Valid reason or plain excuse?

As I shared yesterday, my habit of putting words after each other into somewhat understandable sentences feels established. I can do it for my journaling, and for this blog.

That’s not currently the case for my other writing project. Instead of doing the word by word thing, I’ve been struggling with the structure for a week now. As I had my daily morning meeting with Heather, where we share what we’re working on today, I noticed myself feeling the need to explain why I didn’t want to write anything new.

I’ve heard all the excuses and I’ve made most of them myself as well, one time or another. So saying “I need to work on the structure before I can write” sounds like an excuse. it makes me feel guilty saying it out loud. As if I’m calling in sick to school, but in fact just want to don’t feel like going. 

Of course, I know it’s not an excuse in this case. Just as important as it is to treat your creative project with the respect it deserves and work on it, it’s equally important to sometimes step away and let it breathe. Get some perspective. 

It’s not so much that I’m stuck in the actual writing. I can happily churn out characters. The problem is a feeling of slowly writing myself into a maze I’ll never be able to find my way out of. Every word I add is getting me further in, adding to the frustration. What makes the most sense to me right now is to take a step back and see it from another angle.

I’m feeling pretty confident that this is the best way forward, but honestly, we humans are pretty damn good at lying to ourselves. How do you know if you’re making a strategic choice or just an excuse, really?

I can't say I have an answer for this. I do, however, have a few questions I ask myself to sort out if I’m succumbing to old habits or making a conscious decision. 

  1. Look at the past, is this what I usually say in this situation? If my actions feels familiar, I need to dig a little bit deeper into why.
  2. Look at my current situation, are there other factors contributing to making this decision? Is the problem really what I think it is? 
  3. Do I have an actual plan for how get over the obstacle I’m facing? 

Not exactly bullet proof, but maybe helpful. In this case, I have definitely used this as an excuse before, but there are no other factors causing trouble for me, and I did have a plan to move forward. Which included walking, looking at similar structures and just thinking through it properly, without being attached to what I've already produced.

And, fun fact! Between starting to write this post, and publishing it, I’ve actually settled in on a structure that makes sense to me. So, tomorrow, it’s back to my regular program of, well, writing more.