Unstick Your Project (4)

It’s easy to get stuck on a project. The morass of writer’s block is especially threatening in the midst of a sprint like Nanowrimo. There are a few strategies to prevent, heal, or steamroll this danger, though. So don’t worry.


A lot of anxiety and unproductive hours can be circumvented with preparation. Banishing your editor at the outset, fully committing, and setting up a healthy balance of work and play are fairly typical requirements of completing a big project.

Julia Cameron’s Artist Dates are one behavior to incorporate to your life to ensure that your writing doesn’t simply drain your creative energy. Artist Dates help to replenish that energy as it is spent on the page. Weekly, solitary, relaxing activities that are planned especially for your inner creative child work.

This healthy life balance is important, too. Healthy routines can go a long way to recharging drained energy. Installing these routines before embarking on a project can be vital.


Committing to spending the time with your butt in the chair must be a part of your plan, too. As Anne Lamott says in “Getting Started,” the first chapter in Bird by Bird, “You sit down….” She goes on: “You clear a space for the writing voice.” You must steamroll the resistance, overpower its will, and show up at the page.

Accept that some days it will be a struggle, and you may spend your allotted writing time staring at a blank page. Or refuse to accept the blankness of the page and fill it with whatever nonsense is in your mind. The process is work, and you must make the space for the magic to happen.


Natalie Goldberg has a great chapter in Writing Down the Bones for when you are stuck, feeling glum, isolated, desiccated. “Every Monday” describes her weekly writing date with a friend, and wanders through several anecdotes to illustrate the value of relationships.

I firmly believe in the interconnection of the universe. Hearing this reminder revitalizes lost energy. Don’t just think about what you’re doing, but keep in mind how you do it, how you approach the process, and the values that are important to you as you do it. It can be easy to focus too closely on the what.


Taken from Goldberg’s “Every Monday” this prompt can be fun to do with others. Writing in silence, then reading to each other. Set the timer for ten minutes and don’t stop your pen moving once you start it. Begin by listing, but let your writing voice guide where you go. Start with the words: “I am a friend to…” and list only inanimate objects. As Goldberg reminds us to “step outside ourselves when we are stuck too deep into ourselves.” That’s usually exactly what’s wrong when we get stuck on a project.