Thursday, December 2, 2010


You really want to know what stops me from writing?  And when I say "writing," I mean the kinds of essays and articles that one of my advisers once said function as money in the bank for academics.  What stops me?  Me.  It's all on me.  I don't have kids.  I have a partner who works much like I do, meaning we are able to spend lots of time together because our days are relatively flexible.  He often works all day and night, and so do I, with periodic breaks to check in with each other and our weekly date night and HGTV night.  I don't have any family who require any time of me, no one I talk to more than once every four or five months.  Yes, I have a demanding job, but a lot of people have the same job.  Thousands of people do, and 99% or so have other demands on them I don't have.  i don't have any other regular activities or relationships that demand consistent time.  So, why don't I get the writing done?  Why don't I create 750 words a day?  Why don't I write for fifteen minutes a day?

Me.  It's the usual.  Fear of failure.  Fear of success.  I hate the thought of putting so much time into something that could go nowhere.  It's why my creative writing specialty as an undergrad was poetry and not fiction.  Poetry took less time.  Of course, the subjects and style of my poems all point toward the narrative nonfiction I've always wanted to write and have played with over the years.  I research like crazy.  Wow, the folders I have around my office here with articles, notes, and jottings on index cards and little scraps of paper.  In a couple of cases, I have outlines of entire articles.  I mean, I at least have lists of sections: this followed by this followed by this.  I have lots of starting places.  I can envision the end.  But I don't do it.  I'm afraid.  I'm anxious.

What do I do about this?  Go downstairs and get the ladder so I can get over myself?  Easier said than done.  I know that.  But I'm not going to beat myself up over it.  That just makes it worse.  I get in my own way, and that's a lot better than what's stopping a lot of other people.


  1. Problem identification is the first step. Now what?

    I enjoy your writing style.

  2. Thank you! One first step is recognizing that some people will value what I write. Plus, I need to remind myself that I benefit from it even when I don't finish or don't publish. Process not product and all that.