The other day I sat down to make a writing schedule for myself. I’d read for the four hundredth time how important it is for aspiring writers to set aside time every day to write and build up that creative discipline.
I weighed different time options in my head. Morning? If I wanted to do it before work, I’d have to get up at least by 6:00 am, maybe 5:30 if I wanted a good chunk of time. And then once my office moves in a few months and I have a longer commute, probably more like 5:00. That seems awfully early, and I can just see myself turning off the alarm and going back to sleep more often than not.
Okay, how about at night? 9:00 pm? That’s when Anne Lamott talked about starting disciplined writing, and look at her. Of course, then I’d have to skip out on evening snuggle and watch television time with my fiancee. That seems like a bad idea – I like our evening routine, and it’s important for us to unwind after the workday.
Alright then, how about right after work? 5:00 every day? Eh. That’ll make it difficult to take care of the kids and their afterschool activities.
This is when I knew there was something else going on.
How? I don’t have kids. I’m not pregnant. I’m not even trying to get pregnant.
I was projecting out to some date years into the future on which my writing schedule would fail.
Why do we find every excuse (even ones that don’t exist) to keep ourselves from our creative work?
For a while I thought it was because I wasn’t really meant to be a writer, because I didn’t really want it. But the more I dig into the resistance, the more I see it for what it is – fear.
Setting aside time for our own creative work is a frightening affair.
It touches on many of our scariest demons – vulnerability, selfishness, perfectionism. That’s bound to be met with some reticence. But it doesn’t mean you should jump ship.
No! Now is the time to practice greeting that fear with strength – maybe just a little at first. For me, it’s one day of sitting down with the blank paper. And then it’s the next day. Maybe for you it’s ten minutes of meditation or finally signing up for that painting class.
Whatever it is, don’t let fear keep you from your special creative work.
We’re stronger than that.