Writing Tips : Don’t get blocked by a post you don’t want to write

 

I’ve written previously about writing and motivation, but I wanted to say something about self-inflicted demotivation, which is something I’ve been guilty of a number of times.

As you will probably know, I write a lot of posts about Oracle technology, but I’m not equally interested in every feature of the Oracle database. Sometimes this is because I just don’t see the point of a feature, and sometimes it is because I simply don’t get to use a feature very much, even if I think it is cool. It can be hard to be motivated to write about something that isn’t jumping out and screaming at you…

Baiting the trap with stupid goals

I often set myself little goals, and sometimes these are my undoing. I might make a list of topics to write about, and the “completionist” part of my brain adds things into the list that I don’t really care about.

For example, I might decide I want to write about all of the SQL new features in version X of the database, but there is something that I’m not interested in, so writing that post is a grind. I want to complete the list, but that one item on the list is not inspiring me…

Now the sensible thing to do it to just miss that post out, and move on, but my stupid head gets locked into finishing the list, and I kind-of cripple my progress by forcing myself to do something I don’t really want to.

A quick example

Something very similar happened to me this week. I had recently written four new posts, which I can’t publish until 23c is out of beta, and I had one more post to complete my list. The subject itself was OK, but there was a lot of setup involved, for very little payback. It felt like hours of work to prove a single sentence. Needless to say I was not highly motivated.

I kept telling myself to move on and do something different, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking about that final tick on the list…

So what did I do? I wasted the week playing Raft on peaceful mode. Just cruising round the sea picking up junk and gathering resources from reefs. I’ve completed the game about 15 times on harder difficulties, but I wanted something mindless to do, rather than face writing that post.

The solution

This is a case of “do as I says, not as I do”, but you really need to avoid situations that you know will block you. Each of us will have different blockers, and different displacement activities we use to distract us, but I bet most of us can spot a pattern that triggers us…

If you find yourself working on a post that is killing you, just walk away. You can always come back to it later…

Check out the rest of the series here.

Cheers

Tim…

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

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