The work that will help us understand and relate to our emotions can also make us feel defensive. It’s not comfortable bringing up bad memories or discussing the bad habits we’ve developed as defense mechanisms. Being closed up feels a lot safer than being open.

This can also happen when we write. Rather than write in a new genre, we stick to familiar stomping grounds. Instead of exploring an uncomfortable emotion, we write around it.

During your next writing session, notice any times you start to feel uncomfortable or get stuck. Ask yourself what’s going on. Are you getting close to an uncomfortable topic? Did a scene bring up an unpleasant memory? Are you running up against one of your weaknesses (scene setting, high emotional conflict, description, etc.)?

Take a deep breath and let go of your defensive posture. You’ll get there, and it will be a lot easier if you don’t tense up.