon.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      I could feel how you felt when you wrote this. I think you needed to sit down and just relax for a moment. Getting ready for a trip is enough to wind a person up and fill their mind to overflowing. A trip to Alaska! Wow! I'm sure you had a good time.

      My son has an Aussie too and what wonderful dogs. She used to want to herd our dog. Somehow she has lost her instinct now.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Nell, Thank you for visiting. It's not always like this:)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      You must be totally exhausted! my brother is the same, he isn't a writer but his mind goes round and round and trying to get him to focus on the one thing is a nightmare! I will get him to write it down too! lol! maybe I will get a hub out of it!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      ubani, Thanks for visiting. Half my problem is taking too many breaks. Have a great day.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      MarleneB, Making sure my writing area is clean before I go to bed never occurred to me. I will work on it. If only my college student would go to bed and so likewise.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Suzettenaples- Thank you for laughing. Frequently when I get to laughing at myself the creativity comes. The problem with having paper and writing tools in every room is I can't find where I write my good ideas. Shoot I wrote almost an entire hub one day. Took it off the tablet so I wouldn't lose it while traveling and today two years later I still look for it periodically. I have to laugh and feel contrite when I think of all the times I thought my mother was a mess for not organizing better:) She was absolutely wonderful and hopefully I am just like her.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Hi Faith, Sometimes we think we are the only ones and then it turns out there are many. Thanks for reassuring me that I am not alone.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Cyndi10, Thanks for stopping and commenting. Physical activity helps me too:)

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 3 years ago from Georgia

      I have writer's paralysis often. So many ideas!!! I think it's the feeling of not enough time that sometimes gets me so stuck that I have difficulty making a move. Getting rid of the clutter, or just plain physical activity helps me get past the paralysis. Also writing the ideas down and making a timeline helps, as well. Very relevant topic. Well done.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      I am experiencing the same thing! I have plenty of ideas, but I am paralyzed by so many ideas that I cannot get one down to write hub! Thanks for the great hub here full of insight and useful tips to help with this problem! Now, I am some issue with my profile pic not showing up LOL.

      Blessings

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      This is hilarious but I am sure frustrating to you. It is amazing how much housework and cleaning I get done when I have writer 's block or paralysis. I can certainly relate. I have paper and pencil in nearly every room of the house so I can write down writing ideas. I can forget a topic just walking from one room to another. LOL! Thanks for an entertaining hub!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      mrhollywood,

      Thanks for stopping. Un-cluttering the bandwidth definitely is a good solution.

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 3 years ago from Lagos

      Writer's block affects all even the most experienced and successful writers. For me, I let my mind relax and never try to force it. Take a break and when something occurs, write it down. That works for me. :)

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      What a wonderfully written account of some of my longest nights. I didn't know anyone was watching (smiling). Your tips are quite useful. I do find that if I just get up and write stuff down, then I have a better night. When I take time to make sure my writing area is clean before going to bed I have an all-around better day.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      "It is imperative to get your mind and body synchronized." This can be difficult, but you have given some useful thoughts here. Thank you and voted up!

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      This is such a terrific hub that I printed it out. I struggle with Writer's Block and I thank you for your suggestions...so very, very helpful. I watched the whole video, and I took notes. I always make my bed...even if I am in a motel...I cannot stand the sight of an unmade bed.

      Blessings and, again, thank you from my heart. Voted up, useful and awesome. Sparklea

    • misterhollywood profile image

      John Hollywood 3 years ago from Hollywood, CA

      Informative hub. I always have a pen and paper around for ideas. Also, sometimes the desire to write is there but the mind is not. To me, that's an indication to take a break and not try to force it. In other words, if we don't have the bandwidth, rest is required. Wonderful hub - thanks for sharing!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I would definitely take a notebook or laptop to get down your thoughts when your thoughts work like this. Shorthand isn't bad though; always wish I had learned that.

      Well enjoy yourself; and share your thoughts with us. ^+

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Useful--focus can be so difficult, especially for the easily distractable!