I Need to Get the Hell out of My Own Way

 

I walked away from writing.

 

Get Out of My Own Way - sig

 

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

But I ran back—characters shouting in my head and fingers itching for the keyboard.

I need to write.

Without it, I am incomplete. I am miserable.

So why am I not writing? To be fair, I’ve started flash fiction again. But I’ve stopped there.

I’m not taking a scene or idea and running with it. I’m not working on any of my novels. What’s going on?

Well, I’m busy. My health isn’t great. My to-do list is growing every day. I have deadlines, meetings, and appointments. Did I mention kids? Because. Kids. I have a lot going on in my life right now.

When it comes to writing, I always have an excuse ready. Except I call it a “reason” because I’m a word nerd and these small differences often wind up making a big difference.

Excuses are crap, my writer-self says.

Reasons are real, tangible things that get in my way, my writer-self says.

I hate to admit it but it’s true. Think about this. You MAKE excuses, you HAVE reasons. See? My writer-self is right. Also, she’s full of shit.

I need to get out of my own way.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.ThoughtBubble

 

Have you ever caused your writer’s block? Been your own problem? Are your “reasons” just excuses in disguise? 

 

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67 thoughts on “I Need to Get the Hell out of My Own Way

    • Yes. Unfortunately, some of those reasons aren’t excuses. And they do have to come first. But the break didn’t really help and certainly didn’t make any of my problems go away so off I go to free write or something. Anything. 💖

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Yep. You sure do need to get out your way. Cause the thing is, only you can make yourself write. No one else can. So if you get to the end of another year and you have no stories there’s only one person to blame. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say it was easy or your life was going to help you. It’s not. U got it hard. I know that. But only you can choose whether or not you’re going to write. There will never be a perfect time or place or conditions to write in. That’s a sad fact and you have to choose what you want more. Writing or excuses… I mean reasons. Ahem.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I was so chuffed when you came running back. My eyes were glistening! You have such a gift and it hurt to see you walking away from it. Ignore the excuses – there is no rush. Let it happen in your own time. You are back and that’s the important thing. Ease into it gently. I think you are amazing #fan

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you. 💕 Seriously, I think we both need to get out of our own way. I want to slowly get back into writing fiction (like writing micro and flash on Lemon Shark Reef) but part of me wants to just get going and jump into the books I’ve put off for years. Just write, you know? You DO know. You’re an awesome writer who is full of “reasons”, too. Get going on your books! #fan

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ha! What my (smart arse) dad used to say if I explained some errant behaviour: ‘That’s your reason; it’s not an excuse’. Still true many years on. Meanwhile Mum would say ‘Aw but he’s just a child’ which really ragged the 17 year old me.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. I find I cause my own writer’s block when I try and force myself to write. But when I realize there is nothing “on deck”…I kind of panic a little and say, “oh crap…what if I don’t have anything to write about?!?” And then I force myself…and I sit there…and nothing comes out…and then I really panic!!! So I’ve found if I just try and relax everything will be fine. I’ll let you know if I ever figure out how to do that. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have too much to write about! And it’s all the time. I think I overwhelm myself with ideas. Plus, I really do have a lot going on (my “reasons”) and it’s so easy to put off writing to deal with this stuff.

      I’ve always been able to write even if I don’t feel like it when it’s for me (a journal, a free write, etc.) but I find that when I force myself to write for others (an essay, a column, a guest post, whatever) I completely freeze.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think you have just told yourself something here. Have a reread of what you wrote. Think about what your response would be if somebody else had written it. Listen to your wisdom. Everything you need to know is inside you. It whispers its secret to you, if you only listen.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think my biggest excuse is “I’m not feeling like it” – I sink with it more often than I’d like to admit, when the truth is that in 90% of times I say so it’s laziness speaking or weakness or doubts mixed with fear as words don’t strike me at the moment, but the truth is that if I’d tried I could have written something… all those times when I gave in to this made up feeling or rather lack of it – I could have written so much, so much more… sometimes it hits me & I dwell in regrets, I’m trying to fight it though & hope I can get rid of it one day 🙂
    Hope you’ll find a way to get rid of your excuses too 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have a LOT of excuses. Reasons, rather. But I always feel like writing. I think you do, too. Because you’re a writer. A poet. 💖 I think you got it right when you said it’s fear and doubt. You need to free write.

