Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Who Knew I Was a Commitment-Phobe?

Twelve posts in September, five in October, three in November and ONE in December, if I hurry and post this.

This dismal blogging record is just a symptom of a larger problem that thankfully I addressed in therapy this week! (Thank you, Joanie T., for being so wise.)

My writing inertia is actually the topic of most of my sessions but Tuesday’s session was pivotal in that I finally *got* why I’m so blocked.

First, my working life to this point has been defined by the external. Almost all of my self-confidence came from the recognition I got for my work and for being such a “hard worker.” A writing life does not afford this type of recognition. Writers go for long periods without feedback, except for those nasty little rejection slips.

Second, I haven’t made a commitment to a writing life. I’ve been all talk and no action. Joanie used the word “random” to describe my writing habits. She’s brilliant because that’s exactly what the past three months have been like. I’ve let work (my day job) encroach on my Monday and Friday writing days. I’ve procrastinated by doing laundry, cleaning the cat box and other chores that could and should wait for the weekend when my spouse can help me.

My analysis: on a subconscious level, I’ve not committed to a writing life so that when/if I fail, I haven’t invested so much of myself in the effort. FEAR has stopped me from living the life I’m meant to lead.

My square, Type A personality is not responding well to the lack of structure, either. I have an office that I rent for my day job. I have a space to go to -- but I haven’t made it a writer’s space. My goal is to equip it with a comfy chair, a rug, a bookshelf for my lovely books, my intention board, fresh flowers, candles and personal items.

The greatest gift I can give myself this holiday season is to own the mantle of writer.


  1. Mandy... This is beautiful and hard hitting for all of us writting types...

    I remember reading something somewhere that went something like... Writers write. Period.

    Thanks for the wakeup..

  2. Good for you on the breakthrough! It's as if we don't fully commit to the writing so we can tell ourselves it's not our fault when it doesn't go well. For example, "Well, I wasn't trying very hard, so that's why my short story was rejected." It's delusional thinking at best, self-destructive at worst.

    We need to go all in with our writing, starting now.

  3. I am so glad to hear that someone else has the same problems I do committing to a writing time/space/schedule. And yes, it probably has to do with not wanting to blame myself for not doing well. I am a commitment-phobe in other areas of my life, just so you know.
    Even though I have been writing more these days, I still haven't committed to a specific time each day. In my head, as I drive down the road, or walk, I think of things I can write about...and then I go and begin. I usually stick to it until it's done, or continue with it each day. Having a particular subject or time frame really helps. For example, I am housesitting for a week, beginning Dec. 24 and going until Dec. 31. I decided it would be fun (maybe) to write about the experience each day. I have done that...and a few other things - thoughts - have crept in. I just write what comes to mind...I figure I"ll edit later.
    As editor of a weekly paper here, I've combined all my editorials for the year, thinking I might do something with them. Re-reading them has given me some other writing ideas. It's true what they say - writing begets writing. The more you do, the more you WANT to do!! (Just look how long this post is!!)
    What has helped me has been having a comfy place to write, and an easy way to get to, notebook, etc.