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Scribble Your Way to Liberation: The Little Block Book

Use this technique for: when you’re stuck on a project and need to move forward on it.

Starting point: when you haul out the book to write in.

Ending point: when what you’re trying to work on is finished.

This is a technique that I’m still testing out, so to speak, so if anybody who’s reading (all five of you) wants to try it out and report back on how it works for them, I’d love to hear about it.

This is a kind of hybrid of the Sub-C Session and the Shit Book, with a slight variation.  Suppose you have something that you need to do, but Resistance is kicking your ass and keeping you away from it.  Start by sitting down wherever it is that you need to Do The Ugly Thing You Don’t Want To Do But Really Have To (hereinafter the “Ugly Thing”) and having the Little Block Book handy.  As soon as the Resistance rears up, pick up the Little Block Book and start writing.  What you write will probably be some variation on “ARGH!  I don’t wannaaaaa!”  Start there.  From there, vent out all the frustrations that are standing in your way, all the resentments, fears and so on that the Ugly Thing is bringing up with you.  It might be something completely silly like “I’m scared that they’ll all laugh at me.”  This is completely okay.  The moment your fears are put into words, they lose some of their grip on you.

Once you’ve vented it all out, start working on the Ugly Thing.  When the next round of frustrations rears up (perhaps along the lines of “ARGH!  I suck!  I’ll never do this right!” for example) grab the book and vent all those thoughts out.  Get back to working on the Ugly Thing.  When Resistance starts trying to ply you with excuses (“Hey, that’s a good enough start, time for lunch now, right?”) write those down.  You may find they’re a lot less persuasive when put in words.

You can even use the Little Block Book as an odd sort of way to mark your progress.  Say you’re working on writing a letter that you’re scared to write.  Start by opening the word processing program and writing something in the Block Book like:  Okay.  File’s open.  Now what? From there you might type in your return address and the address you’re sending it to and then write down what you’ve done in your Block Book.  Keep going until the letter is written and ready to be sent.  You might have to vent like crazy to get all your thoughts out (heck, you might even draft out part of the letter there) but in the end you’ll have a letter to show for it instead of putting it off for another day.

If you strike a particularly deep vein of resentment, you may want to take things over to the Shit Book for some proper purgation.  If you’re really uncertain about what you’re doing and why, you might want to shift to a broader Sub-C Session and figure things out there.  If you’re working in an office, you might consider using the Clicktappity method instead of a separate book, so you can look busy to people passing your cubicle.

After a certain point, momentum will kick in and you’ll be immersed enough to no longer need the Block Book.  But if you find yourself stuck again, pick up the Block Book and write out what’s stopping you.  The point of ending is not when you’re tired of writing about it–the point of ending is when the task you’re trying to get through is finished.

A revised version of this entry can be found in the ebook Catbooks and Other Methods.

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