Thursday, 8 August 2013
Talking Point: Self-Sabotage And Writing
I’ve always wanted to write a book. But I’m an epic procrastinator. I keep finding excuses not to do it, like…
-I don’t have any ideas. This was my initial excuse. Then I got some ideas. I was excited about them. And promptly found everything that was wrong with them. Now I have a lot of ideas, but I’m so weighed down with my own self-doubt I don’t know what to do with them.
-I’m not good enough. Did I mention my self-doubt? Yeah, I’m as good a doubter as I am a procrastinator. It’s kind of my thing. But I don’t want it to be my thing. I want to have confidence in my abilities. I want to do what I want, which is write. I’m so frustrated with myself for not just doing it already. Which brings me to…
-If it were meant to be, I would have done it by now. I’m 27 years old. I did a writing course over a year ago. I’ve wanted to write stories for as long as I can remember. But the fact I haven’t done it yet makes me doubt myself (there’s that word again!) and think I mustn’t really want it if I keep putting it off.
-I have to wait for the right moment to do it. I’m afraid if I write when I’m not in the “right” frame of mind, it’ll be terrible and put me off writing forever. Or it will stop me from writing something I'm "meant" to write. It's ridiculous and, of course, I know I’m waiting for something that may never happen, what with my anxiety and all.
-I need to sort out other areas of my life first. My floordrobe. This blog. An ailing computer. My health. So many things I tell myself I need to work out first before I can write a book. But I procrastinate over them, too, so nothing ever gets done. It’s a vicious cycle I’m stuck in.
-Others have done it, and because I haven’t it means I can’t. There are a few women in the same industry as me, around the same age, who obviously have similar ambitions. Except they’ve actually written their books and are getting them published. Rather than thinking, “if they can do it, I can”, my mind says, “they’ve done it, there must be something wrong with you if you haven’t.” Ah, comparisons - just another tool I use to beat myself up.
-I don't have the right motivation to write. I question why I want to write (like I question everything in my life). Is it because I just want to be published? Is it because I think I should? Because others want me to? Because others have, and I'm too damn competitive? Do I actually need to write? Deep down I know it's because I want to. I want to. I love stories, and I want to tell my own. I just need to get the courage to do so.
You see, more and more time passes and the excuses get bigger and feed each other and it just gets worse. I’m so angry with myself. But mostly I’m afraid. What it all comes down to is the fact that once I’ve done it, once I’ve started writing – or, dream of dreams, actually written a book – I can’t take it back. While nothing is written, it still has potential. It could still be great. If I actually write it, it could be awful. When you haven’t tried, you haven’t failed. Except, of course, that to never try would be the greatest failure of all.
I’m sorry if this post is kind of self-pitying and silly. I guess I just want to get the excuses out of my system. I also want to know if anyone else goes through the same thing or has experienced it before. Any advice would be most welcome! Or a metaphorical kick up the butt - I probably need a few of those.