Have You Got A Listening Partner For Your Writer's Block?

June 5, 2014

One way to work through writers block is to have a listening partner.


It's free, it takes no longer than five minutes and you can do it anywhere provided you have access to a phone or skype.


A Listening Partner uses our natural orientation to receiving support to really alleviate the self-doubt that can cripple us.


So when that crippling self-doubt begins to sabotage me I pick up the phone and I call a Listening Partner. It feels like the hardest thing to do. That sabre tooth tiger is running at me. I should be fleeing or fighting. But I need to change that association that has become stuck in the amygdala, I need to process those old feelings. 


My listening partner listens without offering any advice or judgement.

Me: "I'm scared, I'm no good, I'm never going to make it, this piece of writing will never come, I'm out of ideas, I never have any ideas."

Listening Partner: "What does it remind you of?"

Me: "I remember when I was a kid and I had this idea and everyone shot it down."

And here I might cry (tears are essential to release stress. If we don't cry, the stress stays inside) or yawn or rage or throw a tantrum (excellent for releasing frustration) while my Listening Partner listens. 


I then swap and I listen to my Listening Partner. Five minutes each can be enough.


Each time I phone my Listening Parner, the voice of doubt gets softer and the pile of old feelings gets smaller. The self-soothing voice gets louder so it's easier to self soothe and new, healthier beliefs have a chance to be heard. 


When the doubts bounce around inside your head my self-soothing voice says..."So that idea didn't work, there's plenty more... So I can't think of anything right now, I'll go for a walk, I'll do something fun for a while and come back to it. No biggy."


Here's what I've learnt. It is painful to release those feelings. But so is housing doubt, fear, sadness and anger. A listening partner will release the old beliefs that are at the heart of writer's block and begin to form new, healthier beliefs.


What else works for your writing blocks?


I learnt about listening partnerships from handinhandparenting.org but it is a process that can be applied to all areas of life not just to parenting.


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