I have read the gospel according to Chuck Palahniuk. Fight Club, he calls it. I have read it and sort of believe it; I have gone into its murky waters and emerged a new soul. New, revived and believing that my days of weak knees and working overtime are over. I am done agonizing over deadlines, and you can too. We shall base our solution on the Fight Club gospel, which is so wonderful not to be shared with you, my dear beloveds.
Many times, you have a deadline or several deadlines to beat. It’s nine in the morning, and you have close to 10k words to deliver by dusk – yet you don’t have the foggiest of ideas where to start. It feels like your cranium has been evacuated, and in its place there’s a block of ice. Or wood. Or nothingness. Your head is a block of unintelligent inanimate substance; writer’s block.
And if Writer’s block isn’t the worst, there are endless emails and a nagging phone that can’t seem to remain on the hook. You become sweaty and wobbly every time you look at the buzzer marking your impeding deadline. You can almost feel the impatient tapping of your client’s foot. You stare at the blank page on the screen for hours on end, and when you finally type the first sentence, you quickly succumb to the ‘saving grace’ of the backspace key. Your creative juices have never been so sour.
Here’s the magic. Here’s how to beat the twin demons of writers block and deadlines.
Fight Club has rules.
“The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule is the same.” – Chuck
You need to have rules with your writing. Say, for example, the number of uninterrupted hours that you need to spend daily writing. This is time that no one is supposed to distract you. No mails, no calls, just you, a pen and some paper.
Allocate time depending on the amount of work, and then find the time of the day when you write best and stick to it.
Sure, writing is about creativity, and creativity is about spontaneity. This may contradict the whole idea of rules and guidelines, but creativity comes to the calm mind, and you can only get a calm mind when you know you have ample and uninterrupted time to work.
Every Saturday night, they have fight club. At a designated bar, at a designated time. Two guys to a fight, one fight at a time, and if it’s your first time, you MUST fight. When fighting you don’t think too much. You just fight. But before the actual fight, there is training and strategizing – planning that is.
This makes it much like writing. You just go where your mind takes you. Nevertheless, you need to have a plan; otherwise you end up overdoing things, or digressing too much.
There’s this thing that they say, that to fail to plan is to plan to fail. It’s a true thing. The thing about planning what you’re going to write is that it gives you confidence. It shows you that you do indeed know a lot about your content subject, and that should set you in your groove. Not that we’re saying that it should all be planned out; there’s plenty of room for spontaneity. But planning gets you started, and that’s what we need most of the time, to get our motors revving.
Sometimes, staring at the screen doesn’t do much good. You need to go get inspired. This could mean watching a YouTube video of babies laughing, or going for a short walk. Whatever tickles your fancy, take a (short) break from your writing. We find inspiration in the strangest of places and maybe you just need to go find your muse.
Take care though, for there is a demon that comes under the disguise of break: procrastination. Procrastination is the thief of time, so they say. But with the rules and planning, you can take a million breaks a get away with it.
There you have it, a few tips to stay on top of your game, and beat all those deadlines. It is simple; set your own WORK rules, plan ahead, and take a few breaks to keep your creative genius going.
Editor’s Note: Post from Our Contributing Writer.