[Tipster] Procrastinate Your Way Out of a Writing Block

tipster post Aug 05, 2022

If I’m scrubbing a toilet at 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon, I’m likely procrastinating. 
 
I’m an expert procrastinator, especially when it comes to writing. 
 
I love-hate writing like I love-hate running.
 
It takes more energy lacing my sneakers than it does to actually run my route. My dread lifts as I move forward – one breathless step at a time.
 
And you can’t buy the endorphin rush and pride that a run rewards you with.
 
Still sometimes I never make it to my sneakers. I say, “Tomorrow.”
 
What Moves Your Writing Forward
 
It’s the same with writing. Writing never feels easy. At least not for me. 
 
Even writing Tipster on occasion sends me to the laundry pile. 
 
Yes, I’ve fooled myself into believing that matching socks—most of which lost its pair somewhere between the feet and the dryer—is less painful than writing.  
 
But nothing feels quite so satisfying as a finished writing project. Certainly, it’s more satisfying than matching socks, or scrubbing a toilet.
 
On the other hand, procrastination can be a gift. It can actually move your writing forward.
 
Hear me out.
 
Procrastination: A Dose of Dopamine
 
When I procrastinate, it’s usually because my thinking on a topic is too clunky (I haven’t winnowed my idea enough) or too thin (I haven’t done enough research or thinking on the topic).
 
I’m usually spitting out ideas that don’t stick. Or writing and deleting the opening sentence of a paragraph 18 times.
 
When I turn to an activity other than writing, I often break out of the block. 
 
There’s science to it—and why you’ve probably noticed you do some of your best thinking in the shower. 
 
Neuroscientists who have researched creativity found that we are more creative when more dopamine (the chemical responsible for relaxation) is released in our systems.
 
Creativity Surges
 
Here’s how it works. A shower relaxes you, you’re hit with some dopamine, and with it your creativity surges.
 
The same thing happens when I step away from my writing and take a walk down the block, drive to Starbucks, or even fold laundry and clean the toilet.
 
And there’s another thing that happens when you turn from writing to mindless activity.
 
Think about those days when you type, delete, type delete. 
 
And at the end of a two-hour writing session, you have one crummy paragraph.
 
Then you cook dinner or weed the garden, and suddenly your ideas find form. Scientists call this mindless period the “incubation period.” 
 
Your subconscious mind has been grinding all day, and once you let your mind wander, new ideas surface to your consciousness.
 
So do it: Procrastinate to write more creatively and freely. 
 
I’m giving you permission today.
 
So, perhaps in this moment you should… buckle up and procrastinate.