Man. I have had a major case of writer’s block lately. Or maybe it’s just laziness. I don’t know what has been with me but I have had pretty much no motivation to write at all. But I’m going to try today. I guess every writer goes through this once in a while, right? They just don’t feel inspired to write. It’s strange, most of the time I am gushing with ideas of topics to write on, and yet lately every topic I choose, I feel like it’s just not good enough.
What is holding me back from writing? Maybe it’s not laziness. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe, now that my blog is receiving more viewers and followers, I feel this obligation to write something good and when I feel like what I want to write is not good enough, I lose that desire to even start writing in the first place.
I think many of us feel that way with our art. In the beginning when we first start, we do it because we feel that sense of passion in creating something. We do it because we love it and because we feel like we NEED to do it or else we’ll go crazy. But as time goes on, and our work either becomes more popular or well known, we begin to feel this invisible pressure of needing to produce something that is good and will be well-liked.
I think that’s what I’m feeling now. I think because I have been getting such great feedback lately, I feel this pressure of not wanting to disappoint my readers with poor quality work. And yet, that very same pressure is killing my own passion for creating. So what do we do?
Elizabeth Gilbert stated it best in her essay on her thoughts on writing. She advises:
“The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: “I’m going to write for an hour every day,” and then you won’t do it. You will think: “I suck, I’m such a failure. I’m washed-up.” Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness (which comes from a place of kind and encouraging and motherly love). The other thing to realize is that all writers think they suck. When I was writing “Eat, Pray, Love”, I had just as a strong a mantra of THIS SUCKS ringing through my head as anyone does when they write anything. But I had a clarion moment of truth during the process of that book. One day, when I was agonizing over how utterly bad my writing felt, I realized: “That’s actually not my problem.” The point I realized was this – I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly; I only promised the universe that I would write. So I put my head down and sweated through it, as per my vows”
Self-forgiveness, huh? Maybe that’s what we all need sometimes to give us that nudge to get us back into our groove and on the path of self-expression. I think many times we become stuck because of these pressures of expectation we place upon ourselves and then we place even more pressure on ourselves when we cannot become un-stuck from that place. The cycle then continues with us being angry or annoyed at ourselves, and shaming ourselves into thinking we aren’t worthy of being creators in the first place so we should just quit and move on. Of course, this kills any inspiration or motivation we have left and then we’re left in this place of emptiness and self-destruction because we were too hard on ourselves in the first place, when all we really needed was a little bit of self-forgiveness to help nudge us back into place.
So I think that’s what I’m going to write about and what I’m going to practice. Self-forgiveness is important, not only in the aspect of creation but in our every day lives. We’re not going to get it right all the time. We’re not going to feel motivated or inspired all the time. Some days we’re just going to feel like we’re not that into creating anything, but in the end, we are nothing less than creators, because that’s who we are at the very core of our existence.
And in the end it is also not our responsibility to please everyone or make sure we are never rejected, but rather to fulfill our duty of completing the very act of creating. Because that is what we must do. If you are an artist, you must create. If you are a writer, you must write. Never give that up just because once in a while you write something that sucks. Sometimes you may write a 1000 poorly written words, but sometimes you may write something brilliant, and it is when you can write those words of brilliance is when it will all be worth it. It can be with anything. Just being you. Some days you may be off on your game, but some days you may be a shining superstar, and that is who you really are. Not the person who feels uninspired or off, but rather that shining human being who will bring forth and share something magnificent with the world.
How can we practice this act of self-forgiveness? Well, first off, cut yourself some slack. (Yes, Christina, I’m talking to you too!) Tell yourself it’s ok to take it easy sometimes. To kick back and allow yourself room to breathe. Tell yourself that there is no external pressure of needing to please anyone, but rather, you are working for yourself and your own expectations of what you want to bring forth. If you are having an off day, who cares! Tomorrow you can start all over again. You created something pretty terrible? Oh well. Toss it aside. Learn from it. Burn it. Do whatever you want, but remember that there is always another blank canvas waiting for you.
We need to learn to accept that we are merely human and as human beings we are flawed and imperfect and THAT’S OK. Sometimes there is beauty in all of our imperfections. And sometimes it is only through our imperfections that we can learn to improve and grow in ways perfection would not be able to teach us. So what if we made mistakes in the past? So what if we did a few stupid things? We’re human. We learn. We move on. That is life.
I can’t keep placing this pressure upon myself that if I write, it has to be something good and readable. Not everyone is going to like my writing, and I have to accept that. Sometimes I’m going to write posts that are absolutely brilliant, and other times I’m going to write posts that are pretty sub-par. But what matters is that I am writing. That I am continuing on with my craft. That I am not backing down because of any one opinion, even my own. But rather I am writing because it is something I want to do. Something I feel passionate about doing. Something I feel I MUST do.
So maybe this post was a bit all over the place and it did not have a direct connection to self love, but who cares! In the end, if we are doing something for the greater good of others or for the greater good of our selves, I think that is an act of self love. Somewhere someone will find my words inspiring, or maybe not. But either way, I wrote today. I did it because I wanted to. Not because I wanted to please anyone or accomplish anything or seek any sort of applause, but because I WANTED TO CREATE. So I did. And I forgive myself for not doing it sooner. And I forgive myself for not feeling inspired this past week. And I forgive myself if this writing truly does suck. But so what. ONWARD! (right, Liz?)
The Self Love Daily Challenge:
Learn to practice a little self-forgiveness. Cut yourself some slack and move forward.