We've all been there. Or here, I suppose, as I'm in that place as I write. That place where your deadline is zooming ever nearer and yet you have some sort of mental block about concentrating on the work. You've been beating your head against this essay for ages and it just won't come out, or you need to finish this short story but you haven't written more than two paragraphs in the last three hours.
That's the place.
I've been there. You've been there. Any writer who has ever set pen to paper and stared a deadline in the face like a monster crouching in your path - we've all been in that place.
It's not a fun place.
But there are a couple things I know I can do to wriggle past this trouble. Maybe I can't find the exit right away, but I can at least get farther away from the pea-green decor.
1. Use my timer
You'd be surprised how much easier it is to concentrate when you know you only have to do it for 20 or 30 minutes before you take a break.
2. Put on some soothing music
This doesn't always work, but sometimes that instrumental/classical stuff on Pandora helps me tune out whatever TV program is on in the next room.
3. Get up and move during breaks
Rather than sitting at my computer and working on something else or watching a YouTube video, I can get up and stretch, take a short walk, put away 5 items in my bedroom, fold my laundry, or go out to the kitchen to get myself a snack. Moving around helps reset my brain and get me back to a fresh starting point.
4. Don't be too rigid
If I'm on a roll, I can keep going past when my timer goes off, and if I'm in the middle of something when my break is up, I can finish my task before I get back to work. I have to keep some kind of limits otherwise it all falls apart, but being flexible enough to bend with the wind keeps me from breaking down.