conscious living

Conscious Writing: Bad Habits

For today, identify one of your creativity-killing habits. It might be procrastination, failing to complete a story, or adding so many tasks to your schedule that you leave little time for writing. If you’re feeling bold, think about what others may have commented upon or ask your peers what they think is holding you back.

Take some time to think about where that habit came from and what purpose it serves in your life. You may have to sit with that one for awhile, as sometimes our bad habits seem to serve no purpose at all. But they do.

I’ll go first.

I add writing workshops to my calendar, but don’t publicly commit to attending and then I don’t show up. I have lots of excuses – it’s too cold out, it’s too hot, I’m too tired after work, I haven’t written anything this week – but no good ones.

What purpose does this habit serve? It keeps me from confronting my social anxiety about meeting new people. It keeps me from feeling imposter syndrome, because I don’t have to talk about what project I’m working on. It keeps me from feeling judged because I don’t share my writing with my peers.

It feels good not to feel judged, not to feel like an imposter, and to avoid situations where my social anxiety kicks in. But does that support my writing goals? When I avoid those feelings, am I becoming the writer I want to be?



Conscious Writing: Imposter Syndrome Fights Back

A big commitment, especially any promise involving emotional change or self-improvement, is almost always followed by a big pushback.

Sometimes, this challenge can be external – Hendricks calls this the universe’s way of making sure you mean it – but our inner demons and insecurities also have a habit of tripping us up. It makes sense when you think about it. We develop habits and defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from harm. Dismantling them can trigger anxiety and internal conflict, because we believe something bad is going to happen.

How does this apply to writing?  

When we make a choice to write authentically or tackle a meaningful subject – or even commit to expressing your creativity at all, in any manner – many of us hear a voice telling us we can’t. We shouldn’t write that story. We’re not smart or insightful enough to tackle that social issue. We don’t have anything to say. We shouldn’t be enjoying ourselves to much.

If you’re having those thoughts, take a moment today to sit with and contemplate them.

You’ll read a lot of advice on how to shut down those thoughts, such as giving them the voice of a person you dislike. For today though, don’t shut them out. Listen to what they say and what you feel – fear, anger, sadness, shame, or some other emotion.

These thoughts are part of you, the parts that want and need acceptance and encouragement. You don’t have to resolve them today. Simply acknowledge your defense mechanisms and thank them for trying to protect you, even if it’s not necessary.

My thoughts?

Who am I to preach about any of this stuff? What do I know about emotional growth or writing the authenticity and meaning? Why am I talking about writing at all? 

Fair questions. These thoughts want to prevent me from looking foolish or becoming a hypocrite. I can appreciate that. I’m thankful for the parts of me that want to protect me from myself, but this is a learning practice, and it’s ok if I don’t get it right every day. I acknowledge that I am not an expert at any of this, and that’s ok too.