A friend recently asked me why I stopped blogging. I found the question deeply uncomfortable and I immediately launched my defence: because I don’t have time; because I work from home and I run a holiday rental business, not to mention two houses to look after.
Then the real reasons began to reveal themselves. Because I have nothing of value to say and who cares about whether I write a blog post or not. I am constantly overwhelmed by the events in my life and the quantity of information that I am exposed to daily. Why would I want to clutter the world wide web with my lucubrations? When I hold a multitude a plates in the air, trying to work out how to stay the course when I feel pulled into a million different direction, how do I allow myself to indulge in such a selfish activity like blog posting? Why blog and get an idea in front of reading eyes instantly when I can procrastinate thinking about the subject of an essay that I may or may not submit to a literary journal? Why blog when I don’t have a niche or a following to talk of, other than a few my trusted friends and a handful of strangers?
When people ask me what I love doing most, my answer is always the same: writing. Writing gives me purpose and catharsis. When I write, I feel less helpless, less voiceless, less of a victim in this world of chaos. Writing gives me a grip on reality.
And yet, I spend more time trying to sabotage that self-declared favourite activity in order to do cleaning, walking the dog, working, calculating the taxes, shopping, running errands, or rewatching Game of Thrones, to name but a few.
When I stopped listing all the excuses I could think of, my friend said:
‘Why don’t you write a blog post about not being able to write a blog post?’
It seemed like a sensible suggestion. With no more excuse to produce, I promised I’d give it a go.
I started writing this post a few times without much progress. I spent a significant amount of time looking for the right photo to illustrate the post and then, on a tangent, I indulged in googling characters from my latest obsession: ‘Outlander’. Anything not to write it. Even as I type, I feel resistance gripping at my throat, choking my words, turning them inwards.
I had to find the real reason of my resistance if I was ever going to make this happen. (It wouldn’t be exactly easy to write a blog post about resistance without knowing what I was resisting).
When I first started blogging, over ten years ago, I did it to display my frustrations. This sentiment continued to accompany my blogging efforts in more or less pronounced concentrations, but I slowly I started to loosen up. Without realising it, my blog posts became funny and I was beginning to write for fun. Like much of my life back then, my writing was carefree. I was single and I had permission to write about anything I wanted. I tackled any subject without being afraid that feelings would be hurt. But since I have been in a relationship, I started to feel less free to talk about whatever populated my mind. I started applying a gentle censorship and before I knew it, I stopped blogging altogether.
I saw no point in writing popular blog posts to promote a book I hadn’t written yet, if I couldn’t write about what really was in my mind. And I no longer could expose my inner demons in public. I had been very busy to present a very curated version of myself in front of my other half and I was afraid to be found out. Maybe I never had a niche or a cult-following, but my writing had something that was unmistakably mine: authenticity. Balls to talk about my true feelings. Courage to show myself for who I really was: imperfect, whiney, scared, frustrated, real. So one day it happened. I lost my motivation. If I couldn’t talk about my demons anymore, then I had absolutely nothing to say.
Dismantling resistance is key to moving forward. But that’s not all the work involved. A lot more effort goes into being more honest with my husband and with myself. I may still take convincing that writing a blog post can sometimes take priority over doing the dishes, but this is certainly a start.
How about you? Is there something you feel incredibly resistant to lately? Are you willing to find out why?