The Pressure is Killing Me

Now that Cage of Bone is safely out in the world a bunch of new ideas keep floating through my mind but I haven’t committed to any one new project. I am procrastinating, I know. I am definitely my own worst enemy, torn up with anxiety and afraid to face the page again.

I have been trying to figure out why (yet again) I am so resistant to writing on one hand but so driven to it on the other. If I am a writer, why am I so afraid of writing? This conundrum lead me to Eric Maisel’s book Mastering Creative Anxiety. In it Maisel talks about meaning: do your creative efforts matter and ultimately, do you matter? This kind of existential anxiety plagues every creative person and while you can’t fully escape it, you can minimize it. Maisel says “you can become more decisive about what matters; about whether you personally matter; about where, when, how and why to invest meaning; and what constitutes the right life for you.”

And that is exactly where I fall down. I have placed so much significance on my writing–I am a writer, it is my core identity-that I am paralyzed by this very meaning. My work has to be wonderful, deep, and damn it, meaningful. My writing matters to me!

This is a heavy burden because I am thinking too much all the time. I’ve always believed I had a purpose in life and I’ve always felt a need to be more than the average person. Simply existing wasn’t enough for me.


I came across the following quote from Spanish poet Antonio Machado which finally gave me some peace: “Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, nothing more; there is no road — you make the road by walking. Turning to look behind, you see the path you will never travel again.”

Whew! I don’t have to know my path ahead of time. All I have to do is walk and it will be the right way. Thank God! The pressure of living a life of meaning was killing me.





















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