What do an elliptical, a mess and BB-8 have in common?

Color me crazy, but they’ve helped me – by accident at first – hit deadlines, unleash creativity and focus. In other words, ditch writer’s block.

If you grapple with this, check out the following 5 blocks and crazy ways to ditch them. To help you sort through them, I have a game for you…

Let’s play Girl, You’re Crazy. But I Might Like It.

How to play:

  1. Read each of my crazy ways to ditch a block and the alternatives.
  2. Forget the “Girl, You’re Crazy” ones.
  3. Note any “But I might like it” ways.
  4. Pick one of these. Make it your own. And run with it this week.

Here we go…

1. No time? Dump home internet

Do you struggle to unearth enough writing time? Me too, but far less since…

I canceled home internet. Yep, you read that right.

Last year my wi-fi suddenly kicked out on a regular basis. A parade of service guys could only solve the issue temporarily. Yet my provider ran into no problems when jacking up the price.

Since I live in a building with limited options, I dumped it altogether. This freed up writing time.

Lego guy jack hammers a modemMagic!

Not really. No home wi-fi leaves my favorite Netflix shows to watch themselves. And I can no longer give into urges to pop online for a never-that-quick research mission. Plus I now batch internet activity.

Yep, I get online. I’m lucky. I have access in my building’s cyber lounge.

If you’re thinking, “Must be nice to have access to a cyber lounge.” It is. But I prefer to access wi-fi at coffee shops, the library, hotel lobbies and my climbing gym. Where could you go?

You could make like my friends M & P who book date nights at McDonald’s for wi-fi access.

To nutty? Gotcha.

Alternatives:

  • Batch internet activity. And pay a penalty for impulsively popping online.
  • Unplug your modem during writing time.
  • Check out these apps:

2. Smartphone distractions? Adopt a BB-8

Have you ever put your phone out of reach, only to have it make its way back into your hands?

Once it’s within reach I find myself hitting the home button every nano-second to check the time. This inevitably leads me down the rabbit hole to my inbox.

Then last foggy Christmas Eve…

Santa brought me the best distraction-buster, ever! A BB-8.

During my first post-holiday writing session, I couldn’t focus, and ended up sending my new app-enabled source of mirth out on patrol – think Rumba in droid form. His chatter-filled beeps, followed by groans after bumping into stuff lightened my mood, allowing me to focus.

The next time I reached for my phone, I realized I’d have to shut down my new office-mate to check the time or email. No way, man.

Whenever my smartphone tempts me with distractions, I send BB-8 out on patrol.

Not into adopting a BB-8? Okay.

You sure? Seems kinda looney. But I’m cool with it.

Alternatives:

  • Stash your smart-devices somewhere you don’t frequent or avoid – the trunk of your car, laundry room, attic, etc.
  • Install a web browser & social media blocking app like Freedom.

3. Procrastinating? Put something precious on the line

If you’re avoiding a project or wait until the last nanosecond to face a dreaded writing phase, we could face-off in the tomorrowism Olympics.medals

For this event we’d put something we cherish on the line. I’d choose my go-to stress reliever, rock climbing. Why? Because it worked in the past – like the time I finally ended my run away from social media.

Before launching Write 50, I’d get Facebook updates at the water cooler. Since I can’t meet you in person, I decided to embrace social media. Yet, this lived at the bottom of my to-do list.

Then I made a game of it. And put a week’s worth of rock climbing on the line as a penalty for losing. It worked. How come?

Because I didn’t want to disappoint my climbing partner or miss out on my favorite activity.

If penalties don’t resonate, why not put a prize, such as a family outing, favorite restaurant or splurge on the line? Set a deadline. Announce the game. And go.

Wanna know what’s really cuckoo about this one? Collecting the prize if you don’t win the game.

Alternative:

Hmmm. Let’s see. I’ve been playing Ditch The Block challenges so long, I’ve got nothing. So…

I double-dog dare you to share one in the comments section below. A comment enters you in a drawing for a free Ditch The Block challenge. Your pick:)

4. Paralyzing deadline? Hit the gym.

Psst. If you’re allergic to the gym, sprint to the alternatives, below.

What do you do when a project isn’t coming together and the possibility of missing a deadline looms overhead?

I start clearing my calendar. The first to go? Fitness sessions. Then one day, I couldn’t solve a doozy of a copy problem and surrendered to missing the deadline.

So I dragged my frazzled butt to my building’s gym for a 10-minute elliptical session to sweat out my frustration. I hit stop at 40 minutes. What?

Yep, my mind had wandered off to solve the problems I’d been beating my head against for hours. Get this. I ran upstairs, plugged in the fixes and hit my deadline, with time to spare. Insane!

Still allergic to the gym? Gotcha.

tire swingsGet-out-of-your-head alternatives:

  • Take a walk.
  • Run a quick errand.
  • Engage in a nostalgic activity.

Race ya to the swings!

5. Missing Creativity? Make a mess

missing creativity on the side of a milk cartonPerhaps our creativity ran off together. But where and why? I discovered…

My creativity flees if my writing area is too neat. Bonkers, I know. Not one of my mentors recommends anything less than a well-organized workspace.

Besides, I grew up in a clutter-free household. Our home was so immaculate, it could accommodate a pop-up Better Homes And Garden photo shoot at any moment. As a result clutter in my place stresses me out.

Yet, my inner child – or creative self – craves chaos. You got it, kiddo!

Pssst. If you give into a messy workspace, make sure necessary reference materials are visible before your session. Before doing this, I hemorrhaged hours looking for them during precious writing time.

Is a messy writing space too off the rocker? Okay.

Alternative:

Lure creativity back with an activity you both enjoy. Visual arts, music and cooking come to mind.

That’s the game. How did it go? I double-dog dare you to share your thoughts in the comments section below. You can win a free Ditch The Block 7-day challenge.

Block-ditching Resources:

SelfControl, which blocks distracting websites and mail servers

FocusBooster, a timer and activity tracker

Freedom, a web browser & social media blocking app

Write 50’s  Ditch The Block 7-Day Challenges

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