Let’s Find Out Why We Avoid Writing

I have vowed to share to my complete and honest writerly journey with you. So, here goes.

Confession, I get tired.

Some days, I just don’t want to write. I’ve been doing well lately establishing new routines, keeping myself motivated and kicking out the words. But, there are some days, like last night, where I feel tempted to throw a toddler worthy tantrum and shout, “I don’t want to! You can’t make me!”

And, if I said that, I would be right. No one is going to make me. No one but me. So, it’s up to me to figure out, in those moments I don’t feel like writing, why don’t I? What’s stopping me? What’s holding me back? Because honestly, sometimes even when I feel like writing I still find excuses and ways to distract myself.

To begin to figure this out, I turned to the book I’ve been sharing by Karen E. Peterson, and did one of the activities.

Top Ten Reasons to Avoid Writing

I’ve already shared the Top Ten Reasons to Avoid the Writing Process, which is different. These are the all the excuses you feed yourself when you’re just not sure you want to do this writing thing at all anymore. And trust me, sometimes I feel like that. So, I checked those that apply to me.

  1. I might not get published.
  2. I might get published.
  3. Nobody will read my book.
  4. Somebody will read my book.
  5. It won’t make the bestseller list.
  6. It will make the bestseller list.
  7. The critics will hate it.
  8. The critics will love it.
  9. If I’m a bestselling author I’ll have to give up____
  10. If I’m a bestselling author I’ll have to accept____

I checked; 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8. And in the blanks, I said if I’m a bestselling author I’ll have to give up procrastinating and accept that I CAN do it. Basically, there would be no more excuses to NOT write.

Contradicting Fears

I realize that the statements I checked contradict each other. I’m afraid of not getting published AND of getting published? I’m afraid no one will read my book but also that someone will read it? Yup. The struggle is real, people. The struggle is real. Other writers get it. We realize it may not make sense, but it’s a legitimate feeling we have to get past.

There’s also the lingering fear that if you find success, writing will be, like, a job. A REAL job.

But, isn’t that the dream, you might ask. Well, ya. But it’s also a fricken terrifying thought. Because then, it’s real. Then, there’s no more making excuses. And, on the nights I don’t feel like writing, like I would rather curl up in bed and fall asleep watching a bad movie than drag my ass to my keyboard and pull words out of my mushy, useless brain…I would have to say, tough shit. This is what you wanted. You have deadlines and an audience and people that actually care whether you get this done. And that is so frightening it’s almost paralyzing.

That’s the dream, but that’s the fear.

I fear the dream

That’s what we long for but it’s also what holds us back. The fear of success. The fear that someone will pick up our work and actually read it. And maybe even like it. And, Heaven forbid, want us to write more. And KEEP writing more. And then, writing would be an obligation. A chore. Something that we were doing to please others rather than for the love of it.

That’s the dream, but it’s also the curse.

So, what do we do when these fears starting eating away at us, start keeping us from our keyboards and telling us we don’t want all that pressure so we should just give up?

I have absolutely no idea.

I forced myself to write a few hundred words last night even though I didn’t want to, and (hopefully) I’ll do it again tomorrow. But that’s all I’ve got right now. But, that’s also what I’m trying to figure out.

That’s also why I’m sharing this. It happens to all of us, right? Someone, somewhere must know the answer. So, while I look, you share.

What do you when fear or laziness or life threaten to keep you from writing?


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