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For the last few weeks, I’ve been getting nowhere with a new project I’ve been working on. Here’s what I did to get “unstuck” and start moving forward…

The big takeaways…

  • How to settle your mind so you can get your biggest, most important projects done
  • The process I use for coming up with awesome, new ideas
  • One simple trick to overcome writer’s block

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56 Replies to “Facing a blank page (getting unstuck)”

  1. Good information and reminder. I used to get my free time and clear my head (when I was young enough to do it), when I was out chopping firewood. I actually loved that…. no one else wanted to do it, so they would leave me alone with my thoughts…..

  2. Hi1 Jeff! Thanks for the insight on writers block. I had it for a while Now. I started on a Book today! God Bless Rember we Gave You the English Language. Mi

  3. Thanks for sharing your awesome sauce Jeff.
    … yes, being still is when the ideas come flooding in.
    Have to disconnect from the ADDHD culture to hear the creative voice.

  4. What a great book and I love that you’re the only web/marketing guy I know that enjoys the wilderness. That sounds so perfect to be on a hut skiing trip with your wife, enjoy the fresh snow and solitude! Have you read Stephen Pressfields’ The War of Art? I think you’d love it

    • @Devon: I first read the War of Art many years ago… and Stephen has become a friend of mine (and I helped him launch one of his books).

  5. Moving apart from your focus and doing something physical is the simplest of remedies. I am building an INFJ and “I” type community for those people who find the ‘ra ra ra’ IM industry too overwhelming and inauthentic to derive anything of value – we need alternatives, high quality options, the internet is ideal for creative and rare souls, but the usual options are too ugly for many – anyway I find a simple walk and playing some guitar such a resource of inspiration. Good call Jeff.

  6. Jeff, a great way to start the day, the week, the rest of my life.
    Thanks, really enjoyed your videos. Inspiring!

  7. Perfect timing for this message for me. Exactly where I have been. Toughest challenge for some reason – identifying my own sub niche. Have mission vision, and once I get the niche, you e given all the tools. That’s been my tough but to crack tho.
    All said tho, this word from you was exactly what was needed to continue on this journey to results.
    Thnx

  8. Reminds me of surfing..definitely clears the head when on the sea…thanks for the motivation to start on my ebook..been putting it off waiting for the right moment

  9. I needed this right now. I’m sitting in an RV in a quiet area of the Florida Panhandle (escaped from the Ontario snow), and with a lot of projects needing to be organised. Having some analysis paralysis, but feeling I can do this today.

  10. Thanks for the reminder that good stuff comes when we create a welcoming space for it. I always enjoy your wisdom.

  11. Zach Fisher

    Reply

    Hey Jeff,
    This was a great video for me at this time. I am an aspiring Writer and have been stuck for a few weeks now. My 10 year old, who is very creative, gave me a great concept but I have at a loss where to go with it in a broader scope. I have been very distracted lately with my full-time job and it is what I believe is causing my writer’s block. I am going to follow the advice you gave in this video and hopefully, it will get me “unstuck”. I love all of your videos and can’t wait for more. Thanks.

  12. Awesome timing Jeff! Very inspirational as I’m working through PLF and starting to fashion my product story arc. Maybe I’ll go out the back-door and do a little snow-shoeing here in the woods of Vermont. See you soon at PLF Live.

  13. Jeff, The work you do via Product Formula Launch has been fantastic; however, for me, what is most impactful and inspirational are your weekly videos where you share the instinctual steps you have taken–the subconscious life-changing decisions you have made as a result of listening to your so-called higher power. Your humble, soft-spoken words are powerful!! Keep ’em coming!!

  14. The 1″ picture frame – that’s what I feel is being lost in these crazy new E-mail formats that are 2 page long epics, trying to get every singe trigger in multiple times …. added the book to my list, thank you …. your get away spot is what does it for me too

  15. Good basic stuff. I love both Anne LaMotte and Annie Dillard. Both are smart and crazy.
    Think you’d also love Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic.
    Just one thing. The “chop wood carry water” is an old Zen proverb, not British.
    I’ve been stuck too.
    There’s snow on my very long rural driveway and I have a shovel…….there you have it!

      • I thought you said British, too! The version of that quote that I know is, “Before enlightenment, sweeping the floor…” My absolute favorite—always in mind. I mentioned it in my first book, ‘Some Swamis are Fat.’ Re writing, I also remember what Julia Cameron said in ‘The Artist’s Way,’ “It’s not about thinking it up, it’s about getting it down.” I never question the merit of a first draft, and never worry if my initial scribbling will end up where intended. Going to a calm place, and going to nature are always good choices for writing. I’m sure your project will flow brilliantly from here. You got that start you needed!

  16. Thanks Jeff, I have been spinning in the whirlwind for weeks. I have been pushing and learning this business space but getting drawn into every shinning thing to learn and ingest. This series has helped to calm me down and bring some hazy focus. Thanks as always.

