Writing Pitfalls – The Pressure Trap

We live in a very competitive, goal-oriented society. It’s great to have goals and push for what you want but you can fall into the trap of losing your passion very quickly and feeling unmotivated and directionless.

For some writer‘s competing is part of their passion and is a necessary part of their aims. For many other writer’s pressure can feel too much like a straight-jacket, blocking their creativity, destroying what they enjoyed about writing in the first place and de-motivating them to an extreme.

I have a constant struggle with this side of myself. There’s a side to me that demands freedom and there’s a side to me that says `get it done’.

Yet the more I’m told I have to do something, the stronger I feel about not doing it. I seem to run in the opposite direction from pressure, it having the opposite intended effect on me.

So, how do we stay on track, as writers, without succumbing to this trap.

One way is to avoid excessively planning, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts. You need to find the balance between allowing your mind it’s freedom while still navigating towards your ambitions. Have an idea of where you are heading without obsessing about how you get there. This allows planning but flexibility and helps you adjust when your plans go awry.

Another way is to nudge rather than push yourself, when you’re feeling unmotivated but need to get something finished. You do this by telling yourself to finish smaller goals. Think of it as:

`The Five minute Rule.’

You start writing with a very small goal in mind that you know you can achieve yet still requires effort (say a sentence or 5 minutes writing) and then stop when it feels too much. The next time you push yourself a little more by thinking `come on, just five more minutes, just another few lines, just another page’ etc, etc. This is a way of gentle pushing that can re-motivate you and make you feel like you’re back on track.



2 thoughts on “Writing Pitfalls – The Pressure Trap

  1. Thanks for the writing strategy. I’ve got a similar strategy for movie watching, since they’re are way to many movies to see and just not enough times. We’ll say, “Want to 5 minutes this one?”…

    Never thought to apply the concept to writing and I’ll definitely give it a go.

    I definitely agree with your contention between setting hard goals and just letting the creativity flow when it wants to. Unfortunately both don’t seem to be a silver bullet in getting great content onto the page. By setting goals you’re stifling creative thought, but waiting for creative thoughts nothing ever gets written – where do we find the balance?

    Thanks for another tool for the toolbox.

  2. Pingback: My Unofficial Writing Rules « bardicblogger

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