Why am I not writing?

Even just now, I wrote the title and then left the computer. Why? Why am I so subconsciously opposed to writing? We talked about this in therapy. My therapist wanted me to start a journal. I wrote the first three days, missed a day, wrote, and now it’s been two or three days since I picked it up. Why?

After exploring it in therapy, I know why. I probably didn’t need therapy to tell me this, but I did need to think about it for myself. You see, any time I tried to keep a journal, my mother would read it. I remember one time, I was in junior high at the time, I wrote out on a couple of sheets of paper how I felt about my home life. I wrote that we (my mother, father and I) were three strangers living under the same roof. My mother found it, read it, and beat me for it. It was the last time she ever used the leather belt on me.

I kept a journal for a while when I was recovering from my car accident. I had to stay with my mom because I had no where else to go during my recovery. I kept my journal buried in the nightstand next to my bed. It didn’t matter because she found it and read it. I can’t remember how I found out, but I did.

Since then, I have intermittently kept a journal. I will buy all these cool journals but then never write in them because I feel that they are too good for whatever I have to say. Or I will start a journal and not finish it. I have one, it’s a pretty pink color, that I have intermittently written in since 2008. I’ve gone through about a third of the pages. I would write for a few days, then nothing for six months. When my cat Luna died, I wrote simply Luna died today. The way I wrote it, with such emphasis on the phrase with underlines, I can recall the pain I felt then.

When my therapist assigned journal writing as my “homework”, I went out and got a new journal. I found this composition notebook at the dollar store that has a funky colored cover. I also got some butterfly stickers at the dollar store and decorated it. I could have used my old journal but I wasn’t sure where it was and I wanted to start “fresh”. It sort of worked. I write in it some days. I’ve got no excuse for the most part except that I don’t make time for it. Or I don’t find anything to say. I mean, my life is boring and all I do is worry about being unemployed or money, so what else is there to write. I wrote at first about my therapist, maybe that’s why I wrote so much for a couple of days. Now that that well has run dry (I had no appointment last week) and I’m out of stuff to bitch about. 😉

I haven’t been writing here either. I did have a busy week last week, since I substituted four days. (One full day, two half days, and a 3/4 day.) It definitely kept me busy and I was tired by the end of Friday. I’ll post more on this separately.

It’s all just an excuse, isn’t it? Writing is supposed to be therapeutic, and it is when I have something on my mind, otherwise it’s just a chore. Most of my blog posts take me an hour to write. I spent about three hours yesterday on my next Canvas post on The Compassionate Brain webinar series. I wish I hadn’t committed myself to it. My summaries are two weeks past the air date and they take so much time to write. It all feels like so much effort for me right now. I don’t think I’m really depressed, although I am doing a bit of cycling, but still it feels like so much effort. I can’t imagine if I did this for a living. It takes me so long to write anything! (And it’s not my typing speed slowing me down.)

Well there. I wrote about not writing. Does anyone else have this problem? If so, how do you get around it? Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

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12 thoughts on “Why am I not writing?

  1. I can relate to having a nosy mother, no matter how old I got. My mother has tried to find out what I am thinking and intruding on my privacy all my life. With phone calls on Friday and Saturday nights just to see if I am home. She or my dad has found everything I have written, any pictures they dont like ect. and thrown them away without even mentioning it to me or apologiesing. I am in constant fear that they will find my blogs. I think your history with having your privacy so invaded might be one thing that makes it hard for you to put your feelings down on paper now.

    • I think you are right. This is what I discussed with my therapist. Deep down, maybe even subconsciously, I feel that I can’t trust the written word. Why else would that last beating be so prominent in my memory when most of my childhood has been repressed?

  2. It can be seen in this respect. If it seems like work, looks like work, and feels like work, then what is it? Precisely, it is work. When it becomes work, then it has the added potential of developing into a stressor. Then, we can perceive it as a trigger, because of the unpleasant nature associated with it.

    You are extraordinarily bright, so I am certain you understand the point. Remove the element of work to make it more enjoyable again. What creates the illusion of work for you?

    • I wish I knew. I know that scientific writing is very hard for me. I’m very good at it, and once I get going, it’s a bit better but it’s really hard for me to start or if I get interrupted or stumped. As for journaling or blogging… I have to feel impassioned by something in order to write. It either has to be anger or one of my soapbox topics. I get very frustrated because it takes me so much time to write. Posts take me an hour or more, the ones I have working on for Canvas are taking me several hours to write. Now that feels like work. But I think it’s important, and I’ve committed myself to it. Maybe I perceive writing as work because I’m not very good at it. I’m slow because I check and double check what I write. Maybe if I just winged it then it wouldn’t seem like so much work. I don’t know.

  3. I can relate to this feeling of not wanting to write–there are so many reasons I don’t…one main one is that sometimes I do not want to examine how I’m feeling–and writing forces you to do so. I hope writing continues to make you happy cause I enjoy reading it!

    • Thank you very much. I’m grateful for all my happy readers! 🙂 Maybe there is some of the same going on with me – not wanting to examine how I feel in depth. I’m still not sure, even though I did journal it today. I’ll keep working on it.

  4. I stash ideas when I have lots of them but can’t write them all up – just save drafts with a few notes on what I should include in the post. Then later when I’m all mentally dried up, I have something from which to start. Works pretty well for me, most of the time.

    Also, you probably see writing as work because it IS work. Don’t let anyone belittle the effort by saying otherwise. But it’s also craft, and can be a pleasure, so maybe trying to shift your assumptions about work and writing might help? I dunno, just throwing out random ideas…

    • I just don’t get a lot of ideas, or I go back to them and the passion just isn’t there anymore. 😦 I’ll try to get out of the ‘work’ theme. We will see. Thanks.

  5. The point, perhaps, is not specifically to write about what’s going on in your life so much as what’s going on in your head. There might be a big block around that, after such a horrid violation of self and space so many years ago (I’ve been keeping journals regularly since I was about eight or nine, and I know my mother would never have read them, even if I had left them sitting out on the kitchen table). Journaling is so, so important to me, though. Lately, I’ve run into a similar problem as you with not being able to blog (BTW, as much as everyone values your Compassionate Brain series, if you ever want to discontinue or delay it, you know that’s completely okay), but it got much worse, like not even being able to form coherent sentences. Literally. That’s why I saved this for four days in my inbox.

    Then, a few days ago, I just went crazy with my journal. Nine-and-a-half long, scribbled pages about so many things. And I forgot how wonderful it was. You don’t have to censor or filter, because no one else will ever read it. It doesn’t have to make sense, and you can jump around from topic to topic in the middle of a sentence. I’ve actually reached some fairly major insights about myself that way.

    But I don’t think it works if it’s forced. I don’t journal every day, and I don’t think you should feel compelled to. But if you can start putting your thoughts and feelings down on paper, you might start to be able to explore them more completely.

    (I have obviously gotten past my inability to write coherent sentences, though I still am not really doing much with blog posts.)

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