The ‘Should’ Monster

January 19, 2012

Does this little monster tell you that you SHOULD be writing?

Picture this: it’s a bright July morning, and you have the day to yourself. Your perfect writing spot is waiting for pages to be filled. It’s your time. But instead of enjoying this fact, you hear a little monster tell you that you ‘should’ get to the desk, hear him growl at you over your morning coffee; chiding you for taking so long, that you ‘should’ get going; that you are wasting precious writing time. He hurries you to your desk, berating the laptop for taking its time to load up and then when the cursor is flashing, your mind is suddenly blank. And then he starts up again, listing all the projects that you ‘should’ be concentrating on, all the thousands of pages you have to write or interesting blog posts you’ve got ideas for.

This is the ‘should’ monster who, if given attention, or fed with negativity can easily drown out the softly voiced creative flow and stop writers writing. But what can you do about this ‘should’ monster? Here are a few tips and tricks that have helped me:

  • Set a specific (and realistic) time that I will get to the desk and be ready to write. This stops me berating myself for taking too long to get there.
  • Make a priority list of what you are going to work on. I use to help me organise my thoughts, goals and help me determine – What is the most important piece of writing that I can work on right now?
  • Then I use Emotional Freedom Technique “EFT” to get me in the right headspace, keep me there and drown out all the ‘should’ protestations coming from that little gremlin.
  • Sometimes, I also like to listen to an audio meditation to help quieten things down in my head. Nothing heavy, I don’t pretend to be a serene mediator but just do it in my own way. Youtube is a good resource for quick audios that can chill you out.

Despite needing a healthy amount of enthusiasm for our writing along with self-discipline, the mental ‘should’ monster doesn’t help us when it comes to getting into the creative flow. As writers, we often have many projects on the go, whether it’s our own manuscript, blog or paid work that has a deadline. These pens in many pies can often feel overwhelming and feed the ‘should’ monster’s appetite.

But often the best work comes when a writer feels relaxed, is in tune and enjoying being in the creative zone.

What do you have in your mental toolbox to keep you at your writing desk? I find EFT is the most effective resource and have developed a script for you to use when you feel like you ‘should’ be writing. Remember that although EFT is gentle, life often isn’t. And if you get triggered, then keep tapping until the emotional reaction calms down.  Click here for the script and here for a basic guide on EFT.

Happy Writing

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