Stuckety Stuck Stuck

I’ve been feeling stuck for awhile now. What is most relevant to 40Questions is my feeling of stuckness as it relates to what’s going on in my head and in my life and how that translates to my fingers being stuck in the absence of motion above my keyboard.

I’ve been a writer all my life, but not consistently. I have often gone through long stretches of time where the only actual writing on paper or computer is grocery lists, essential emails, and in recent years, Facebook posts. It’s true that I’ve always been a mental writer (ha) in the sense that even long complicated assignments were often composed entirely in my head for days before the deadline and then flowed out, nearly in finished form. But in this case, that’s not what is happening. Or, at least, I don’t think that’s what’s happening.

Instead, I’m dealing with some harsh, unkind demons. I’m dealing with the critical voices that live in my head that cause my shy and private self to self-protect against exposing myself to others. When Mina kindly asked me to join her in writing a blog, I felt honored and…terrified. I love to write, and I love the feeling of connecting with others through writing, but I hate exposing myself. My life thus far has included some really great people around most every bend, but there have been some very judgmental and critical people in important roles too, and they have done some damage to my sensitive self.

I wish I could be more kick-ass, and just say “screw you” to the people who would judge me, for whatever reason. But that’s not my nature.

I guess, in a small way, agreeing to blog, is a whispered, “screw you.” Small steps.

So, why the stuckness? Why now? The why doesn’t matter so much to me as the how. The how to move forward from here. What helps you when you are stuck in your writing and/or in your life?

About Tabby

Forty years of fabulous, and counting.

Posted on September 4, 2011, in stuckness, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. You are not alone. My favourite resource for this is Havi Brooks Blogging Therapy series on her blog I think there are about 14 installments (and a complete list is in one of the later ones which is pretty easy to find with a site search).

  2. After years of dealing with this kind of thing, I think there is only one piece of advice that works (or I should say works for me, although actually I believe it works for everyone.)

    Just do it.

    Feel all the feelings, but do it anyway. Maybe just write for yourself for now, if that’s what you need in order to keep safe, but mainly keep on writing. The only way through is through.

  3. I think that there isn’t much I can do to keep people from talking about me or judging me. I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I guess I should count myself lucky if I have a handful of people that like me most of the time and even fewer people that really love and understand me.

    But, of course, there are always going to be haters. šŸ˜› You know those people, they criticize everyone, it has nothing special to do with you. So don’t take them to heart.

  4. Oh, I sympathize with you so much! But I love the idea that just saying yes to the blog was a tiny “screw you” — fantastic. I am not always so good at seeing the small steps in between the big jumps. When I was younger and probably braver, that was OK, and I took a lot of exhilarating flying leaps. Now I guess I can’t always get the energy to run up to that big jump, so I can either find the small steps or be stuck. Guess which one I wind up doing a lot of the time. So I’m right there with you.

    I have been lucky in the last few years to have good friends who have really shown me that it’s OK not to be universally beloved. Some people just have different tastes, and some people — even decent people — are just highly critical, contrary people by temperament, and there is absolutely no pleasing them. Look at them as if you were a sociologist, studying a fascinating and bizarre class of people. (Easier said than done, I know, but it *can* happen!)

    As for specific things to try: Well, I do still advocate for the flying leap of writing something and putting it out there, and then moving on to the next thing immediately. But I have tried other little tricks in the past, to deal with those critical personae in my head. One is to write a dialogue with them — just for yourself, just have it out *or*, if your tastes run this way, invite them in and find out what they are trying to tell you. Instead of using your energy to bar the door, open it up and look at your personal peanut gallery up close, maybe even with compassion.

  5. Read Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work, it’s about exactly what you are describing.

  6. I have Art & Fear on my To Be Read list, because I’ve heard from so many people that it’s so helpful:

    For me, when I’m feeling stuck and can’t think of what to write, I do a lot better if I set the computer aside and do some freewriting with paper and pen. The words flow better that way and I’m not concerned about anyone seeing what I’m writing like I am when I’m on the computer.

  7. Thanks, everyone. I appreciate the kind words and suggestions!

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