When it comes to relationships..... writers can tend to be a dramatic bunch. At least from what I have been on Instagram.
I say that with love and understanding – I have certainly been in the drama myself. There is something about relationships that can bring out all our insecurities.
That’s why relationships are so fun to coach on.
Today's topic can be applied to any relationship where you believe that the person is making writing difficult for you.
Let's go through an exercise.
Get specific on the last time this happened to you. I want you to think back to a time when you think someone made writing hard for you.
Your partner said, “do you have to do that now?” while you’re trying to write and they are cooking dinner.
Your friend said “can’t you just relax?” when you spend a day on the beach together and you are working on your story while she is reading.
Your mother-in-law said, “you should come to the park with me and the kids,” when you set aside that time for writing.
Thinking back to that time, what feeling comes up for you at that moment?
Examples: Guilt, anxiety, anger
What are your actions from this emotion?
I stopped writing and then shamed myself for not being good enough
I stopped writing and then resented the people and myself later
I try and do everything at once, ineffectively
If any of these are your actions, I agree, that writing is difficult.
But however you react, in all these situations, it’s not what these people said or did that made writing difficult for you.
What made writing difficult for you is your thoughts about what this person said or did.
Thoughts cause feelings. It’s not what they said that made you feel guilty. It’s what you made it mean.
If you made your partner saying, “Do you have to do that now?” mean that you are a bad partner, that thought – “I’m a bad partner” – is what made you feel guilty and stop writing.
It’s not the people making writing challenging, it’s your thoughts about it.
No one has authority over your thoughts or actions. Nobody can force you to feel guilty. And no one can force you to stop writing unless they physically pull you away.
People can offer you thoughts, and often do, but you always have a choice on what you want to think.
When your partner says “Do you have to do that now?” Instead of thinking “I’m a bad partner,” you could think, “I love that they want to spend time with me,” and feel love for them instead. And you can feel that love and respond, “Yes, I have to do this now.”
I’ve come across two kinds of “challenging” people in regard to writing.
There is the person who can feel abandoned because of the time you spend writing and then there is the person who can feel threatened or inadequate because of your writing. Or maybe it’s one person who feels both ways. I have been both these people when I was watching Tiana build her career as an author. These are not bad people, these are just people with their own thoughts and feelings that we can have love and compassion for.
You’ll know if someone is feeling abandoned because they will express that they want to spend more time with you, or maybe they say that they don’t understand why you have to spend so much time writing.
Obviously, these comments are just their thoughts and they are not entitled to your time, so you certainly don’t have to change anything or feel guilty about it. Like I said earlier, you can feel love for these people and decide to write anyway. But getting to a place where you feel love for them, is going to make it so much easier to continue to write.
Writing gets really hard when you spend the whole time thinking that this person should be different; that they should understand that you want to write and that they should support you.
But this person shouldn’t be doing any of those things. They should be doing exactly what they are doing. We know that’s true because that’s what they’re doing. Trying to wish them to be different doesn't work and you are going to use up all your mental energy wishing they were different. You will have no energy left for writing.
For the abandoned person, they are allowed to make requests of you, and you are allowed to say no, without feeling guilty and with feeling love for them and you.
However, if you do think there is some truth in what they say ( that is the other benefit of getting to a place of love, you won’t feel defensive and can actually consider their comments if you want to) and you actually want to spend more time with them as well, ask yourself if you are currently making the best use of your time. Does your time align with what you want?
Do you have time for writing and time your relationships scheduled or have you just merged them together, ineffectively?
When you are with this person, are you being present and engaged with them, or are you spending the time writing things on your phone?
When you watch a movie together, do you have your laptop up and are you writing at the same time?
Have you combined writing and quality time?
This is where a calendar system is critical.
If you schedule time to write, you know exactly how much time you have that day to write and can commit 100% to it. Then, if quality time with this person is something you want to commit to as well, you can schedule in time for this relationship and let them know ahead of time when you will be free.
Ultimately you can’t change how they feel, but that is not actually what I’m interested in. What we can change is you feeling guilty or anxious, and trying to write while trying to people please as well. We can make your writing more effective.
Scheduling time for all the things that are important to you, allows your brain to relax. You won’t be stressed about trying to spend time with this person and trying to write at the same time because you know you have time for both of it. You won’t feel guilty about writing because you know you made time for the relationship as well.
The next person you might encounter is the person who tries to shame you about the time you spend writing or act "fake happy" for you.
Having been one of these people, I can tell you that this person is living in a thought model where they feel their own shame about not pursuing their own dreams, or not being good enough. And it’s easier to blame you than themselves.
Sometimes this person says all the things you want to hear but there is that underlying lack of sincerity that comes through. Or sometimes they are more vocal about it and try to make you feel bad for deciding to write.
With this person, it’s important to know that it’s not about you at all. You are just a circumstance in their life, and it’s their own interpretation of it that makes it a problem for them. They think that if you stopped writing, they would get to feel better about their own inactions. Which is just not true. Even if you stopped writing, they would still have those same thoughts and feelings about themselves.
But this person is not a villain, and they are not actually manipulating you to feel or do anything. All that’s happening is that they are simply having thoughts, feelings, and actions. And unfortunately for them, as long as they are counting on you to control how they feel, they are going to be powerless over their emotions.
Finding love and compassion for this person is going to make it a lot easier to continue on your own path. Diluting yourself and or hiding who you are is authentic to you and then you are both showing up in the relationship inauthentically.
Remind yourself that life is 50/50. We are all going to struggle and we are all going to have success, it's a balance. Even if this other person doesn’t know that, you do. You know that we are all humans in this together and nothing has gone wrong. You can love them and yourself unconditionally. When you do that, writing is easy.
Whatever type of person you may be dealing with, take the time to decide who you want to be in that relationship and how you want to show up for yourself.
It’s not about the other person. What makes writing challenging in some relationships is what you make it mean about you when you take the time to write, or when don’t take the time to write.
We cannot control the other people. They are going to do what they do and say what they say and you can control how you think and feel about it.