Did you try it yet?
On Monday we talked about the powerfully effective, two-front attack on writers block that got me through my writing fears this week.
Today I’m sharing a few of the challenges I encountered with the writers block-busting method I discovered this week that finally got me working daily on that story. The reason I’m sharing these potential challenges is not to be negative but to help you overcome them.
Because every writing method has its challenges, even the one-two punch approach. And it’s stupid, but foreseeing the potential problems kept me from trying the method for longer than I’m proud to admit.
I won’t let that happen to you.
Because when I finally did give this method a shot, it worked so well for my writing that I wish I’d started with it in the first place.
(If you haven’t read part one of the one-two punch writing series yet, go ahead and read it now. I know. We need to work on the name. But, for now, read the article to find out why this approach works with our writer psychology instead of against it.)
So, without further ado…
5 Challenges You May Encounter with The One-Two Punch Writing Approach + How To Overcome Them
#1 When Your Shoulder Strains
So I was in bed because that’s the first step of this writing method. To lie down.
You could stack pillows underneath your head and sit half up. In this position you could still use a notepad or laptop. But I preferred to lay down. For me, it was the best way to relax. But that also meant I had to type each constipated word letter-by-letter into my smart phone with just an index finger.
My shoulder started to complain. So I put a pillow under my elbow to relieve the pressure. Try it. It works.
#2 When The Phone Display Is Too Bright
The light through the window went dark from moving cloud cover. Which made my phone display shine like a mini migraine-laser. Take the time to adjust the brightness setting if this is a problem for you too.
#3 When You Want To Fall Asleep
The fan was blowing, and the sound lulled me. My eyes started to burn and then closed. This is what pulled me back from falling asleep: I had to write 50 words.
That’s the second half of this method, and it’s important. It’s the task that kept my mind present. This minimal, teensy-tiny, so-accomplishable goal kept my mind awake and alert. Here’s where this writing method is a two-front attack.
The next problem? What to write about.
#4 When You Don’t Know What To Write
Here is the magic behind the method. I lay down to write, which helped me stay relaxed. And the goal to write 50 words kept me awake.
The two steps combined and alchemized. My protagonist appeared from the ether. Just a piece of him. A nose and one eye. Then his frowning mouth. A question surfaced.
Why was he frowning?
Barstools appeared. Bottles lined a mirrored wall. A TV played news overhead. Or ESPN. He was bored with the channel. But he was avoiding something, so he stayed.
I picked up my phone, opened Evernote, and started typing.
#5 When Two-Finger Typing Is Too Slow
Pretty soon my index finger couldn’t keep up with the flow of images. I struggled to get thoughts into text. Typos and backspacing. So I hit that little image that looks like a microphone. And I spoke the sentences aloud instead.
It wasn’t perfect. I had to annunciate every syllable. Every letter. Some things the talk-to-text software couldn’t get right. Unfamiliar words and phrases misspelled. Words autocorrected into other words. I touched one and waited for the select button to appear. Dragged the cursor to highlight an entire sentence. Typed it out manually.
It forced me to slow down. To annunciate each syllable. To consider each image. And identify the best parts before I could speak them slowly into existence.
It turned out that the challenges helped me write better in the end because I had to slow down. Maybe they will for you too.
Did you have any problems with the one-two punch writing approach that I didn’t cover here? Tell me about it in the comments.
Share the problem and what you did to overcome it. Because someone else may have had the same problem and could use your help with it.
Otherwise, enjoy building your writing practice with the one-two punch approach. And see that marvelous WIP grow like you always knew it could.
This article was part two of a two-part series. You can read part one right here.
Problem #1: No phone. No Kindle Fire. No tablet. Just a big honking laptop. I do most of my writing – no – I spend most of my day (every day) on my bed with pillows stacked up against the headboard and a very old laptop being, well, a laptop. I can’t really lie down with it, so the next option is going literal. Use the notebook. However, my writing style is more of a “reflect and portray” kind of style. So if most of my work on a story is on my laptop, I have a hard time continuing where I left off. It may seem silly. How can I forget what I wrote last? I was the one who wrote it! Well, when you have as many story ideas and aspiring books that all connect to each other as I do, you get lost really easily. You have to read it again to remember even the more important details.
However, despite all this, I really want to try the 50 word goal. I may feel confined to writing only 50 words and no more even though I want to, but I’m just going to have to tell my OCD to shove off. I haven’t been reading a lot on writing, and your idea really did reach through, unlike most.
So I just wanted to say you are appreciated by at least me. I might also add that I am impressed because your idea could relate to me, unlike most. I’m not often impressed. 😉
Mandy Wallace says
Sounds like a challenge, Zoe. I’m glad this could help.
Big help for me is using 3×5 cards to write plot points down and details like eye color or traits. That wsy I can keep going and have something mapped out.
Hmmmmm…perhaps I’ll…okay, I’ll do 50 words. Getting writing device, putting prop-pillows on standby and lying down now.
Mandy Wallace says
Awesome lol 😀
These “challenges” cracked me up! They’re so silly/simple/small/imaginary! And then I remembered that yeah, they are but they’re also why I opened up the first post – because I’m full of these silly/simple/imaginary “challenges” that keep me from writing. And I’m tired of letting them win. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Mandy, being full of self doubt, I will definitely try this method. At 78 years old, my biggest hurdle to overcome is “you are an old woman, you may not even finish writing a book in your lifetime” also ” I have a great story but I don’t know how to portray it” !!! Hopefully I will be able to tell you later that your method works.
I’m rooting for you, Barbara!
Pinky Anicete says
For months… errr okay for more than a year now, I’ve been researching for ways to get myself to write and overcome my fear of writing. I told myself I “want” to write and I AM a writer but I couldn’t push myself to write everyday that I started to question if I really want it or just the idea of it.
Become a lifelong learner.
Read tons of books.
Just write anything.
Those are the most common advices and I did all of them. I’ve read tons of books, consider myself as a lifelong learner and have written a few blog articles although I must admit I can be better by becoming more consistent and practice them in my daily life.
Anyways, today after reading your blog post, I gave your approach a shot and guess what?
I was able to write 2 short notes on Evernote: 1st: 151 words 2nd: 312 words! I know I know… not a big deal for some but hey I’m really happy about it! Woohoo!
I love the fact that I exceeded 50 words because it only means that I can actually write and I must not fear it!
I must say your one two punch method worked for me. I hope to use it daily from now on. Listen, thank you for sharing this technique, Mandy!
P.S. I might need to count the words I’ve written in this comment and give myself a pat on the back for implementing your method right away!
P.P.S. I’ve got suggestions for the title. How about these?
* Index Finger Writing Technique
* The Lie Down Method
* The 50 Technique
Brilliant! You’re amazing, Pinky! And I love the title ideas too.
Mandy, I am desperate to write again! I get so distracted easily and having chronic nerves doesn’t help me write. But I noticed that I can maybe write the beginning and end of an idea/story. It’s the middle part and connections to form “the sandwich” that totally throws me off. What should I do? Help! 🙁
M Wallace says
I’m a big fan of Shawn Coyne’s Storygrid. It’s definitely helped me make sense of my story’s middle act. Good luck!
Laura Jo says
Just wanted to tell you I got addicted to your blog. I will definitely try this approach. Even as I read your article, I couldn’t believe how simple yet effective this method is. I’d now because it happened to me before that I started taking quick notes in bed (just as you said, the best time for ideas!) and ended up writing until my arm went limb. Love your other articles, too. Keep up the good work!
M Wallace says
I’m delighted to hear it worked so well for you, Laura! And thank you!