“I can’t do this” is the mantra I kept hearing in my head this morning. I can’t do this–this writing thing–on top of feeling stressed and overwhelmed with all the other stuff that needs to be done. I’m on a roller coaster ride. Up one day, and down the next.
I live with and take care of my 88-year-old mother. Sometimes I feel like I’m in this alone even though I have four siblings right here in town. That “doing it all alone” feeling swept over me this morning while I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes.
I began thinking of all the things that needed to be done today. I worried over (again) not having any paid work to do. Then I started feeling resentful toward my family. I don’t feel like I get the support I need from them to take care of our mother. It’d be nice if just one of them would ask me sometimes if I need anything or if I need a break. I feel invisible. And what about that book I’m supposed to be writing?
What I really wanted to do this morning was write about how I was feeling. But instead, I propelled myself out the door and into the vegetable garden. The lettuce and spinach needed to be harvested, tomatoes staked again, and the garden weeded and watered. Being outside and doing physical work helped alleviate some of my stress but not all. I told myself that it’s time to do some writing. Then the voice in my head started. “I can’t do this. I can’t write.”
After I came back inside, I read Bryan Hutchinson’s guest post at Goins, Writer about doubt, excuses, and getting started with our writing (go read it).
For months, I’ve been avoiding getting back to writing. I don’t know which direction to go with my “work in progress” biography about my granddad, so I avoid working on it. I’m good at avoidance.
Bryan asks, “What are you waiting for?” So I asked myself: What AM I waiting for? I guess I’m waiting for the “right” time (to even have the time), waiting until I feel inspired, waiting until I no longer feel guilty about taking time to write when I “should” be doing something else, or waiting until I feel “ready” to tackle my writing projects again. Writing feels too much like work.
Then why write? Because, as Jeff Goins reminds us, “You are a writer. You just need to write.” I need to stop comparing myself to other writers and letting fear and doubt take hold. I just need to write.