What Does It Mean When You Don’t Want to Write?

by Judy Stone-Goldman on February 20, 2012

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reflection writing avoidance fear perfectionism transition

Reflecting on transitions coming my way

I am home from the gym, past breakfast, sitting with tea. It’s time to write.

I’ve been avoiding writing lately, which is not a great thing to admit.  I’ve had good excuses in January and February–busy with several presentations and a family wedding–but the energy of avoidance made itself known nonetheless.

What does avoidance mean? What is my avoidance saying to me? This is the starting place for my writing today.

Sometimes avoidance is about perfectionism. I avoid doing something because I don’t think it will be good enough. Perfectionism kills action–that’s not news to anyone. And it’s a common malady, as evidence by the number of people who write about it. Nonetheless, my instincts tell me that’s not my barrier today.

Moving on, I come to fear. We avoid things if fear threatens us. Fear can be about any number of things (including perfectionism). It can be a biological response to a threat. It can be a legitimate anticipation of something painful or difficult. It can be the feeling of having one’s comfort zone invaded or security blanket ripped away. Is fear contributing to my avoidance? Perhaps…I find myself anticipating changes, and by definition change involves uncertainty. While it is possible to enter uncertainty without the heavy load of fear, I have some habituated fear responses that may be kicking into gear.

Next up is the idea of a resting space. Sometimes when we finish one set of tasks, we enter a lull before we are ready to move on. This would make good sense, except I took that rest last week! It was a natural time of recuperation and repair, much appreciated and enjoyed. Unlike this avoidance, which leaves me unsettled, the true resting space was comforting and restorative. So we’ll pass on the resting space for today.

As I write, there is one word coming to me that is begging for its turn. (A word begging to be written is a pretty straightforward indicator I should write it, right?) That word is transition.

I have hinted about changes in previous blogs, but I’m not trying to be coy by avoiding specifics. I’m just not sure what the specifics are!

But interestingly, there’s that word “avoiding”—avoiding specifics. Sometimes we avoid what we don’t know yet, when ideas are inchoate, not yet formed, not yet hardened into “things” that exist apart from the process going on inside us. Sometimes avoiding is akin to waiting, waiting to see what’s around the next inner bend. But just waiting might not be enough to get us to poke our head out farther, to peer ahead, to take the step that finally brings into focus the landscape we are seeking.

Waiting feels too passive, so I’m going to keep writing this week.

Same topic tomorrow, wherever it finds itself going…

(Turns out it went to chicken soup!)

Questions for Reflection: What does avoidance mean to you? How do you react to perfectionism, fear, and change? Does writing about your process feel passive or active?

Writing Prompts: “When I notice myself avoiding something, I know ______” (then keep writing); “Perfectionism to me means ______” (then keep writing); “I have learned that feeling fearful means ______” (then keep writing); “When I enter a transition, I usually ______” (then keep writing).

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Julieanne Case
Twitter:
February 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Well, once again I’m on the same page as you! I’m in transition too and doing a lot of avoidance things to keep from moving forward. With me it’s not so much about writing although there is some of that but about changing things about me and how I do things to avoid allowing myself to shine. This the first I’ve voiced this. Might be a good topic to write about although I might keep it private.

Julieanne Case
Always from the heart!

Reconnecting you to your Original Blueprint, Your Essence, Your Joy| Healing you from the Inside Out |Reconnective Healing | The Reconnection| Reconnective Art |

http://thereconnectivehighway.com

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Julieanne, I complete understand about the issue of privacy. If you’d like some support for what you are dealing with but don’t want to go public, feel free to write me. Not everything has to be published!

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Heidi & Atticus
Twitter:
February 21, 2012 at 9:06 am

The problem with avoidance is that the problem, stumbling block or whatever, remains. When I was in a stuck place (horrible marriage, afraid to stay/afraid to leave) I was avoiding the big (and obvious!) decision. And that delay just kept me stuck and miserable longer.

Thanks to Atticus’s inspiration and support, I’ve reemerged as my “doing” self — just plugging away without undue expectations. Just keep moving, right?

And, to complicate the issue, as I’ve said before, rest and restorative time is imperative for balance. So maybe you’re not avoiding anything, you just need more down time! Just another way to look at it :)

Looking forward to your next installment!

Heidi & Atticus
http://www.atticusuncensored.com
“commentary to give you paws…”

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Heidi, In this case it wasn’t rest that I needed (although I appreciate the possibility!) I wrote today’s blog and I’m already out of the space I was in yesterday. Isn’t that the wonderful thing about voicing reality? Suddenly reality changes! I love how action-driven you are, and I will do my best to emulate you as a “doing self” (which I’ve felt like today). I think those animals of yours wouldn’t let you loll about too much, anyway. Here’s the link to today’s post: http://bit.ly/AaHikA (and of course you’ll see it on Facebook).

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Vicki Dello Joio
Twitter:
February 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I love this post, Judy, and feel it speaks directly to my heart. When my “restorative time? is not restoring me I know something is amiss. Now my task is not to allow that avoidance to be so dominating, but more information gathering.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Vicki, The trick is to be interested, not critical or shaming. Sometimes I manage that, sometimes not! I’m sure breathing would help, too. :)

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Vicki Dello Joio
Twitter:
February 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Probably no surprise that that theme comes up (again) in my vlog this week…;-)

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 21, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I look forward to reading! (watching, listening, learning…)

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bill austin howe
Twitter:
February 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I don’t think there’s a writer alive who can’t relate to this one, Judy. I have been busy too since the beginning of the year. I let being busy be an excuse for not writing. It all comes down to priorities I guess. Anyway, great post!

Bill

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Hi Bill, Yes, anybody who writes knows that dreaded feeling of not wanting to write. Happily, I’ve moved on! (It helps to remember that we do, always, move on!) Hope you’ll get a chance to read the next post as well. Here’s the link, http://bit.ly/AaHikA, and it’s also posted various places on FB.

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Trish
Twitter:
February 24, 2012 at 7:20 am

Judy, I love how you let your words flow when tracking down the mystery source of your avoidance and acknowledge those words that won’t go away. I haven’t read the next installment yet but read your comments above and see that you’re already in a better place. Sometimes, just acknowledgement does that for us. One of the early posts I read in the CD (I think it was Fiona’s) said just acknowledging a thought or idea in our head, helps us manage it. I’ve used this technique when I feeling a bit off and it really helped.

I haven’t read your posts in a while and realize how much I miss them! I should be able to get caught up soon. :-)

Trish
http://www.robertssister.com
caregiving. family. advocacy.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
February 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Hi Trish, Lovely to see you here! I think many of us have been busy. But isn’t it a pleasure to return and feel the connection? Yes, I am feeling better and have a new sense of energy. If you’d like to read the next post, here’s the link: http://bit.ly/AaHikA The chicken soup is gone but the sense of movement is still with me!

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Dennis Salvatier
Twitter:
February 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I think in most cases avoidance is a bad thing, but there are times it can be good. No one should feel like they have to write because it’s expected. We can take a break once in awhile. You should wait to have something to say.

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chris March 12, 2012 at 7:43 am

Interesting article, I too have been avoiding writing lately. I become bored of writing about the same topic, when I do eventually get started though, I wont stop haha.

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