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Writers block, imposters syndrome or simply a lack of inspiration ?

Searching for a root cause.

By Eva SmittePublished about a year ago 6 min read
Writers block, imposters syndrome or simply a lack of inspiration ?
Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash

I oftentimes wonder, why do I take such big breaks in between producing my works of written word? After all, once I actually sit down and write - story tends to take shape and be born, sometimes within hours. I enjoy writing, it nourishes my soul, expands my mind, and there is a substantial evidence that people enjoy reading my articles, which inspires me enormously by the way. And yet, something blocks me on a regular basis. It is like I do not fully believe that what I have to offer has a significant value.

Perhaps it is the figure of an inner critic that is devaluing me in the background, and generating what came to be known in a popular psychology as an imposter syndrome. Interestingly, its tune keeps changing, in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kinda fashion. Let me explain. The voice I am a lot more aware of isn’t the one telling me that what I have to offer isn’t valuable, on the contrary- it is beating me up for not showing up. The one who keeps saying - “you are wasting your time and your gifts ; your potential, you could be reaching and inspiring a lot more people, yet you do nothing. You are so lazy”.

Luckily, the more loving part of me knows very well that laziness is not what people think it is. Neither is the procrastination. Those are simply some of the coping mechanisms that are there for a reason. They are totally maladaptive by now, since more often than not they prevent us from following our passions. And yet, we all know that it is the subconscious mind that is truly in charge of our behaviours and choices , and its waters are deep and powerful. They also have no concept of time. Something, or more likely someone provoked this pattern repeatedly in the past, and one way or another it helped me to survive, or/and make sense of my reality at the time. And since it is the survival that is valued above else by our subconscious mind, whatever isn’t safe according to a long term data evidence - must be avoided. Conscious mind doesn’t have all that much power to counteract this force, not unless we make it a practice - intentionally getting rid of the deeply embedded subconscious blockages.

And yet, I believe there is a significant progress compared to before. Just like with self-love , I do not see finding one’s voice and using it to a full extent as a yes or no situation. It is a spectrum, a process, and I’ve been moving along that scale for some time now.

A not too distant memory comes to mind. 5-6 years ago, when I was just beginning to realise my gift and find my voice after years of not being aware of either, I had a conversation with someone I perceived as knowledgeable and wise. This tendency of trusting the opinions of others above my own is another major block to one’s creativity. The less we trust ourselves, the less in touch with our true self we are, the less likely the creative juices will flow.

Anyway, while discussing with this perceived authority what I want to do in my life, I shared that I love to write (or something along those lines). To which she replied - “ok, but write about what? What is your expertise in?” I freezed, suddenly feeling small and powerless. At that point I had an unfinished philosophy degree, and it was actually during those studies, that I first became aware of something very interesting. Namely, while writing the essays on certain topics, in a very logical way (they call it an argument) , I experienced what I now know to be a flash of inspiration. The state in which words suddenly began to flow, not from my rational mind, it felt as if a force of some kind was working through me. Needless to say, in those moments I didn’t exactly follow the script, aka the essays questions. I went off elsewhere, yet it felt so very expansive and alive, I suddenly didn’t care what grade I will get. Slowly, I was getting in touch with my own creativity, and my wings were starting to grow back.

By hannah grace on Unsplash

Going back to my so called friends question, it probably came from her own limitations. And here comes a very common distortion that many still wholeheartedly believe in. That in order to give something of value to the world, you must be qualified in this or that. Typical left brain thinking , responsible for the structure, order, logic. Which is all good, but without the right brains creativity, intuition, empathy etc, it is sort of a dead world that is created in the process. When we are inspired, truly inspired - it is irrelevant whether we are qualified or not, the wisdom of school of life, the school of Universe flows through us in all its magnificence.

Sure, it can be argued that the writing process is also very intellectual, and not just artistic. But what about all of the books you read? What about life’s lessons you learned the hard way? What about your ability of free thinking, something the education is ironically unable to teach.

I am not excluding the intellect or the education from the picture, I am just saying there is more to us, especially when we are in the creators mode. After all, it is the balance of the two, the marriage of the left and the right brain hemispheres that produces the magic in our lives . One can also look at them as the masculine and the feminine energies within us all, regardless of one’s gender. The structure ensures the form is delivered, but with the structure alone the form is empty, devoid of its essence. It needs the content, the energy, the magic. A good analogy is the river. The water is the feminine , but the borders of the river that allow the water to flow in a certain direction, as opposed to spilling all over the land, are the masculine aspects.

Another way to look at this is via the lens of spirit and matter. While we can certainly have many ideas floating in our subtle bodies (mental etc) , yet it is the act of bringing them down into the physical reality, manifesting them, grounding them that will make them real. And this is usually fuelled by a belief in one’s ability, value etc. I read somewhere recently that the fear of failure is almost always going hand in hand with the fear of success. Sounds strange, but it does make sense considering that while failure will make one feel certain negative emotions such as disappointment or even shame , the success will require one to completely change their life. Ultimately then, the fear of success is the fear of the unknown, something we humans tend to experience from time to time.

By Ashley Batz on Unsplash

I believe that if the above mentioned person asked me the same question today, I would find it very amusing and not at all reflective of my value. If anything, answering that type of question and limiting myself to just one area of life to write about, seems very disempowering and boring, and as a result not inspirational . Perhaps some people need to define themselves with this or that label, but I am not one of them. This shift in my mindset is the progress I was referring to above, and it does feel good to be able to acknowledge it, even if no one else does. This reminds me of the advice to creative people I read while back, some of the most empowering one to date. I forgot the exact words used, but I do remember it’s essence and will try to communicate it below with my own words:

“Create first and foremost for yourself, in order to honour the beauty asking to be born through you. Regardless of the feedback of others, you will be doing the right thing for your own journey, for your own soul. Other people liking it is a cherry on the cake, a nice extra to have, but it shouldn’t be the main reason you follow your passion. Equally, other people disliking it shouldn’t bother you all that much, you don’t have to be everyone’s cup of tea.”

I am not entirely sure this article answered the question raised in its title, but it surely gave a lot of food for thought. Hopefully it will inspire someone to stay true to themselves no matter what anyone else says.

successself helphealinghappinessgoalsadvice

About the Creator

Eva Smitte

Writer, model, mental health advocate. Instagram @eva_smitte

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  • Emelie Stenmanabout a year ago

    Great article Eva!

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