      Write, without stopping, for five minutes. Just five minutes. Don’t think – just write. When you’re ready, here’s your prompt: sand. Go!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Good to see you running back, Sarah. I think you can make yourself sick of writing by forcing yourself to do it as much as you can by finding lots of excuses to avoid it. I think our motivations can fluctuate, and that’s human nature. I guess it’s about measuring what you actually get done against what you can REALISTICALLY expect yourself to do. I wrote a piece about writers block a couple of years ago which I still like – it acknowledges we are not machines.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m writing. I mean, I’m not exactly “blocked”, I’m just stumbling a bit. I have obstacles in my way and I’m tripping over them. I love the short pieces I’m writing but I’m not getting any more written than a micro or a flash. Time, energy drains, health…reasons? Yes. Excuses? I think, yes, those too. I really want to get off my ass and just write but I have to agree with you (and others) that I’m not a machine. I can’t do it all. I cannot expect so much of myself. So…back to reasons vs. excuses. I look forward to reading your post.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Regarding your previous post about editing comments – now see what you mean about embedding my link (I’m assuming you did it) which looks much neater. But is this tidiness reason you’re not writing as much as you’d like?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! Yes, I did shorten the link. (Great piece, by the way.) Alas, no. That is not one of my excuses. I have actual crap I’m dealing with. The comment proofreading takes .03 seconds (and keeps me somewhat sane). 😜

        Liked by 1 person

    • I do love the flashes. And it’s better than not writing at all. Sometimes I feel like that’s enough. That I’ve gotten back to fiction. Other times, I feel like I want more… I’ll figure it out. (Probably through writing.) Thank you. 💖

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Love the running shoes sat there. Do you need them to get the hell out of your own way because you’re tearing around like a blue a**d fly?! Last year I ended up taking an enforced break with the bad back and other health issues. In many ways without realising it, the breathing space has been of value even though it felt bad at the time. I’ve come back a bit stronger even though I wasn’t flexing my muscles. So if there just isn’t space at the moment and other stuff just has to take priority, celebrate the rest/break/hiatus/time away. (feel free to edit that!)
    It will give you a different perspective even if you haven’t sought it. 😘

    Liked by 2 people

    • Okay. First of all, what’s a “blue a**d fly”? I need to know this.

      Did I emerge stronger? Not sure. I’m really not. You’re right about priorities. And some of these things need to take priority over writing. But these things in my life, taking over, robbing me of energy and time… Those are my enemies. And they have made me my enemy as well. Because I use them to make excuses for why I’m not writing. Actively writing. Writing longer pieces. Working on my books. I came running back to my writing but I’m tripping over my own feet. I need to just get up off my ass and run. See where it takes me. 💖

      Liked by 2 people

      • The blue-arsed fly tends to buzz around in a bit of a frenzy so it’s a metaphor for being very busy with lots of things. I found a link with a little more explanation from the Oxford English Dictionary (and was careful to shorten this link to avoid your need to edit it..) http://bit.ly/1RhEDUO
        I’m sorry I seemed to miss the presentness of your writing issues. You obviously need to get a blue-arse on and see where you get to! I can’t wait! 🏃 🏃

        Liked by 1 person

      • Holy crap, I’m a blue-arsed fly! Buzzing around in a frenzy. That can NOT be good. I am very busy with a bunch of things. It’s one of the “reasons” I’m not writing as much as I’d like. (Thanks for shortening the link…you get cake for that.)

        I need to take that buzzing down a notch and/or use it to write. Not sure which. And I’m going to leave the emojis up because they look like someone walking into a wall and it’s making me laugh because that’s how I feel right now. 😜 (Crap…the emojis aren’t funny blocks anymore – they’re broken-looking thingies that look like emojis that are…broken. Fine. I’ll edit them. Pfft. Stupid emjois.)

        Like

  8. When life throws road blocks you have some choices – run into them, go around them, stop and breathe, or find a alternative route, or destination. It is difficult when all you want to do is write and everything in life seems to throw curly ones your way. You want to drop them like a hot potato, but can’t. Some things in life you can change, some you can’t. But it’s the attitude that you can. I hope you find that happy place soon, accepting what you can’t change, relishing what you can, and enjoying the precious moments that give flight to the words in your heart. You are a talented writer. You always will be. Sometimes opportunities play hide and seek. It’s great when they come out of hiding!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Norah. You are so right. I do have choices here and they are exactly those. And, you’re also right that sometimes you just can’t drop what you’re doing to do what you want. I know a lot of people will argue with me and say that if you want to write, you will do it no matter what but, in reality, there are situations, emergencies, unexpected issues that pop up. I have to accept that there are things I can’t change. I love this: “enjoying the precious moments that give flight to the words in your heart.” ❤ Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My time for writing was put on major hold for many years. Now it probably just suffers from constant interruptus. There will never be enough time to do all I want. Sometimes I found time to squeeze in a bit of writing. It’s one thing I loved about teaching – the opportunity it provided to be creative. I also wrote occasionally for my children, and now occasionally for my grandchildren. I love writing my blog and receiving all the wonderful responses and meeting all the amazing people (such as yourself), but I too am questioning if it is not one more distraction from my “real” work (by that I mean MY writing). It is difficult to choose. Your online discussion is good for me in that respect. It helps my inner discussion. Thank you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m the opposite. I always use my writing as an excuse to get out of other things. (True!) As in, “Oven cleaning can wait – I have a deadline.” Or, “I don’t need to go to the gym today – I have a deadline.” Etc. You sound like a much more productive person in life than I.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. In so many multiple ways I’ve caused my own writer’s block — a perfect example being drinking alcohol too much (which I can use the “reason” that it was my desperation to self-medicate my mood disorders). A glass of wine can help, but not only in the moment of three sheets to the wind, but the lingering gauze of thoughts days afterward, the depression it fuels (“I’ve got nothing to say. And who would want to read it anyway?”).

