Writer’s block/Stop procrastination

How to Write When You Don’t Feel Like It: The Two-Minute Rule

A simple technique to overcome writer’s block and stop procrastination

Gayathri
New Writers Welcome
4 min readFeb 18, 2023

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

We have stepped into 2023.

Already a month and a half have passed by. But don't worry. I am sure we are going to make the most of it.

Some of us would have been very successful in 2022.

It would have been ‘just another year’ for some of us. Well, for me, it was.

Hands up if you’re like me :D

For a handful of us, 2022 would have simply been ‘meh!’

Regardless of how 2022 went by, it is time for us to strap our buckles and get ready to make 2023 a smashing success, even though it is February now.

As a writer, I have faced writer’s block many times. I would list ideas about topics I would want to write about, and that’s about it. Whenever I sit down to write, I feel deserted. Words simply don’t come.

Writing, whenever we feel demotivated or lost can be quite a challenge. However, I recently learned a new technique called the ‘Two-Minute Rule’ that helps me get into my writing mindset or complete any of my set goals.

I know many of us would have heard or known about this technique, but only a few would have applied it. So, in this article, let me tell you how to apply this rule to get into the right writing mind frame.

What is the two-minute rule?

The two-minute rule, coined by David Allen in his famous management book Getting Things Done, is a powerful productivity hack. Simply put, Allen says that if you’re able to perform a task within two minutes, then do it. In this way, one can overcome both procrastination and laziness, which prevent us from achieving our goals most of the time.

Okay, let us assume we have set some new goals for 2023, such as

· Reading a book every day

· Journaling all our thoughts and ideas

· Do 30 minutes of a workout at least five times a week

· Keep the house neat and tidy

…and so on

While setting up tasks and motivating ourselves to complete them can be quite rewarding, it can also be quite daunting. So, why not break our goals into small, bite-sized pieces? For example, let us reframe all the above goals as,

· Reading at least one page of a book every night

· Writing at least a few lines about how our day went by

· Trying to do a five-minute quick workout every day

· Keeping our tables clean or folding the laundry

Now, don’t you feel that we have scaled all your mountainous goals down to bite-sized goals that can be finished in a jiffy?

Yes, this is what the two-minute rule is all about.

Now comes the most important thing. How do we apply this rule to our writing schedules? How exactly should this rule be used when writing?

Let me tell you.

1. Choose a writing task

Before you apply this rule to your writing schedule, choose a definite writing task. You don’t need to write a long, complex article. Just start with an easy topic that you are most familiar with. Let it be an article that you always wished to write or a simple poem. Just choose a topic that you want to write about.

2. Set a timer

Yes, start setting a timer for two minutes. This may sound crazy, but set a timer for two minutes and begin writing about the chosen topic. Write until the timer rings. During those two minutes, please don’t worry about the grammar, punctuation, and cohesiveness of your piece. Just keep writing until the timer sets off.

3. Stop writing after two minutes

Stop writing after the timer goes off. Yes, that’s it. Stop writing. Now, take a break.

If you feel you want to continue your writing sojourn, then keep it up and continue. If not, it is perfectly okay. Take a break and come back to your writing later.

The main idea behind the two-minute rule is that it is often difficult to start a task, but once you’ve started, it is easier to finish it. By committing yourself to two minutes of writing, you have made a significant start. Also, there is another definitive advantage. Once you’ve started writing, you can feel your creative juices flowing. Trust me.

My writer’s block had always prevented me from starting at all. Every time I resolve to write, I always had umpteen excuses to halt my writing schedule. Though I knew that coming up with a myriad of excuses wasn’t going to do any good to my career, I simply couldn’t stop until I started applying this two-minute rule.

Remember that the first draft of any piece isn’t going to be perfect. Don’t let imperfections stop you from honing your writing skills. The most important thing is to make headway. With constant practice, you can see that it is easier to write even when you don’t feel like it. So, give yourself full freedom to write badly, and divert your attention to getting something written on paper. During these two minutes, if you write something that you feel isn’t quite right or doesn’t align with your subject of discussion, it is perfectly okay.

The two-minute rule is a tool for breaking through your web of procrastination, self-doubt, and laziness in order to write. By giving yourself two minutes, you’re creating a chance to write something that can serve as an impetus for you to create high-quality content.

Finally, keep in mind that more high-quality, engaging content = more visitors = greater visibility as a writer.

That is, the more you write, the more attention you receive.

Suppose you aren’t willing to write today; well, there is always tomorrow.

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Gayathri
New Writers Welcome

Freelance writer. Solopreneur. A flawed individual who tries to be the best version of herself. Pragmatic. Bibliophile. A proud Indian.