Recently I had an illuminating discussion with a private coaching client of mine, and realized what could be behind some writers' dread of the blank page. First, let me ask you this: who holds the pen when you journal?
Is it the calm, grounded, wise self?
Or is it often the anxious self, the worrier, the list maker, the nasty bully?
I recently threw out years of old journals - it was a very liberating moment! Inside most of those journals were pages of worry, self-doubt, tired grievances, even self-hatred. Lots of meanness spewed out in an attempt to "clear my head" that often left me feeling cranked up and vaguely crappy. Me on auto-pilot, with my Inner Critic holding the pen.
Of course, if I am writing consciously about a tough issue, with the Wise Self holding the pen, it's a whole other ballgame. Then the journal, and journal writing, becomes a place of insight, clarity, and calm. But if I'm rehashing things that annoy me, or rehearsing the zinger I wish I had delivered way back then... (anyone else do that?), then I'm just grinding over outdated narratives about me and my life that don't uplift me at all. Those journal entries keep me stuck, and angry, and all kinds of yuck.
So...if that sounds at all familiar to you, then you gotta ask yourself: if I let the Inner Critic have the pen for a blank journal page, then who is the me who greets the blank page to write a poem, essay, or chapter of my novel?
No wonder you don't want to sit down and write! It's like passing the dog leash to Cruella De Vil. Who wants that?
But what if you invited your Wise Self to your writing time? What if you gave them the pen, and told the Inner Critic to sit in the time-out chair? What might happen then? How might your writing time become easier, more rewarding, and something you want to return to the next day? Something to think about, friends.
I'm a writer, teacher and certified professional coach. I'm gonna see if writing an occasional blog post is a thing I like doing and want to continue doing.