I have always wanted to call myself a writer. But lately, I haven’t been writing.
And I just couldn’t understand what was holding me back.
So I brushed it off with explanations like…
- I don’t know how this blogging-for-business thing works, so I’ll probably do it wrong. What’s the point?
- I just can’t write consistently. Ugh.
- I have other things to do, the time for writing will come
What do you feel when you read those? I feel ouch. Because although some of these
excuses explanations are true, they all kept me stuck in the cycle I dreaded: The cycle of not writing.
Here’s how I understood why I haven’t been writing
I recently learned about an interesting framework in my coach training. It’s about using metaphors to describe our “ways of being” within a topic.
Basically, you look at what you want to change in your life – for me that would be “I want to have the courage & stamina to write my heart out and hit publish consistently”. Then you come up with an image that captures the person you are right now (that explains why you’re not moving forward) and another image that represents who you would need to be in order to succeed in your topic.
Pretty fancy, huh? And I can tell you, it makes a whole lot of sense.
Yesterday I applied this way of being method to my non-writing dilemma. Et voilà – everything started to make sense. I started to make sense.
Meet The Anxious Professional & The Rambling Philosopher
So let me introduce you to my ways of being around writing – if you struggle with creation of any kind, whether it be writing, painting or working on your craft, I have a feeling you may be able to relate.
When I’m not writing, I’m showing up as…
The Anxious Professional – the dude who wants to get everything right
The Anxious Professional wants to do things so that they make sense. Everything he does needs to have a purpose for business, and that includes his creative writing.
In fact, he sees writing more as an exercise of moving his business forward (finding the right words to resonate with the right people who may then want to work with him).
Creativity is not his thing. He’s into strategies and being a smart professional.
But he’s also anxious.
He is anxious to not get it right, to make a mistake. To do something now that forces him to course correct later – like writing about topics that he’s passionate about just to find that they don’t fit into his niche. That would be the worst, wouldn’t it?
His anxiousness makes our professional an easy target for the voices in his head. You know, the ones that should all over you, or tell you that your writing sucks.
As you can imagine the anxious professional doesn’t write very much.
So now that you’ve been introduced to this way of being, can you see how operating from here makes it really hard to write?
If I want to start writing regularly, I need to be more like someone who likes to get messy with the creative process.
The Rambling Philosopher
This woman (yeah, for some reason she’s a woman) is someone who just wants to say what she wants to say and finds it more important to get her wisdom out there than to get things right.
She is bursting with ideas she wants to share. She knows that she won’t always find the right words or stay on topic – hence, the rambling – but she doesn’t care.
Self-expression is more important to her than most things in life, which is why she has to write. And so she does sit down to write a lot, sometimes even daily.
She also knows that she can’t express herself or gather a community of readers if she just stays silent and entertains the good ideas in her head and neglects putting pen to paper. She needs to speak up and fill her online home with her thoughts so that when future friends stop by, they know this is a place to stay.
Now, who are you when you are creating – or procrastinating?
When things flow, when you’re regularly creating, what kind of person are you? And when you’re stuck, who do you show up as then?
Maybe the anxious professional and the rambling philosopher reflect who you are too (and if so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!).
For me thinking about my creative process through the lens of these two metaphors really helps me get unstuck. When I think of the anxious professional, I feel a lot of compassion and I can see why I haven’t been writing. Then I shift towards the rambling philosopher and do what she would do: I sit down to write.
What do you do when you’re stuck and can’t get yourself to write? Can you find yourself in these metaphors and how does that change how you view your creative process?