Getting A Grip In The Mud

Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. – Teddy Roosevelt

I’ve been stuck more often than I’d like to admit. Usually, it was because I drove somewhere I shouldn’t have…treading soft ground…losing control and running into a bank. At any rate, I couldn’t get myself out. I had to depend on the muscles of men or machines to pull me out. I learned a few little tricks along the way. I found that using boards, even cardboard, rocks, sand and cat litter in a pinch, will sometimes give enough traction to keep the tires from endlessly spinning.

We often get stuck in other ways, and getting out can be trickier than towing a car. Some of us have held dead end jobs or jobs that brought us no joy or satisfaction. We kept at them because maybe we needed the stability of an income or insurance. Hopefully, we eventually find work that both brings us pleasure and takes care of our needs. In the meantime, how do we cope? I suppose we think about the alternative of not having an income to supply our needs.

There are times we are simply overwhelmed by life, bogged down. Things seem to never go our way. Maybe we aren’t putting forth the effort to achieve desired results. Perhaps, we are in a depressed state. Maybe circumstances beyond our control have taken over and we feel at a loss.

I often find myself stuck in my writing life. Finding something to write about is not difficult for me. Choosing which one to write about is my problem. I am easily overwhelmed. My solution is to do nothing at all. Productive, huh? Not! I’m not just like this only at writing but various other projects and even life itself. I have three or four quilts going on at any given time. If I am invited to go to three events that are simultaneously scheduled, I’ll stay at home instead of going anywhere. It is like I am in a swamp… I jump from parcel to parcel of dry ground, sometimes the patches are too far apart and I sink into the muck. I must select a path and stick to it to keep from being mired. For some reason, cat litter doesn’t seem to keep me from spinning in the creativity department.

My main problem is that I am a procrastinator. It doesn’t matter how well I might be at doing something, I will put it off until the last minute. It’s as if I get a secret thrill out of completing a project just in the nick of time. I think part of it is that I work better with the adrenaline rush. So I put things off just to absorb myself in a sense of chaos. This madness both exhausts and excites me. Ok, I never said I was normal!

In writing, my biggest enemy is my inner critic. It never shuts up. It questions my every word. It ridicules my thought process. It mocks me. It crushes my confidence. I would like to silence this monster, but I wonder if my writing would suffer even more if I did. For now, I am “stuck” until I stop allowing this monster to spin my wheels. I suppose the key is to learn to balance the criticism to benefit my work.

I’ve always known that I lean a bit more towards being a right brained person. I decided to take this quiz which confirms I am 15% left brained, 85% right brained. This basically means I am more of a dreamer than a doer. Therefore, procrastination comes with the territory.

This is in response to Sharon’s ( The Heart and Craft of Life Writing) challenge of writing about being stuck. I couldn’t narrow my writing options today, so I went with someone else’s prompt.

36 thoughts on “Getting A Grip In The Mud

  1. For a time, I was putting out an article a day. I felt I was pressuring myself into it, and for what? Frankly, I had rather wait until I have some inspiration to write about something. And I think a lot of people would rather read an article of mine a couple of times a week anyway. I think pushing it is where it stops being fun. You have such talent Suzicate, but relax about it. Your words do come and when they do, they are always “the real deal”. Be kind to yourself and don’t stress.

    • I wish I could schedule myself to certain days, and spend the rest of the time on other projects…haven’t figured out where I am supposed to be in my writing life. I’m not stressed about it, but I’m not steadfast either.

  2. I can completely relate- one fellow procrastinator to another! Although with me, I know what subject I want to write about, but trying to find the words to describe thoughts accurately and portray them in the right way is difficult for me. Usually I end up writing as a poem, rather than a long thoughtful post, simply because that is how the words come to me.

  3. I seldom laugh out loud when I’m alone at my computer, but as I read this post I had a strong hunch that was confirmed at the end that maybe this was a response to the last writing prompt on my blog. I love that you added a few more points that didn’t fit the flow of mine thread. I’m also a procrastinator who responds to the thrill of the last moment, though as time passes, I’m learning to enjoy taking time for immersion.

    Thanks for the credit. That is the most sincere and appreciated compliment I could hope for. 🙂

    • I figured you’d get it with the first line. I keep a draft folder, but I don’t always like to publish from there or not sure where my thoughts are headed. Trying to go with the flow some and use some prompts. I’ll probably mix them with whatever happens to be on my mind. And thanks for the kick in the rear; it got my fingers (and brain) jump started today!

  4. I read an article that said all writers are procrastinators. Something about our minds being so quick. That’s my story anyway, and I’m sticking to it!

    When the inner critic is getting you down, let someone else read your work. Sometimes that little encouragement is all you need.


  5. It’s so funny Suzi, because you often share posts that ring true for myself!

    I too am my own worst critic. I think (if we creative-type people) would be honest, we ALL share that same thing. And the reason I think that is, is because true artists know that their creativity and talent comes from a Higher Source, and we allow that Higher Source to channel THROUGH us. I think our doubt and criticism comes from our doubt of HEARING that Higher Source; differentiating between our own thoughts and the Higher Source.

    Does that make any sense?

    Excellent post, Suzi!

    P.S. Love the quote from Mr. Roosevelt!

    • Yes, it does make sense. I try to tell myself to trust because I do know the difference when I am making up the words and when it is just “coming out of nowhere”.

  6. I relate Suzi, I’m a dreamer and often feel
    stuck on my life. I think believing in our dreams is key, believing in our abilities and having confidence to go for a goals. Then maybe our many dreams will come true 🙂

  7. The best thing I ever did for my writing was start meditating . . . once I heard what my inner critic was saying, I learned to tune it out and tune in to my inner editor.

  8. Now I need to take the quiz and see what I am. I am a huge procrastinator as well. Even though I know that, I still don’t try to fix it. I guess I’m procrastinating on the fix as well. *sigh*

  9. You talked about jumping from one thing to another, of having a multitude of tasks all simultaneously in progress… I do the same thing. I’ve often said that I worry about people who aren’t random, who don’t have lots of projects and who don’t pop out with the most unrelated ideas from time to time…it’s not because they’re focused, it’s because there’s nothing going on upstairs! Those of us who seem scattered, random, and undisciplined are so because we’re the smart ones…the one’s with actual thoughts happening! That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

  10. The inner critic monster plagues me, also. I wish I knew how to get rid of the monster once and for all.

    That was a fun quiz, by the way. I’m 55% left brained and 45% right brained. This may be the only thing about me that is nearly in balance 🙂

  11. you are a marvelous write suzi, you should not entertain your inner critic that much.

    my inner critic quite justifiably acts like yours. its good, it keeps my head clean.

  12. Pingback: Who I Am . . . Is Who I Want To Be « Spirit Lights The Way

  13. Ha. I am glad to hear I am not the only one. We are not the same on all points you brought up, but some. And it makes me feel better to know I am not alone. Sometimes I think I have ADD because I start a project then part way through I think of something else and go off to do that project.

    As I think I have mentioned before–not sure if it was on your blog–but I think that sometimes our technology does not help us. We have so many things that are “in our face”. Things that interrupt us, allow us to procrastinate, allow us to have too many choices.

    Sometimes when I get overwhelmed I know it is silly so I just have to put on the “blinders” and focus on a little portion, then when it is done, move to another little portion, etc. After a few portions I can sometime relook at the whole thing and it seems less overwhelming.

    Nice post. Thanks.

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