What I Tell Myself When I Really Don’t Feel Like Writing…

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So I have to be honest here….

Cafe_GirlThe last few weeks I’ve been seriously unmotivated to write. I don’t think it’s been a lack of having content – I have Evernote notebooks full of content ideas. I don’t think it’s been burn out, as I’ve continued to post on other social media sites & thoroughly enjoyed it. And I don’t think it’s loss of interest – I continue to pour out the ideas I have for where I want my business to go over the next few years onto paper, and I’m excited about it.

I think my unmotivation has stemmed from a deeper need to communicate better and be more understood.

Here’s the scoop. I get a lot of compliments from people on my blog, the way I present material and my writing, but the truth is that sometimes I feel like a not-very-good writer. Like I like to use the word “like” like I just did way too many times in this sentence (and I’m fine with it most of the time). And I like to start sentences with “and.” I probably put commas in the very wrong places, at least half the time. You would think I didn’t go to school and learn all this stuff.

Most days I’m like “who cares?” Others, I’m sorta hard on myself about the fact that what I say here on my blog might not ever make any sort of sense to the women I’m aching to connect with.

Am I correctly &  succinctly portraying the message my brand is about? Do people even “get” it? Am I thoroughly confusing people? 

These are all thoughts I deal with from time to time. As an introverted woman, I over-think it wayyyyy too much sometimes, too. It can get ridiculous.

When that happens, the last few weeks also happen – lack of motivation, excuses, and a wall of not feeling anything “coming through” to put on this page.

Nevertheless, I recently ran across an article online that casually mentioned a topic, and I was like “whoa.” (I don’t have the link – my apologies – I read it late one night on my tablet while already in bed and popped the idea for this blog into Evernote).

I couldn’t believe how casually the thought was mentioned though – I remember thinking this because it mattered SO much to me and is THE reason I was able to finally break through here & share this story with you today.

I wanted to develop the idea into something that was relevant for you and me both.

Through the reading of this idea over and over again, it finally did come together and hit me what I should be telling myself when I really don’t feel like writing – that I’m really struggling with a deeper need to communicate my emotions and ideas.

Here’s what you should know I discovered through my own experience:

The self-expression need and the creativity need both come from a deeper need to communicate emotion and gain understanding.

Amazing, right?

This is truly it for us – our need to self-express is an emotional need.

The introvert personality tends to deepen and conceal emotion under a calm exterior – we are masters at exuding smooth surfaces that are really sitting on top of raging undercurrents. Think ice-on-top-of-a volcano-about-to-erupt type of feeling. (Other times, we can’t conceal what we’re feeling worth crap – if we’re pissed, someone knows it without us even having to speak – if we’re sad, you get the water works).

This is why someone can be extremely drawn to you – they feel that depth within you and it creates mystery and invitation for them to talk with or to you or want to get to know you. I started a conversation recently in a Linkedin group I’m in and an introvert commented that people always want to spill their problems out to her at work and she’s heavily annoyed by it and feels guilty – this is exactly what I mean.

So then the question becomes this – if self-expression is truly an emotional need, why is it so hard to engage with? 

Think about it – if I have a deep emotional need to communicate who I am or what I’m about through writing, why do I struggle so much doing so? Why doesn’t it just come easy?

Why doesn’t it come easy to you in your dominant form of self-expression?

I teach the answer in deeper context with my Introvert Effect clients, but the generalized idea is two-fold:

  1. There is loss attached to pleasing others. What does this mean? It means that for introverts, everything is a constant energy exchange, so sitting down to write, focusing on your art, creating that graphic or starting your own business can feel draining and like you’re giving something away and not getting an ounce in return. And as human beings, we are actually hard-wired to avoid loss at any cost. Pay for the healthcare that’s needed to save a life, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket with regard to relationships, be careful with the risk, don’t invest too much, monitor your self-expression, etc. It can all become about a dedication to an avoidance of any loss whatsoever, and often self-expression is no exception to this effort. “If I can keep my ideas protected, safe, or improve it always, why even give them away?”
  2. Disconnection from who we are or want to be in the world. This is a huge one and probably not what you thought I was going to write here. Typically, we default to thinking fear of acceptance as being another reason why self-expression is difficult, but that’s actually not the case – with introverts being highest on the list of people who struggle with perfectionism, it wouldn’t matter if we had 100 people in a room nodding their heads to our work, we would probably find something wrong with it or figure out how to sabotage it in some way. So it’s not as much about fear as it is disconnection.

