When Writing Feels Impossible

Sometimes we just want something so badly and it fails.

Sometimes we know we shouldn’t do something and we do it anyway.

Sometime this causes burnout.

Sometimes this is because of burnout.

I’ve spent most of my life doing something because I think I ‘should’. As a result everything I ‘should do’ ends up failing.

In a society where we are afraid of failure, I often find it hard to get back up and try it again. But when burn out is in the mix it can feel impossible to stand up, let alone pick up the pen of the paint brush.

It’s funny to me how my life goes through the same cycles. Day after day I know I should eat breakfast, I should go to bed earlier and get up earlier, I should journal and get 30 minutes of exercise, I should meditate and wash my face and eat fish for the omega 3s that will make me less anxious.

Month after month I feel I should outline my goals and make a task list and film this many videos and write this many words.

And cycle after cycle I feel I shouldn’t be wasting my time blogging, or I should be filming more often or creating some other kind of content. I feel I should make more money, have a better apartment, live somewhere else, have an impactful job.

I’m always chasing the ‘shoulds’

I’m never gaining any ground

I’m never feeling content

Or full

or like I’m allowed to rest.

Self improvement is never ending.

And the ‘shoulds’ around writing feel so set in stone.

Today it feels like doing anything right is impossible

I bought the wrong paint, broke the ikea furniture, burnt the food, didn’t eat right, didn’t edit the right way, didn’t reply in enough time.

And I was trying. So So hard.

But it was impossible for me to do any of those things right when I haven’t done them before. When my life doesn’t fit in the perfect little nine 2 five, check off list.

And sometimes we need to give ourselves grace and say ‘it’s ok. You don’t feel up to it. You failed. You did it wrong. But you didn’t waste time. You learned something and you wont make the same mistake again.’

But then you do. You buy the wrong paint a year later, and you put together the ikea piece backwards even though you’ve put together and taken apart 1,000 beds. And you burn the same dinner you made every night of college.

Then you read your novel and it’s just not where you want it. It’s not good enough.

What do you do then?

We are not robots.

No matter how many times I tell myself not to make the same mistake I do. And every time I’m harder on myself.

It feels like there are two choices.

  1. Stand up and keep doing it.
  2. Lay down and stop doing it.

It might seem stupid. Like ‘duh, theres only one choice. You just have to keep doing it.’

I’d like to give you another option.

3. Lay down. Recenter. Stop doing what you ‘should’ do. Give yourself as much time as you need. Then start slowly, and carefully build yourself esteem back up.

Rest.

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