Writing Confessions: I am a self-sabotaging writer

It’s hard to admit, but it’s true. I self-sabotage my writing habits on an almost daily basis.

And I’m not talking the occasional one-too-many breaks for tea, or finding an excuse to talk to a housemate, or even good old fashioned writer’s block. I set myself mental traps that prevent me from becoming the writer I know I can be.

Like what? Well…

Love pic

Let’s say I’ve had a good writing day.

I got up early, meditated, exercised, did all the self-care I could do before setting out to find a writing corner to call my own. I settle down in a nice cafe, order a chai latte, open up my laptop. Before I know it, I’m five hundred words into a story and, I’ll be damned, everything is going swimmingly!

Okay, I’ll tell myself. You’ve had a great day today. Let’s have a great one tomorrow.

The next day, I wake up late. Bugger. How can I get everything done if I’ve wasted this much of my morning? Better wait until the afternoon. (Which, for me, is the absolute worst time for me to write, so I probably won’t get anything done.)

Or, perhaps, I get interrupted during my self-care routine. Dang. Well, I know I won’t be in the right mindset to write anything now.

Or, maybe, I can’t go to a cafe. How can I possibly write with all these creature comfort distractions around?

Now I can’t order a chai latte. Or I haven’t brought my laptop with me. Or, or…

You see what I mean?


I set myself materialistic conditions that I must meet in order to begin writing. And if I don’t meet them, the day becomes a wash.

The lazy diva in my brain throws up her hands and screams “I can’t work under these conditions!” Before shortly packing up my imagination and slamming the trailer door in my face.

There’s a mental barrier in my brain. The success of that previous writing day wasn’t linked to me. It wasn’t my mood, or determination, or imagination, or ambition, or words.

No! The success was in the latte!

I spend so much of my time trying to recreate the successful days, that I lose sight of what actually made those days successful: writing.


Why do I do this? I’m not sure. Fear of failure? Trying so hard on something, only for no one to care?

Or maybe the fear of success, perhaps? After all, achieving something comes with a lot of weight. If I get something done,  then I’ll need to write another story. One which is equal to, if not better, than the last.

Or maybe I’m just lazy. Writing is hard. It’s so much easier to find excuses. To coddle myself with thoughts of “it’s just not the best place to write” rather than admit that, to be honest, I don’t want to look at the horrible first draft again. I don’t want to feel like I’m not getting anywhere.

Day by day, I’m doing my best to remove this habit of “conditional writing.” I love this craft of mine – when I’m in the midst of the story, I couldn’t care less about the world around me. I just want to write as best as I can.

So no matter what it takes, I’ll do my best to overcome this. It’s time to get my inner diva out of her trailer and back into the spotlight.


Do any of you self-sabotage your writing life? Or have too many annoying habits that disrupt your routines? Feel free to comment below, or tweet me @ERHollands. If we share our experiences, perhaps we can learn to overcome them.


2 thoughts on “Writing Confessions: I am a self-sabotaging writer

Add yours

  1. Whatever you actually do, write about it. For a while there, my Fear Journal was huge. Then I realized a lot of it was repetitive. And boring.

    I still write there when self-doubt strikes, but it is a form of exorcism: the fear wants to be acknowledged. Once you’ve given it its due, it may leave you alone. At least for today.

    And it’s useful to record that Fear has never once won. I still write.


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