What leads to a sudden lack of confidence?
What we call writer’s block is often the result of a crisis in confidence. We begin to overthink our writing (and ourselves). We are too cautious about how our words might be received. We doubt that what we have to say is meaningful to anyone else. We question whether we have the authority to say anything at all. We lose trust not just in our writing voice but in our very selves. When this happens to me, the core issue is one of self-acceptance.
August is my reboot month (thank you to my friend Caroline for inspiring the “reboot” metaphor). This is a time to take stock of what is important in my life, prepare for the fall teaching term, and become reacquainted with not only who I am but who I want to be. To these ends, I’ve resumed the habit of writing morning pages. Not only does this practice help me to start the day with intention (and writing!), but it also is a valuable tool for self-acceptance, allowing ourselves to see our inner world as words on a page, without judgment, a record of the fact that we were here.
I have a lousy track record with keeping a journal, in part because when I look at what I’ve written, whether five minutes afterward or five years, it’s kind of like catching an unexpected and unwelcome image of myself in a mirror. However, learning to be comfortable with who I am requires that I see my image clearly, without flinching or judging. To borrow a phrase from Wendy Lustbade, author of Life Gets Better: The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Older, morning pages can help me to become more myself:
“As we get older, we become more and more ourselves…. We are more determined than ever to live well, to break through the limits of our anxieties and get on with the business of flourishing. Growing into our individuality is an accurate way to envision aging itself, since an unflappable inner stance is the sweet fruit of decades.” ~ “The Finest Audacity“
Another aspect of my self-proclaimed August reboot is to practice some serious self care. My favorite book on this topic is Cheryl Richardson’s The Art of Extreme Self Care, Watch her talk about the chapter “Let Me Disappoint You” below (you can also read an excerpt of the chapter):
- Is August a reboot month for you in any way?
- Do you struggle with self-acceptance?
- Do you avoid disappointing people, even when doing so is not in your best interest?