Staring at a blank page is a scary thing. Lately, thinking of even opening a blank page is scary. Why is that?
Writing is hard, says the voice in my head.
What goes on inside the mind on those days (weeks, months) when nothing seems to connect? What is the mind seeking? What does the mind fear? What prevents the connections of creativity from coming together?
It is that the mind is seeking that is the problem. Stop seeking and just write.
Positive thinking is helpful. Don’t get stuck in a rut in the first place is also helpful. But what if I can’t avoid it?
What if the ideas aren’t flowing when I sit down to write? What if the fear engulfs me and I can barely breathe? What if just remembering all those techniques that I know will help is what the mind is struggling with?
What if you just start anyway?
Ha! If you can just start anyway, you’re a step ahead of me. But wait, I did just start. I’m writing right now.
So it is the negative thoughts that hold me back? If I had just thought positively about my experience of writing, if I had just let myself feel the joy I get from writing, I would have started so much earlier? Is that how it works? Nah. Too simple. I’ve been fighting this for weeks.
Develop a habit, then.
Develop a habit? Like, get up 10 minutes earlier every morning and open my notebook and take my pen in hand and put it on the page and just let the words flow out of me whatever they are?
Yes. Don’t write when you have something to say. Don’t wait for an idea or a reason to write. And don’t expect to share it or publish it. Just write because you like to write.
But what if I want to share it? What if my aim is to have a blog filled with interesting and witty pieces that others enjoy reading?
That will come.
What if it doesn’t?
Do you think not writing will give you the result you’re seeking?
No, obviously. But…
‘What ifs’ and ‘buts’ are your enemy. Name them. Invite them in and sit with them. They will reveal themselves to you as the very demons that hold you back and keep you down. You will not enjoy their company for long. When you have had enough of them, ask them politely to leave. They have no place here. You are too busy writing.
So, I should meditate on this? Spend some time in quiet reflection, sitting with my demons, letting them in, experiencing their company so that I can know them?
But that’s as hard as writing. I sit every morning and the most I’ve accomplished is a series of loving kindness meditations to help like myself better.
That’s a start. It’s important to like yourself. But you’re listening to someone else tell you how to like yourself. Have you sat in silence and listened for your voice?
Do you mean, have I listened for you? Who are you?
I am you.
Then why are you so calm? Why aren’t you always freaking out about everything that needs to get done and all the time on this earth that you’re wasting because you can’t get out of your own way?
I live in a different world. I am internal. You, I really, have crafted a world where I exist as a writer. Where I meditate daily and for long stretches until I am ready to get off the cushion, where I write uninterrupted and with passion whenever I feel like writing, which is often. This is a world where I’m not torn in different directions by outside forces. I live in a world where everything is perfectly aligned with my goals to create.
That sounds wonderful. Can I come in?
No. You are us in the external world. You have competing priorities and many other benefits in your world: family, friends, work, entertainment, nature, beauty. Do not wish to leave those things. They are inspiring.
But all that distraction kills my writing.
No, it doesn’t. You must look at it as inspiring. You have seen this before. You have connected two ideas in a book you have read with an article you found online and it inspired you to write for hours. Do you remember?
Yes, that was a creativity charged moment. I felt so alive!
You can feel that again. But you must first sit quietly with why you are not doing that. I understand you’re busy. That’s why I suggested the writing habit. It’s boring and routine, but necessary when you live out there.
You’re right. Of course you are. Sounds like you have time to figure these things out. I wish I did.
You will figure it out as you write. Just start.