Are You Hiding Your Writing Behind Busyness?

I haven’t posted in a while for a number of reasons that could be tossed into the bucket we call “busyness,” but the reality is, I’ve been having a bit of writer’s block, and being busy was easier than dealing with it.

Ironically, being busy is a terrible way to move through writer’s block. As Brigid Schulte observes in, “Why being too busy makes us feel so good”:

“[N]euroscience is beginning to show that at our most idle, our brains are most open to inspiration and creativity.”

Our bodies and minds are built to expend energy and rest, expend energy and rest. In “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive,” Tony Schwartz shares that when he wrote his first three books, he sat at his desk for up to 10 hour a day, and each book took him a year to write. Then he changed how he worked:

“For my two most recent books, I wrote in three uninterrupted 90-minute sessions — beginning first thing in the morning, when my energy was highest — and took a break after each one.”

He completed each of those books in less than six months.

In the United States, being “busy” can be a status symbol, as well as a privilege. As Tim Kreider writes in “The ‘Busy’ Trap”:

“[I]t isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed. . . . They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.”

So, if we find that we’re not writing, or creating in the medium of our choice because we’re “busy,” perhaps we need to: 1. Take more time to rest, and 2. Ask:

What don’t I want to face on the blank page that busyness has helped me to avoid?

Photo by me.

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