Writing Problems: Paralyzing Moments

Today I had one of my crisis moments where the same paralyzing thought echoed through my head: What am I accomplishing, exactly?

Every project that I’m working on right now is at a point where I need to edit, and while that can make it easier — I just have to fix, I don’t have to create from nothing. But that’s also the problem. I don’t feel like I’m creating. And when I’m not creating, I have too much time to pause and wonder, why can’t I get things out there? Why can’t I look up more magazines, more agents, send out more letters and submissions? Why can’t I get noticed when I do do those things?

When I feel this way, it’s actually harder to get anything done. I feel it all the way out to the tips of my fingers, slowing me down. I forced my way through it. I completed a round of edits on a short story and an essay, and I sent out three (3!) query letters. A decent day. But the thought kept eating at me, devouring me from the inside: What am I doing?

I keep reminding myself of all my little personal pep talks, but when I get this feeling I can’t talk it away. I gotta let it ooze out on its own.


Maybe I should go to yoga more.

4 thoughts on “Writing Problems: Paralyzing Moments

  1. Angela, I feel very similarly. What am I doing? rings in my head as well. Why don’t I get a real job that I can actually make money at? Why are other people successful and I’m not? Why can’t I seem to make any real progress? I think it’s great that you are moving forward, whatever your pace is. At least you know to silence that voice that is asking that irrelevant question. I keep reminding myself that I do it because I love it, and that’s true, but the tug of needing to make some financial headway is always pulling at me. Thanks for posting this!

    • I know to silence the voice, but there are times when I’m just not able to. And then the wallowing begins…

      I’m glad you like this post. Honestly, I almost deleted it, I thought I sounded so whiny. (There are actually some other whiny bits I didn’t include.)

      And yeah, making financial headway is a big, unfortunate problem, and I wish it didn’t occasionally play into bad feelings about what I’m doing… but it does. Le Sigh.

      These things do cycle out, though. You just need a good day, or a piece of encouraging news, to help you through.

  2. Any progress is good. If it’s editing, writing anew, or just pondering. Don’t every regret the downtime, though. Don’t force yourself when you just aren’t “feeling it.” Recharging is just as important as working.

    • Thanks. That day I was feeling very anxious every time I sat down to do something not writing related. But, sometimes when I came to the computer, I’d just stare at the screen or click on Facebook… not exactly making progress there. I gotta remember that reading, and watching movies (and playing with a dog) are good for me, too.

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