Confessions of a Dirty Blonde :: Got mind traffic? Let’s decongest.

My brain is a twelve-lane highway. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, the congestion isn’t bad and ideas are free to travel at their own pace, moving beyond the spray-paint graffiti on medians and overpasses.

But other times, which are more frequent the longer I write, rush hour gridlocks my neural pathways. It’s the antithesis of writer’s block – the most ironic form – when I can’t focus on one idea because I have too many.

We writers are the walking definition of a conundrum: we’re empty if can’t write because ideas aren’t coming and we’re swallowed when they do.

The good news? The overwhelming, inexplicable-to-non-writers stoppage can be dissolved with patience and effort.

Let’s do this.

Step one: Focus on only the lanes ideas headed in the same direction you’re going.

No need to pay attention to southbound lanes when you’re heading north. If you know an idea is there, but no end is in sight (because you’d have to turn around), let it go. Focus first on the ideas that don’t make you change your route.

The good news is you have plenty to work with that are also working with you. And you also cut your brain traffic in half.

It’s not easy. But I do have strategies for you:

  • That notebook you’re supposed to carry at all times? Get it out and write the ideas you’re not focusing on.
  • Then put it away without fearing they’ll never resurface. Your ideas get out of your head and on the page, easy to come back to when you need them.
  • If the ideas scream at you, reassure them you’ll come back. I’m not kidding. Say something like, “I hear you, brilliant sci-fi opening #1, but I have to focus on this right now. Can you please stay quiet until I’m ready? I’ll come back. Promise.”

It works. Acknowledging a thought and asking it to step aside genuinely releases it. I once went to a therapist because I was so stressed out about every damn detail in my life. This is the activity she made me do. And we did it with feelings, events and ideas. I should have asked her for the technical term, so when I suggested it to others they’d know I wasn’t making it up.

You can try it or not. If you don’t, though, you’re still going to have all twelve lanes keeping you distracted without any progress. Seems like it’s worth a shot when you look at it that way, doesn’t it?

Step two: Ease off the brakes.

You’ve cut out half of your problem and now the rest of your thoughts are options for your next writing session. Perfect. So stop holding down the brake and let your ideas move around. Just like real-life rush hour, the person who waits for a gap to zoom up on the next car’s ass actually clogs the highway. If everyone would slowly continue moving, nobody would ever need to stop.

Ask yourself what pace you need to move that day, then choose your lane accordingly.

Drive. Be mindful of your surroundings, but do NOT change lanes. There are other days and other opportunities for you to take a different path. If you’re so focused on which one you should choose, you’re never going to choose anything. And since you’ve already cut ideas from tip #1, focus should come easier.

Step three: Drive Write every day.

Thirty minutes is the minimum, but you already knew that. Dedicating time to writing every day also relieves you of the anxiety associated with not knowing when you’ll get your thoughts out. If you commit to this, you know you have the next day to continue working.

You’ll reevaluate what needs to be done (by practicing the first two steps) and continue moving forward at a much faster pace than if you didn’t clear the congestion and commit to your craft.



Got writing questions for Capo? Email Confessions of a Dirty Blonde goes out every Thursday.

What can you do without excuses?

Can you imagine life without holding yourself back?

If you’ve been dreaming of entering our Write Raw Gold coaching and editing giveaway – a chance at $5,500 in writing support – it’s time to wake up. The deadline fast approaches.

So far we’ve received entries for science fiction and fantasy, self-help and memoir, but every story is unique. And they’re all fucking brilliant.

What’s tweaking your brain right now? What story sits in your head, begging you to tell it?

It’s time to pull the trigger. Execute. Get out of your own way and out of your head. Be brave and do something for yourself: write your book.

The deadline is four days out. That means you have less than ninety-six hours to make your dream come true. If it sounds scary, that’s because you’re human.

Investing in ourselves is not second nature. Until you do, though, that story isn’t going to write itself.

Think you’ve put it off too long? Think again. It’s possible to get a video submitted before the deadline. Here’s how.

Tell me:

  • What your story is about. Pitch me.
  • How long you’ve been working on it.
  • Why you are finally ready to complete it NOW.

Then upload your submission to Vimeo or YouTube and send the link to becky(at)rebeccatdickson(dot)com with the subject line, “Pick me, Becky.”

And email it by Friday, August 29, 2014, at 10 p.m. EST.

Let’s break it down even further:

Today (Tuesday) – Think about the questions and write out your responses. This isn’t meant to force you to read a script, but to solidify the thoughts floating around in your dome.

Wednesday – Start taping. Use the video recorder on your smartphone. Just tape it. Get the jitters out. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll be.

Thursday – Revisit the videos you made Wednesday. If you’re unhappy, make another.

Friday morning – Hit send.

No excuses. No stress.

Note: This is the perfect example of how I get ideas out of your head and onto paper.

What can you do without excuses?

Any damn thing you want.


P.S. I’m sharing my insider tips on how to BE YOURSELF at the Radiantly You Telesummit, Sept. 8-14, 2014.

It’s fun. It’s FREE. And it’s empowering as hell. Lots of wisdom, free gifts and special offers. Join me and eleven other women leaders, and experts on embracing who we are.

You’ll receive a link for each speaker so you can watch or listen at your convenience. And each is offering a free gift only available to those who signup.

Take advantage, lover. This is for women who are:

  • feeling a little run down
  • know a brighter, happier you is desperate to come out
  • want to live on purpose and in joy MORE
  • longing to be re-inspired by women who are walking the Radiance talk

Register at It’s free and easy. I’m really excited about this event. Come and be RADIANT with us.

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