Struggling Through the Writing Process
I’ve been flipping through my bullet journal the last couple of days. And this is what I see: a long list of “Professional” Tasks — all relating to my freelance client work that needs to be done, and then I look at my “Personal” Tasks — those that relate to creating “non-paying” work, household chores, errands I have to run, etc. And while I seem to be able to knock down ⅔ or even ¾ of each week’s professional tasks each week, very very few of the creating content-related tasks are checked off the list. The same tasks roll over to the next week, and then the following week and so on and so on. The grand total of creative tasks I’ve managed to accomplish so far in February 2020? Zero. Zilch. Nada. And I only managed to get a few of them done in January.
Here are a few examples of the kinds of tasks on my Personal Task List right now:
- Creative Thinking for Writers (CT4W) – Draft Blog Post, Create Related Social Media Content (anywhere from 2 to 4 new posts per week)
- CT4W — Finalize Draft Blog Post with SEO Attributes and Image
- CT4W – Create Dedicated Facebook Page
- CT4W – Create Dedicated Pinterest Page
- Call RE: Schedule Skyrizzi
- Schedule Haircuts – Jims
- Sweep & Mop the Master Bedroom
Guess which ones got done? (I’ll give you a hint, they don’t have the initials CT4W at the beginning of them.) I even have a habit tracker where 3 of my most important daily habits are listed with the number of days (so far) in February I’ve managed to do them:
- Write @ Least 400 Words of Creative Content (3)
- 15 Minutes — Website Management (2)
- 10 – Minutes of Writing Practice (AKA – Morning Pages or Freewriting) (7)
I am very frustrated with this outcome and have spiraled into a pit of self-loathing the last couple of days where I question everything. Do I really want to be a writer? Or do I just like the feeling of having written? Or do I just like hanging out with other writers? And right now I can honestly say that I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWERS.
Fighting the Inner Critic & Resistance
Part of me knows that this is the Inner Critic in my head planting these thoughts, and Resistance is rubbing his grubby paws together, looking at ways to delay me from starting my writing just 10 minutes. And when those 10 minutes are gone, delaying me just 10 more minutes… And Resistance is howling in triumph day after day as he opens the door for the Inner Critic and ushers him into my thoughts again. “What are you doing? Why are you wasting your time? No one is going to ever read this. You deserve to take a break. Why not scroll through your Facebook feed?” And my tired, beaten down brain, listens. Resistance has successfully delayed my creative assault via a fighting retreat. As my brain gets more tired, the less I feel like writing, and soon I give it up, promising that I’ll try again tomorrow. I’ll do better tomorrow… only to have it happen all over again, like the writer’s version of Groundhog Day.
But for once, I’ve managed to shove Resistance back into the closet and bolted the door shut. I’ve managed to write 540 words and counting already today. So maybe this is the first true victory of the year?
DO IT! – Creative Writing Exercise
- Does this happen to you? What are the things that you tell yourself when you fail to live up to your creative expectations?
- What types of activities do you seem to prioritize over your writing?
Feel free to share in the comments below.