Thursday, February 9, 2023

On being stuck

Anyone here feeling stuck?

I've felt stuck for quite some time now. In a lot of ways, as I'm sure many of us do. But more specifically, I've felt stuck in my writing, blogging, reading. In the writer community in general. All of these things have suffered over the past two years, and though at times it was necessary to push them back for a little while, that particular season of my life is over. And I'm still stuck. 

I've struggled with finding things to post about on Instagram lately. I want desperately to be as active as I used to be, to see my account grow, to be involved. But because I've felt so creatively dry and burned out lately... I have nothing to talk about. What is there to say when you're a bookstagrammer/writer who's been reading a book a month at the most and has barely made any writing progress? I talk about my personal life sometimes too, but that's not the primary reason I'm there. I'm there to talk about stories.

But I'm stuck. 

And in order to get unstuck, I have to put in a lot of work. And that's the problem.

It's good work, yes. And enjoyable. (most of the time.) I have to force myself to pick up a book and read sometimes. That sounds bad ("don't force yourself to do things you don't want to do!"), but even though getting through the first chapters feels like trudging through mud, I always find that once I break through that wall, my love for reading wakes up and I can't get enough. I suppose my mind has grown lazy, and it's just so much easier when I'm tired at the end of the day to stare at a screen rather than immerse myself in reading a story. So, my screen time vastly outweighs my reading time. And I'm actually really ashamed to have had to write that sentence. 

And as far as writing... I'm stuck there too. I have this whole first draft, much more well-written than my other first drafts, that's just waiting for me to work some magic on it. I've read through it a couple times and written down the things that need fixing. I know most of what needs fixing, and I have a pretty good idea of what needs to happen to fix it. But every time I open my laptop to work on it, I get, you guessed it, stuck. My brain ties itself in knots and I get so overwhelmed because I don't know where to start. I'm very scatterbrained, so how can I approach this in a way that will keep my thoughts and the story organized? Should I go back to the beginning and read through the book again? Should I start writing the scenes that I know need inserted, or fix the scenes that are already there that just need tweaking? 

I don't know, so I don't do anything. And so for months I've remained stuck. 

I'm also stuck with blogging. Once upon a time I was overflowing with ideas and potential blog posts, and I have no desire to stop blogging, but I'm at a loss. It's the same way with Instagram. I LOVE posting there, but having consumed or produced so few stories lately, what can I talk about?  

Hopefully you haven't read this far expecting this post to turn inspirational, because, OOPS, that's not what this is. It's more of a... "if you feel this way, you're not alone" post. An "I needed to talk about this or I'll implode" post. 

I can't seem to get myself out of the cycle of deciding to change my habits, work hard, do the things I love and the things I need to do; going strong for about three days; and then going right back into my old habits again. I might just be at the least disciplined I've ever been right now. And it's infuriating, because I know why.

I wanted to make this year one of hard work, of getting things done, of seeing progress. In some ways I'm doing that. In other ways I have so far to go, because I don't want to put in the work. 

Honestly, I think part of my problem is that I haven't quite figured out the balance between letting myself rest when I need it, and gritting my teeth and doing the thing. I loosened my grip on some things when I started college, and now I'm finding it difficult to get ahold of them again. It's not always pleasant realizing the things you need to change and the effort you're going to have to put into changing them. It's uncomfortable. It's not fun. 

Like I said, this isn't an "I figured it all out and here's the recipe, you're welcome" post. I definitely am not unstuck yet. But I'm trying to get there. And maybe I won't ever fully be out of the unstuckness, but little by little I'm working through it. 

I hesitate to even post this because it's not super encouraging, or helpful, or positive. But, hey, it's real. It's where I'm at right now, and I guess if you're here that means you're at least somewhat interested in what's going on in my life. Or maybe this resonated with you and you just needed a reminder that you're not the only one struggling with this. 

For some reason, as I was wrapping up this post, I went back to one of my old blog posts, A Letter to My Future Self. I knew I had written a post right before I started college, but I had totally forgotten that it was actually a letter to myself. And as I started reading it, it hit me that I was the intended audience. I wrote that letter to the Emily that had finished college, and that's me. And as I was reading, I started to tear up, because everything I said in it was true. I did cry. I did struggle. I did wonder if it was all worth it. I don't specifically remember throwing anything, but honestly, I'm sure I did. XD And now, looking back on those two and a half years, it really does feel like just a moment. 

It'll be that way with this dry, challenging season eventually. The work I'm dreading putting in will be... well, not a thing of the past, since I'm talking about mainly writing here, and I don't intend on stopping that. But I'll have made progress, put in more effort to kick the procrastination, and regained some of the fire and passion I used to have.

If you're stuck... it's okay. Not to stay there, but to realize that you ARE there. You just need to give yourself a push to get out. ♥


  1. EMILY. I FEEL SEEN. T_T This is the most relatable post ever. I think I relate to every single word in the entire post. (Well, except college just because I didn't go. XD) All of this stuckness, in writing, in blogging, in reading, in Instagram, even more screentime than reading time (I spend a lot of time reading on my computer for work, so reading more or more computer time for writing are both hard when I'm "off work" which is what I tell myself to feel better but really it's just hard to focus sometimes and watching something is just easier sometimes)... all of it, it's meeee. And has been me for quite awhile now. I still haven't figured out how to get unstuck either, so...sadly, this isn't a helpful advice kind of comment. But it's very much a YOU ARE NOT ALONE. So...thank you so much for sharing this. I'm super, super sorry you are going through this too. I'm sending all the hugs. *huuuuugs*

    1. *hugs* I'm sorry you're feeling stuck, too! It's truly so frustrating, but I know we'll both make it out of the trenches eventually. :) <3

  2. I so deeply relate to this <3 I thought that when I graduated, I'd be able to just dive right back into writing... and for a while I did, but I didn't seem able to make real progress. I feel so dry and unmotivated, and then there's general adulting and life things that just keep yeah, I don't know that I have anything encouraging or inspiring to say either, haha, but I do relate to this. Feeling stuck is the worst, but maybe if we keep forging forward, we'll get through it together. ;)

    Thanks for being so honest and posting this Emily! :D <3