Keep a list of low stakes activities that interest you. Star the ones about which you’re reasonably sure you’ll never have to care what other people think of your performance in them.
You know how they say that depression isn’t always about feeling sad, and anxiety isn’t always about feeling anxious? What if the adjectives you think of when you’re most critical of your work aren’t about feeling those things? (If you’ve done fear to death, skip it this time.)
Switch from typing or whatever you’re doing to big, fast, maybe-even-goes-through-the-paper, don’t-worry-about-legibility-deciphering-is-for-later handwriting. Think like you’re leaving an angry note on someone’s windshield but also, you definitely don’t want them coming back to their car and finding you in the middle of writing that note. If your notebook or paper looks more beat up when you’re done with a session, you’re doing it right. If you really want to go for it, do all of this in those notebooks you have that are too nice to use.
Quit writing for a day. Be a civilian. Avoid the Internet, if you need to. The energy you usually put into the whole writer thing? Put it somewhere else like cleaning the house, Duolingo, jigsaw puzzles, horror movies, falling in love. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it, hard, when you forget and think about your good story or someone else’s bad story. Say: It’ll all be there tomorrow.
If you quit writing for longer than a day, choose a day when you’ll think about coming back, just in case.
Ditch one thing that writers are known to hold dear. Some possibilities: Morning pages. Contests. Graduate school. Alcohol. Running. An entire genre. Don’t judge. Just ditch.
Get closer. Closer than that, even.
Looks funny? Back up, pick another place, repeat.
Four part prompt. Spend at least five minutes on Part 1. Add 15 minutes to every part after that. Extra points for honesty and, as always, detail.
- What is the writing goal that you want to achieve the most?
- Write about the day you find out you have achieved the goal in Part 1.
- Write about the event you get the most recognition for having achieved the goal in Part 1.
- Write about the morning after Part 3.