A Writer’s Confession on Writerly Habits of Putting off Writing

As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move…similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle.
—Honore de Balzac

So let’s try this.

Because honestly writing has been a struggle for me lately. True confession: it always is. When it comes to writing, I’m a habitual procrastinator. For someone who has held a lifelong dream to author a book one day, it’s a peculiar occupational hazard. And let’s be clear, a dream crusher.

But I have competing responsibilities and priorities.

I need to maintain my personal and online relationships. Also, I noticed my energy seems low, so I should maybe workout more. I need to stay up on politics, too. The political stage is critical these days, and we’ll soon have more major elections that determine the welfare of our country. I need to keep informed, so I’m prepared to exercise my right and duty. I’m still working so hard to be a good mom to my sons, guiding and supporting them even though they are on their own as young adults. I have step daughters now too. I’ve been a part of their support system for roughly half their lives or more. But as our family has become official by marriage, it’s a role I won’t abandon because I’m very loyal and because I’ve come to love them as I do my own children.

My husband, Scott, and I are a busy couple but also as work partners, traveling—mostly on business but also for personal exploration and edification.

So I’m distracted. And I blame my distractions for my writerly habits of putting off writing. But truth is, the killer of my psychological motivation is fear of failure. I don’t want to suck.

Sure, I’m a talented writer. But talent isn’t fixed. It doesn’t mean what I have (not where I want it to be) is as good as it gets.

One night at a motivational speech event in Phoenix, Arizona, where Scott shared his life story in an hour, I was profoundly struck by something he said.

I know his story, I know all the key messages. In fact, I helped write his speech, worked endlessly with him on his delivery and have heard it at least two hundred times.

He’s really good, by the way.

But like flying airplanes before he garnered his Navy flight wings and later became an astronaut, he wasn’t his best in the beginning. But what has set him apart from those whose growth is stunted is his mindset.

While I’m no stranger to challenges in my life and have fiercely tackled tough obstacles unafraid—I realized in a rare moment of clarity amidst my own swirling attention deficits—when it comes to writing, I haven’t nourished the challenge.
I’ve allowed myself to be an altimeter, measuring the maximum altitude of my ability, a self-determining level that isn’t worthy of an actual publication.

Hi, my name is Amiko. And I’m a writer who is also a habitual procrastinator. I admit, I have a problem. But it’s not unfixable. I am boarding a plane where I spend a lot of time but also where I generally do my best work. I will nourish my craft unafraid it’ll suck, knowing that it might and, often, it will.

But first, coffee.

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