    There is always a reason, if not more, for our actions and inactions. Some of them are legitimate excuses for doing this and not doing that (one needs to spend quality time with loved ones). Others are not so legitimate.

    Sometimes there are reasons we are unaware of, those that exist in our subconscious, some of them from past wounds and trauma. As a writer, one needs to make a commitment to endeavor to unearth them, bring them to the surface, and deal / cope with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. “There is always a reason…Some of them are legitimate excuses for doing this and not doing that…Others are not so legitimate.” This is so true. I do want to get out of my own way but, sometimes, there are legitimate “excuses”.
      As far as those buried “reasons”, I think that’s a real possibility. It also could simply be life in the here and now but one’s past will dictate how they deal with the present. This is a tough one… I think some writers (especially memoirists/personal essayists) are committed to unearthing past traumas and bringing them to light but other writers are content to leave them buried and/or move on. I think it depends on the writer and the situation. I wrote a post about this a few months ago: Reaching Into the Well
      Fantastic opinions in the comment section on that one.

      Like

  11. Because kids. Yes! BUT, I’m getting up in the dark hours to make the writing happen because I have deadlines. If I didn’t? I don’t think I’d be writing much. (And I hear you about HAVING to write.) Way to get back to your flash fiction. Baby steps, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve heard of many writers doing this. I can’t even imagine… I think the only time I saw the sunrise was when I stayed up all night. I can’t function in the morning. (Which is kind of tough with kids.)
      Thank you! ❤ Yes, flash fiction baby steps.

      Like

  12. I totally get you, especially with the kids. I don’t get any writing done at home unless I get up before everyone else. Family takes priority, and I refuse to put myself and my writing before them. But sometimes, I find myself scrubbing the kitchen floor when my family is taking a nap and I think, I really should be writing right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ack! Another early-bird writer! I can NOT imagine this. I’m a night owl. Maybe I’ll have to give it a try.

      See, I’m always trying to write at home. (Unless I’m dictating into my phone in a parking lot because I got a brilliant idea in the store, you know?) I love that you refuse to put your writing before your family. ❤ You should also put you first. Just saying. But I love it. Your family (and you) should take priority.

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  13. Pingback: Accepting You Are 100% Responsible For Making Your Writing Dreams Happen #SundayBlogShare #writers | BlondeWriteMore

  14. Oh my sweet friend, of course this is part of you. Anyone with a lick of sense can see that. I’m glad you’re coming back. And I understand the reasons and I understand the kids and the health and the… be gentle with yourself. But I’m happy. Very, very happy. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ahh…I wish I could take the time to read all the comments here…it’s past midnight and hubby has fallen asleep on the sofa…yikes!! But I honestly could not get to blogging until later this evening… I wanted to get a post out this week and I couldn’t. I wanted to write the chapter that’s really bugging me since Monday but I simply have not been able to put away the endless – and I mean endless distractions and appointments and everything that keeps piling up – ‘stuff’. Lord knows, you have a family with two young boys and that alone is reason – not excuse – enough to set you back from getting those characters down on paper, yet, I know that feeling too, when you at last have that delicous free time and guess what? The words aren’t there. You can’t write everything you had only what, seconds ago it seems, formed so perfectly and brilliantly in your mind and have now disappeared. And I am so sorry your health isn’t great Sarah. Big hug ❤ I wonder what it is about writing that compells us no matter what else is going on or how we feel, yet also causes us so much angst and struggle? I will admit that there are days when I literally sit at a blank screen and freeze and I dread those times. You've been working out all these feelings these past months as you took some time away from writing while sharing your thoughts here. It looks to me as if you're coming back to your writing with renewed passion as you filter out what holds you back from what keeps you on track. But sometimes, you just can't do it because you are living life, dealing with life, keeping the stuff of life at bay, and sometimes it just doesn't work. At least, for me it doesn't. I don't think you're making excuses dear Sarah; I think you are finding your way, finding your answers in the fray ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • How did I miss this comment?! Talk about excuses…I’m just trying to catch up on replies and…never mind. Yes. “endless distractions and appointments and everything that keeps piling up…” Yes! Argh!
      Interesting. We are compelled and yet angsty. Writers are weird. 😉 I am definitely returning with renewed passion. Or, rather, the passion never left, I just pushed it aside (and that was horrible). Thank you, my friend. I am finding my way. Trying to, at least. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries Sarah…I’m so out of the blogging loop it’s not even funny! And yes, I do believe we writers are indeed weird 😉 But…I’m so, so glad that your passion bursts forth with renewal…no, it never left… but then I always knew that 😉 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right. It never left. ❤

        And I know (so much) about being out of the blogging loop. I still have comments I haven't responded to from… Life needs to be lived and shit needs to be dealt with. And there you have it. Hope you are doing well. ❤

        Like

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