There seems to be a pretty consistent pattern with my writing. Every couple of months I’ll get an injection of inspiration and start writing again consistently. Then, I’ll make some ridiculous promise to myself to write once a week, twice a month, once a month and then, slowly but surely something will happen.
Inspiration dissipates. Life gets busy and locking in time to make writing a priority becomes a hope, rather than a reality. The end result, weeks become month and I don’t write. The ideas slow down, my focus gets placed on something else and my writing stays untouched.
When I write something that picks up and creates a bit of a buzz, it feels incredible. But you know what doesn’t feel incredible? When I sit in front of my laptop, with words in my head but nothing coming out right. Staying motivated is most of the battle when it comes to writing.
I’ve been trying to think through why I wrestle with consistency when it comes to writing, when I can be diligent and disciplined with other things such as cycling, or my marriage, or work. This is my attempt at coming up with a bunch of reasons why when creative slumps hit, when motivation goes missing and when time gets squeezed I stop all together.
11 Reasons Why I Don’t Write
- Because I have priorities and writing isn’t my #1. When push comes to shove, my writing isn’t my greatest priority. It comes behind stirring my affections for Jesus, working on my marriage, being the best that I can be at my job and keeping healthy. Fifth priorities are easy to boot when life gets busy.
- Because I haven’t slept, and days start rolling into one long, endless, exhausting week. When I don’t sleep, my brain doesn’t take the time to shut down and reboot – there are processes running that I forget about and sooner or later everything overloads.
- Because I haven’t been on the bike in the last week, and my diet has suffered and my body is sluggish, and unresponsive and I feel lethargic. I know the solution to this particular problem is simple – get up and work it out – but actually doing it seems impossible some days.
- Because I’m ashamed of my own lack of inspiration. I’ve convinced myself that people like my writing because it’s heart-felt (which might be true), but it also results in shame when I sit down to write with a lack of heart. I feel like a shell, like a sham and like I’m conning people with my forced words
- Because I forget that the person I write to first of all is God, and second of all, to myself. If you write for the praise of others, they own you. If you write for the glory of God, to God, about God, it frees you from chasing the praises of men.
- Because some of my ideas are stupid. There are times when I’m thinking of an idea and I get really excited about it, but when it comes to writing it out, it just seems so weak.
- Because I feel bad about missing a self-imposed deadline that I’ve set myself, that I start to feel sorry for myself and hate my lack of motivation.
- Because I can be lazy. There, I said it.
- Because Netflix and Xbox are amazing at being both ‘resting’ activities and ‘creativity stealing’ activities. The more time I spend engaged on both, the less time I spend on creative pursuits and the less creativity I have overall.
- Because I’m not reading anything past Facebook articles. What you read inspires you, it changes you and it convicts you. When your reading is inch deep and doesn’t cut away at your soul, don’t expect to be able to bleed anything insightful onto a page.
- Because no one checks in on how much or how little I’ve been writing. It’s quite the opposite. I have to carve out time for myself by blocking time out and no-one is holding me to account.
Being honest with you, I don’t have a method of getting past all of these. For the most part though, these ‘reasons’ are excuses and justifications for not planning ahead, for not sitting down, for not writing until something comes out. I’m sure the same is true for many creatives out there, maybe you’ve found one or two that resonate with you.
What holds you back?