Why Don’t I Feel Like Writing?

Acknowledging that you don’t feel like writing is part of becoming a writer.

The space between not feeling like writing and writing a page is writing even when you don’t feel like it.

When you start to write, even if you like writing or want to write, you will very rarely “feel” like writing and here’s why:

1) The thoughts that come up while we are writing are uncomfortable.  We want to stop these thoughts because they make us feel bad. The easiest way to stop these thoughts is to stop writing and so we do – this is called procrastination or avoidance. Some of these thoughts might be:

  • None of these ideas are original.
  • No one is going to read this anyway.
  • I am not sure that what I have to say is worthwhile.

The good news is these are just thoughts and thoughts can be changed.

2) Humans have evolved to stay safe and comfortable automatically. We create patterns and habits so that we are automatically efficient about staying safe and comfortable.

To stay safe and comfortable, we avoid risk. Writing is the first step to inviting criticism. We think criticism is risky. When faced with the possibility of criticism, our brains say something like:

“Putting all of our ideas on a page and giving it to someone else to criticize? We are actually going to ask them what THEY think about it? That seems risky to me. What if they don’t like it? What if that means they don’t like me? What if I am not right? I think we should just go back to answering emails or researching or reading. Yes. Reading. That’s super safe. Do that. Don’t write. Let’s read.”

This brain chatter is part of why we don’t feel like writing. It’s way easier to just succumb to the chatter than to write.  The good news here is we can practise being uncomfortable sometimes and that’s okay. 

3) Our reason for writing is not compelling enough to write deliberately. Your brain is coming up with all sorts of reasons not to write and they all seem more compelling than the reason to write. Some of the reasons may look like the following:

  • I think I need to do more research.
  • I am not sure which direction to take my writing.
  • I am confused about how to organize my thoughts.

These thoughts seem innocent enough and they may or may not be true to you. However, if you want to start writing, you need to have a more compelling reason to write than these same old thoughts that come up to distract you. Let me tell you a secret: this is why external deadlines work and your own deadlines do not work. Deadlines create a compelling reason that our brain can get behind. For some reason, it’s easier to do something for others than it is for ourselves.

Most of us have not thought about this ahead of time so we are unprepared for the distractions and end up procrastinating. So, one pivotal question to begin supporting yourself before you begin writing is: Why do you want to write? Really take a look at this and watch out for answers that include “supposed to” or “have to” because these will not be compelling enough. Test out your compelling reason when you sit down to write and if you still don’t feel like writing, your reason is not compelling enough. Make it about something that matters deeply to you. Keep working at it until it’s compelling enough for you to write even when you don’t feel like it.

If you want to take these ideas further and learn how to apply them to start making writing easier and faster, your next step is to email me at support@melissaEanders.com for a complimentary discovery call where we will discuss what’s happening for you and  consider whether the work I do is a good fit for you or not.

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