Avoidance seems to be a theme in my life lately.
I have been avoiding writing on my blog, avoiding the next draft of my novel, avoiding the short stories I am dying to write, avoiding meeting up with friends, avoiding going to the doctor, avoiding exercising.
I try to sit down at my computer to write every single day but I find a lot of the time I just end up scrolling through Facebook instead. Yesterday I told myself I was going to sit down and edit a short story but as soon as I got stuck a few paragraphs in I found myself scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and before I knew it I had read probably hundreds of Facebook posts.
I dream of a big, expansive life where I spend my free time leisurely creating and doing activities that I love, like reading, hiking, yoga, swimming, spending time with friends. But I don’t feel like I have enough time for those things. I feel like I only have time to go to my day job and then come home and work on my passion projects, namely, my writing. And it doesn’t feel like there’s enough time for that.
I know that it’s an illusion because I spend hours and hours every week looking at Instagram and Facebook or watching the same TV shows I have seen many times over instead of reading, exercising, or writing.
Even now, I find myself reaching up to the top of the screen to open a new tab and go onto Google and search something, which leads me, inevitably, to Facebook. And even as I think about how this has been detrimental to my productivity I can’t stop myself from doing it.
And it all comes down to fear. I am avoiding the things I am afraid of, even if I don’t know why I’m afraid of them. And I keep forgetting this: the only way out is through. If I keep avoiding things in life, I am just going to feel worse and worse and worse. More and more afraid.
So I’m writing. And I’m taking a course for creatives called The Daily Map (led by one of my very favorite writers online, Nirrimi at Fire and Joy). And I’m trying to spend most of my free time working on or at least thinking about my projects and my dreams. And to be more intentional about when I need to spend that free time doing nothing productive at all.
Reminder to self: the easiest time to do something is always right now. Stop putting it off. It doesn’t make it any easier.
What I’m Reading
This week I’m reading a very peculiar book entitled Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann. it is, as indicated on the cover, a sheep detective story. A shepherd is murdered and then the murder investigation is told from the perspective of his flock of sheep. I’m a little more than halfway through and I have to say I’ve never read anything like it. Murder mysteries really aren’t my thing, but I am enjoying it quite a lot. The sheep each have their own personalities and their misunderstanding of human behavior is quite amusing. Next up is On The Come Up by Angie Thomas, which I’m super excited and nervous to read after recently reading The Hate U Give (because I loved it so much!). After that I’ll finally be reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
What I’m Writing
Honestly? Not much. I’ve been doing a lot of journaling both on my own and as it relates to the coursework in The Daily Map, and I’m definitely going to say that counts. Hoping to pick up my novel to start a read-through later tonight. Feeling very stuck every time I try to write a short story at the moment.
5 thoughts on “Avoidance”
First of, I wanted to let you know that I am so getting the sheep book. It sounds absolutely phenomenal. Don’t spoil the ending for me.
About the scrolling and not doing much:
I’m glad you’ve detected the root of your problem – avoidance due to fear. Now you can work on that.
As far as I am concerned, my excuse is not the lack of time. There is always some time. The problem is that I spend so much time on things that use up my mental resources and tire me out so that I don’t have the capacity to do anything but be a zombie. Writing IS work in a way. And that is the last thing you want to do after working all day. But I’m working on all that, too.
Oh I haven’t finished the book yet but it is like nothing I’ve ever read and I totally recommend it!
Writing is absolutely work and it can be so hard to sit down and do it! I feel like the hardest part is actually getting in that chair. But this coming week I’m going to try out setting a timer for 25 minutes at a time and commiting for that long! I used to do this exercise where I had to write for the whole time, but it didn’t matter what I wrote so long as I was writing. So I’d have two notebooks (or two computer documents) and one was my actual project and the other was random nonsense or a journal. The only rule was I had to write the whole time, and it didn’t matter which document. Often I’d journal for a few minutes and then the words would come to me for my book! I hope I explained that well. Maybe I should write a longer blog post about it!
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That’s a great idea.
Also please let me know what you think of Three Bags Full!
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