I get in my own way a lot.
I’m so sneaky about it, too. It never seems like it at first. I’m usually able to look outside why I can’t (won’t) do something, and come up with a hefty list of totally plausible
excuses reasons. But it ultimately boils down to me being my fiercest obstacle.
If I get too far into my head about something, I can almost always talk myself out of it. I look at all the sides, I examine the ins and outs of the scenario, or the way I must be coming across or the way that it must appear, and I have so thoroughly shook myself down that I lose motivation to do the thing.
Like with this blog, for instance. It is my goal to post daily or as close to daily as I can. Not because of a demand, but because I want to. It hasn’t been happening as much lately. I have actually been writing daily, but I haven’t been posting daily because none of my pieces are living up to my standards.
This may be because I am tired after a joyous week of celebration (first my sister’s baby shower, then my anniversary, then my husband’s birthday all in one week). And while this isn’t remotely a problem that I am complaining about, it simply means that much of my creative energy and words have been going toward the people in my life and the events in my life, rather than my writing.
It’s a good thing to give myself to people who matter to me. It’s only one week that this self-imposed schedule has been off. Not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things. And yet.
And yet, I start to over-analyze. I start to stress that I’m out of good or interesting things to say. And if that’s true, I worry that I’m losing any momentum I’ve tried to gain. Which leads me down the tired path of “what’s the point, I have no business being a writer in the first place.” I’ve had to tell that mean girl to go away several times when writing this week. She hasn’t won, exactly, but neither have I, as my posts sit gathering dust.
My question becomes, are these posts really not good enough, or am I so desperate to convince myself I’m going to fail (whatever that even means), that I am trying to make it so?
Ding, ding, ding.
It’s an exhausting cycle.
I’ve been thinking on this because I’m going on a trip this week. I am taking the kiddo, and we are road tripping down to So Cal for ten days because my sister is about to have a baby and I want to be there to help with the postpartum period. I am so excited for the change of scenery, to meet my new niece or nephew, to spend time with my other nieces and sister, and see my good friends who also live down there. It’s going to be great. But it also means I’m not going to have a ton of time to write. Prime obstacle time.
I am still learning how to make my writing a priority. I am still learning how and when to carve out the time to write in my generally predictable and routined daily life. When I travel? When I have all the reasons in the world to just be present to daily life instead of my internal life? When I am going with the express purpose of giving myself and my time to others? Where does writing fit? It seems impossible.
See what I’m doing? Getting in my own way.
Because the thing is, I just have to fit it in. I just have to do the work when I can. If I ever get to do this as a full time job (my dream), I would find a way. I have to keep at it because I don’t want to lose my own momentum. I don’t want to get in my way by talking myself out of what I want and believe I can achieve. I need to figure out how to fit it all in now, because it’s not like life is ever going to slow down for me.
I appreciate your patience with me as I find a way to be more consistent. As I find a way to balance this work with my other demands. I remember years ago reading a favorite blog and getting annoyed by how inconsistent the writer was, always coming back with these long excuse posts (just like this!). Dude, I totally get it now.
(To that blogger: I’m sorry I was annoyed at you! It’s just because I loved your writing! But I get that you probably needed some time to fill up so that you had something to write about! And that you were likely pretty unsure of yourself all the time, just like the rest of us!)
It is vital to me I don’t let this blog fall behind, but it may happen sometimes. It is vital that I put myself at the top of my own list, but it is a struggle. My guess is most moms (probably most women, heck most people) feel this way to some extent. Balancing it all is a tall order, and likely impossible when you really think about it.
My life is never going to actually be balanced. For now, my kiddo is always going to get more of me than my writing. But that doesn’t mean writing has to fall to the bottom either. It may not be balance I achieve, and it certainly won’t be perfection, but perhaps I can achieve a less heavily tipped scale.
Maybe, I can start by putting self-loathing at the bottom of the list, and use that time to write instead. There are going to be enough external obstacles to my goals. I shouldn’t be one of them.
If this post makes it up, you know that this obstacle has been defeated.