3 Ways Your Tech Slows Down the Creative Process and How to Counterattack.

Don’t use the wrong tools.

We are living in the digital age and have so many tools at our disposal to make writing easier you’d think it would propose little challenge at all to produce a shiny blog, an engaging book or maybe a sprinkling of short stories. So, why is it that writers still get blocked? Perhaps it’s the tools they’re using to make writing “easier.” Current writing tools meant to help often leave little to the imagination, nothing to keep those creative juices flowing. With everyone using the same online “tools of the trade” and following all the same rules laid, will you really have done all you can to make your work unique and thus more marketable?

Here are three ways that your tech may actually be slowing down the creative process and how to rise above them and finish your magnum opus.

1. Tech is Distracting- Anyone with a social media account can tell you how easy it is to get completely tied up in scrolling around and reading the posts and comments across favorite social media platforms. From kids in grade school to grandma and gramps, we all have at least one platform. As artists, it’s all too familiar to be distracted by life, to be curious about people and to express the way it all leaves us feeling through our medium. Meanwhile, social media itself encourages us to hustle through life and make it all about work. It brings unbidden feelings of guilt every time we tap that bird or log in to Facebook. Maybe we’ll convince ourselves we’re just checking in, real quick. Then six hours and a bag of gummy bears later, we’re trying to figure out how to productively debate, once again, the burning question of whether pineapple should be featured as a pizza topping while trying to puzzle out how long that potato chip has been clinging tenaciously to the front of our sweatshirt.

Counterattack- Go play outside. I see people giving this advice to others when they are blocked every day because it’s good advice. Some people have spacious property to take their dogs out for a run, some walk through the city, some seek forested areas and still others walk along a river or around a lake. The point is to breathe fresh air and disconnect, physically, from the mentally challenging WIP sucking the life out of that one part of your brain. The goal is to balance it all out for better flow. One thing you can do is treat yourself like a human being. You hear about those nightmare bosses all the time online, are you treating yourself much better? Let it all go for awhile, leave the phone behind or at least turned off and tend to all the other bits out in the fresh air. Try leaving all devices at home or bring a different device, perhaps a camera, not the one on your phone but an actual camera. While you’re out walking take some pictures, who knows what exploring a different medium for your creativity might bring about.

2. Competitive Goals in Online Groups and SM Platforms- This might sound counterintuitive, but consider how much time you spend keeping track of word count and other miscellaneous details that are ultimately unimportant. Consider the effect that feeling as though you are consistently underperforming can have. I see people posting their word count every day, for some it proves very effective, I won’t deny that. However, for every person who uses word count productively, there are bundles more who end up berating themselves and spiraling into feelings of inadequacy. Those feelings of inadequacy can seep into the project for days, or longer. If you hit the bottom of this barrel you might end up thinking you’ll never get out of it. You might end up tucking away your work in progress for “a short break” that turns into years.

Counterattack- Take time off from looking at your word count or HPD, hours per day, spent writing. If you’ve been stuck in the middle, after you catch your breath, try reading what you’ve got so far from the beginning.

Most importantly though, take time off from only celebrating a specific type of outcome and celebrate every outcome, it isn’t as though what you’re trying to do is simple. Practice gratitude in small ways, gratitude is better for the attitude than self-loathing so it produces a far more productive outcome.

3. Researching Online- Take a break from it. Honestly, more and more every day it’s getting harder to trust the information you get online. That is, if you can even understand it through the increasingly horrific grammar, which is sadly becoming as normalized as Tide-Pod Sampler Plates served with NyQuil Chicken Fried Chickin. If you’ve never done it before, trust that there is a certain satisfaction in actually having to dig for answers. I remember taking up an entire table at the library, notebooks open, scribbling down notes. One book after another leading me down a rabbit hole of legitimate research I might have never found online.

Often, libraries are full of information not found online, which deepens your research and takes it to a level it couldn’t have attained before. Remember that it’s actually not normal to turn to the internet as an expert in everything and consider that often, the information isn’t correct. Would you trust an internet Doctor with constructing a health plan for you when he can’t even construct a grammatically correct sentence? Online, you often have to spend more time checking whether or not the source you want to use is credible than actually doing productive research.

Counterattack- To be clear right from the start, I’m not suggesting you radically and permanently alter the way you research, I’m just offering a way to get unstuck if that is where you are. You’d be shocked at what you can find when you take just one of your research days and remove all the electronic devices from your process, just for that one day. Maybe all you’ll end up with is a list of things you want to hit up Google Scholar for later, but at least they’ll be original.

Overall, the worst thing people can fall into is an infinite looping nightmare of self doubt, this just starts a spiral where you tell yourself you’re bad and can’t do it and open the door to more procrastination with a side of self loathing. This murders creativity. Luckily, it’s the simplest thing in the world to conquer this, remember that so long as you are doing the best you can, in any given moment, with the tools and resources you have available to you, you’re golden. Stay golden.



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