  17. Take it from an old lag writer (22 published novels and counting) – you’re going the right way about attracting the Interstellar Idea Bats, carrying your ideas in and dropping them in your head. I haven’t read the book you mention (I thought I’d read all of them!) but she’s right. Terrible 1st draft – I call it the 0th draft. Tiny picture – yes. But nothing gets your ideas shifting like repetitive physical movement – walking, running, chopping wood, skiing, knitting… If I walk, it takes 20 minutes for the ideas to start to shift. If I jog, ten minutes. Light up the Interstellar Idea Bat beacon on your head!

  18. In reference to capturing your thoughts, I recommend using a voice recording device and a voice to text transcribing software. This is much faster than typing, you capture your thoughts better, and your mind is then available to generate more, new thoughts – keeping your mind in the creative mode. Also, you do not need to turn on a light or even get out of bed. Once captured, you can then later use the text version to refine the thought content. It will also allow you to get back to sleep sooner, once your mind is out of its creative mode!

  19. Thanks Jeff for the great reminder to just get started. The first draft will never be perfect. No reason to wait to get started until you think you can make it perfect, because you never will.

  20. Fantastic video Jeff! This is right on point for me as I have just created my first opt-in about unblocking creativity for songwriters 🙂 I will post your video to my blog and on social, it’s such a great example! Perfect! x

  21. Linda Adams

    Reply

    I am laughing. Just what I needed to hear today. Thanks and enjoy the cabin life.

  22. Thanks for this advice!: In my case changing places is sometimes enlightening… when I was in Singapore I was just super creative… everything was in a flow… the thing about getting out the first draft is so true though!!

  23. Nice reminder!! I love Anne Lamont’s book and also she did a great TedTalk. I think I’ll go write a lousy first draft right now.

  24. Thanks Jeff, that’s such a great couple of tips. I think they will come in super-handy this very week as I seek to get my first sales letter copy drawn up.

  25. Virginia Reeves

    Reply

    One small step at a time – like the one inch picture frame. We can never do everything all at once. Like you alluded to Jeff, you had the ideas percolating but they weren’t ready to come together. When you took the pressure off yourself, it flowed. May not be pretty in the first go-around but that’s why we edit and tweak. Good reminder. Makes me want to run away to the wilderness.

  26. Excellent, I am a firm believer of the first suggestion, writing everything down like the flaming pen, not concerned about grammar or organization. I am so grateful for this workshop, I already feel a shift. Thank you!

  27. George Ruiz

    Reply

    Thank you!

    I needed it this! I have been stuck with one of my projects, I decided to take a break, and I read your email…wonderful! Full steam ahead

    Thank you very much!

  28. Thank you Jeff & welcome to Colorado. Great space to have your mind open to receive! Loved the comments and advise – looking at focusing as my key focus (haha) like a rifle shot instead of my mind-squirrel like a shot gun. Cheers!

  29. Ah yes, the shitty first draft! I’m in the middle of a personal blogging challenge myself and have learned soooo much about just getting started. It is usually much better than I thought it would be!

    Glad to know that even people as seasoned and successful as you experience this 😉

    Nadia

  30. Working on an academic paper – have got a bad first draft but it doesn’t have a hook into the topic the way others see it….am going to try the tiny picture frame for this today… enjoy your style of talking will start listening to more thanks

  31. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont is a great book. I refer to it often, and especially when I am asked about writers block.

  32. Darlene Atkinson

    Reply

    This video reminds me of living at Mack Colorado 1966 to 1969 years my parents move me there on 340 aces The snow cover the land.

  33. Love the quote and it’s one I’ve used frequently lately.
    Getting “unstuck” is what I help others do…. however, I need help myself sometimes! Thanks for this.

  34. Jeff: Great video this week! I know all too well about writer’s block. Your advice about getting the first draft down on paper is so key in any creative endeavor. The trick for me though is to not judge myself on the first draft. I try to focus more on the process – write, stop, review, edit, and write again. The process to me feels more like chopping wood than carrying water! By the way, Jeff Goins has a wonderful book on the creative process, Real Artists Don’t Starve. Have a great week, and I wish you continued success, Jeff- all the best!

  35. Thanks Jeff. I just got back home from a week of cross country skiing and can attest to the value of “unplugging” on the creative process.

  36. Maritza Gonzalez

    Reply

    Thank you for such valuable inspiration.I’ve been in need of it. Thank you for sharing parts of your struggles.

  37. Jeff, thank you for sharing all sides of your life! You are an inspiration in creating a balanced life.

  38. Great video blog and hints; good reminder for me as i’m in that very same boat at the moment. Mind you I wish I could unblock it in the same location!

  39. Great advice Jeff. I love that as I have been stuck with writing my book. Trying to get back to the process. last week I found a thought and wrote about 450 words. Such a small amount in the greater scheme of things. However today I am inspired to do many little bits of writing.

    Great content and inspiration as always.

  40. I am very jealous. Over here in Brisbane , Australia we are melting in the heat, about 101*F
    Thanks for the inspiring videos.

  41. God, I needed this today, thank you! I’m creating my PLC content and video outlines – been VERY stuck and the opt in page goes live Monday! (It’s Friday now.) Thank you for continuing to put great content out there AND especially for remaining humble and sincere despite your success. I find that rare. I also deeply appreciate the type of man you are personally and professionally in your life. It is not lost on me as I search for my soulmate and look for examples of really great men like you.

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