Coach Marla Beck

How to Stop the Spin Cycle

by Marla

in brilliant productivity

Got an unfinished novel in the drawer?  An important creative project you’d love to bring into being?

If you’re finding it tough to work on your own creative projects in the midst of life, work or freelancing, you are not alone.  Many of my coaching clients come to me with exactly the same struggle.

There are lots of ways writers and creative people get themselves stuck.

Here’s one of the most common:

 “I don’t know what to work on.”

You don’t know what to work on?

Fair enough.  (Sort of.)

If you’re a writer or creative professional with a lot of interests, you’re not alone.  One of my favorite parts about working with a new coaching client is helping them to sort through their metaphoric “file drawers.”

Together, we name all the various projects they’ve started on or considered.  And it’s not uncommon for me to hear a writer talk rather passionately about a variety of projects: a novel-in-progress, personal essay, a non-fiction book idea…  Others tell me about a visual art project, book proposal and non-profit they want to pursue.

While it’s terrific to have an abundance of ideas and interests, let’s talk about the downside.

“Too many ideas” becomes a problem when you’re stuck flitting back and forth between  your projects.  You get stuck in a spin cycle, so undecided or overwhelmed that serious creative traction eludes you.

Worse, when you can’t move your projects forward, you start to feel really bad about your lack of progress.  Your projects remain undone.  You blame yourself.

All this suffering can be avoided.

The easiest way to get out of the spin cycle is to allow yourself to let go of mental static and indecision…2 short weeks at a time.

I call this strategy the “14-day decision.”  Here’s how to get started.

The 14-Day Decision 

The purpose of a “14-day decision” is to get you back in the rhythm and flow of your writing.  It’s  pretty straightforward and deceptively simple tactic.  The key succeeding with it is to focus only on the process of writing.  A clear and strategic “14-day decision” takes care of indecision because you make a conscious choice — for just 2 weeks — to table any big decisions about what to write or work on and when.

My clients love this tool because it’s easy and fun to use.  If you’re stuck and ready to get out of the struggle, I think you’ll appreciate it, too.

Here are a few simple steps to get you started.

Step 1.  Pick a single project.  (For best results, choose the project you’re feeling most passionate about.  Don’t worry about whether it’s the best choice.  Just select a project and be done with it.)

Step 2.  Decide how often you’ll sit down to work on this single project.

Step 3.  Stick to your plan for 14 days – no straying from this project to another, no matter what.

Step 4.  I guarantee you’ll question my advice and your selection during this two-week period.  So here’s what to do when your mind tries to take you off-track:

  • Expect to get flak from yourself, and make the decision to move on. (The point here is to get into consistent action.)
  • Challenge yourself to stay focused for just a few days.  Practice allowing  yourself to succeed.

Step 5.  Mark a date 2 weeks out on your calendar.  On that day, tally up the hours you’ve worked and check in to see how you feel.

The point of this exercise is to practice cutting the “spin cycle” off cleanly and completely — at least for awhile.  This allows you to reclaim your mindset and form a new, productive habit.

Best of all, when you take charge and take action to cut the spin cycle, you’ll start feeling more capable, energized and productive.

A confident, creative and productive future awaits you.  Make the decision to try this tool today.

Want more secrets to moving your book or big project forward?  Click here to learn how to honor your own deadlines.

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