When you and I are disconnected from accepting all of ourselves – even the flaws – we will stop at the flaws because we don’t understand them. It’s exactly what creates the disconnection cycle and keeps us spinning with inaction and dancing with confusion.

I think it goes without saying, but I believe the counterpoints to fulfilling these deeper needs for you and I to communicate through self-expression and gain understanding through our creative pursuits, are to see the immense gains from what we offer to the world and learn more about our own identity roles and how each of us is showing up in our work & relationships.

There really is no other way.

For me, I have to realize that no matter who shares, comments, reads or otherwise doesn’t read my work, it creates value, simply by being expressed in an authentic way. By engaging with this act alone, I’m fulfilling a deep emotional need I have to speak through my business to lots of women.

And by being more connected with exactly what my specific advantages and gifts are (and how they’re delivered to the world), I create space for my own ways of expression to blossom and grow. My creativity, from obedient expression alone, opens a way for me to gain more understanding about who I am and what I have to offer – I don’t get that by being inactive or sitting on my talents, and neither do you.

I’d love to know what pieces of this resonate with you and why, if you’re bold enough to share.

As always, I’m also grateful you are here. Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable about my own creative process, listening to my thought processes and allowing me to teach through them. It means more than you will ever know.

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“One thing I know about writing is this: spend it all, lose it all, right away, every time. The impulse to save something good is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely & abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.           ~ Annie Dillard

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Comments(6)

  • April 6, 2014, 8:05 am

    Love this post Tamisha.

    I noticed a couple months ago that my emotional connection to my writing coupled with my ideas of what I thought other people wanted to see was stifling me. Throw in a disconnect between the lovely comments I was receiving and my own beliefs of how good (or not so good) I felt I was, made for an empty space on my blog, no creative outlet and not feeling i’m giving enough value to my tribe.

    Creating a blog about it was therapeutic for me, in addition to remembering that to support my clients to be their authentic selves, I need to give this gift to myself.

    And so I agree with you; once I let go of the ‘shoulds’, embrace imperfection and write from my heart, my self expression flows freely again.

    Thank you for this post.

    Catherine x

    • April 6, 2014, 7:10 pm

      You’re welcome, Catherine. SO glad you’re here & weighed in. I appreciate the work you’re doing and look forward to connecting with you more.

      T

  • April 9, 2014, 8:26 am

    I can relate to this post so much. My own personal development path is helping me see these truths inside myself, and yet that doesn’t often translate into writing about them. I think my first response to something highly emotional is a type of almost catatonic paralysis (aka that calm exterior you write about). And then I like thinking so much I tend to avoid writing about something for a while because writing tends to resolve a lot of things for me–and sometimes I’m not ready to give up the (obsessive) pondering and have it resolved, ya know? I tend to be less hard in myself as I grow older, but I wonder if excusing my non-writing days is a good thing. More to ponder!

    • April 9, 2014, 10:08 am

      “And then I like thinking so much I tend to avoid writing about something for a while because writing tends to resolve a lot of things for me–and sometimes I’m not ready to give up the (obsessive) pondering and have it resolved, ya know?”

      Yes, I DO! This is me too, Lisa. SO me. Oh how I love that you articulated this so well. 🙂 Are you by any chance a Type 4 on the Enneagram test? This is one of the traits – we can so identify with our own thoughts that we literally can create a sort of identity around them (i.e. not letting them go) because we are the romanticizers. An interesting thought that just came to me.

      One of the things you mentioned (excusing your non-writing days) is something I have learned to work with by expressing myself in other ways on those days (or weeks). Doing something else to clear my mind or get what’s “inside” out. 🙂 Loving this conversation…

      • April 9, 2014, 3:05 pm

        Actually, I’m a type 9 on the Enneagram–something I just learned about and it was in reading about 9s that I realized I do this. I want to keep pondering so I can delay a decision that might close down some of those options I love to keep open. Ha! I’m just getting into the Enneagram so I’ll have to read more on Type 4s. I am an INFP to your INTJ.

        • April 9, 2014, 3:22 pm

          Ah! Interesting, Lisa. Self-awareness on its own is a pretty powerful thing, isn’t it?