The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem

I have to admit it. I have been struggling lately. I have this dreadful condition. Just awful. It is debilitating. A roadblock of sorts.

As a newly established blogger/writer, I am calling it “writers block” but the “writers” part of the block is just the way it is manifesting itself this time. So, before you stop reading because you may not be a writer and think this doesn’t somehow relate to you, understand that though this condition may seem specific to writers, it actually happens to most of us at various points in our life. Here are some of my symptoms:

imagesfall into some type of rut an can’t get out

imageslose confidence

imagesbecome insecure

imagesget in my own way

imagesspin my wheels

imagesanalyze everything to death

imagesshut down creatively

Has this ever happened to you? This typically happens to me during times of change or transition.

Loss of a job, change in marital status, a move to a new town, a milestone birthday are a few examples that can prompt these symptoms. I am certainly going through a transition now as my youngest is off to college and life has changed significantly and the last few months have been less than routine. I have been out of sorts. And my blog has taken a hit.


bullet-css2my mind has been a jumbled mess

bullet-css2the words are not flowing

bullet-css2I am unable to meet deadlines (self-imposed)

bullet-css2I analyze every aspect of my writing and analyze it way too much

So, I stop writing. The fear takes over. The paralysis sets in.


When I first started writing I found it exhilarating. No expectations, no pressure. And people started reading and reading. And then it got into my head.

I realize this happens in other aspects of my life. I think back to when I took up  golf. I picked up a club and hit the ball. It felt good when I made contact and I had no expectations and was so carefree. And then it got into my head. “Hold your club this way, don’t move your body, keep your head down. If you can just make this putt you will have the best score ever.” The thoughts, doubts, insecurities took over and affected my performance.

So, I am calling my problem writers block because I write a blog and have seen my blog most affected. Truth be told it has affected many aspects of my life. I put pressure on myself to figure out everything – my next project, my next move with this sense of immediate urgency and again it leads to just one jumbled mess.

We all have some types of “blocks” in our lives that trip us up. We can be our own worst enemy at times.

Now what?

Well, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

The next step is addressing it. Sometimes it takes me a while to get to this step. My mind races. I have too many thoughts. I need to work things out in my own time. There is a fine line between  a reasonable amount of time to re-group and getting stuck in neutral, not being able to focus and move forward.


I find writing helps me sort things out. The very thing I haven’t been able to do. So I begin to write and as I do I begin to understand the steps I need to take to recover from my condition.


Giving advice is the easy part. Taking my own advice the hard part. So, here goes.

bullet-list-red-02Give yourself permission to take a “time-out”. It is ok to be in this state on from time to time.

bullet-list-red-02Free yourself of self-imposed pressure. (Women, we are the worst at this.)

bullet-list-red-02When you feel out of control, take control over aspects of the situation you CAN control.

bullet-list-red-02Find ways to relax, reflect and get your thoughts together.

What works for you?

For me, it is listening to music, taking a walk, putting myself in an environment free of distractions. It really does help me clear my mind.

bullet-list-red-02Begin to do something, anything, to create momentum to help you get out of the funk. Sitting and stewing gets you nowhere.

bullet-list-red-02Get back on the horse, even if it is scary. Confront the fear head on.

The author Charles Bukowski says, “Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”.

So, that is what I will do. I will get back on the horse, so to speak and write. Again.

The other stuff will eventually sort itself out in due time.


About Shari

I am a two-time cancer survivor and patient advocate. Diagnosed as a young adult, at age 25 with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I had to quickly face the reality of life’s curveballs. My treatment offered a potential cure while at the same time, underestimated the long term side effects including a secondary cancer (breast cancer) nine years later. Shortly after my breast cancer treatment ended, my youthful, seemingly healthy mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and passed a year later. I have lived the cancer experience as a patient and a family member/ caregiver and understand both sides. Life after treatment is often challenging emotionally and physically and there is a gap in providing needed support. I don’t consider cancer a gift as it is not something I would ever want to give to someone. Rather, I view cancer as an opportunity; one I received at an early point in my life to live intentionally, understanding how things can change at any moment. I live without regrets, fully understanding the gift and fragility of life.
This entry was posted in blogging, motivation, Resilience, roadblocks, transition, writers block. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem

  1. Linda Kane says:

    You are terrific and although I am NOT a writer ( in fact I dislike writing) I can totally


  2. Lynda Ellis says:

    Shari, if you were to gather all the writers together and ask them what they do when their creative juices are not flowing you would have a multitude of answers. I can only speak for myself. There are times when I write nothing for months. During this period of time I am actually forming ideas and ways of looking at things internally. Most of this time I am not consciously aware of this. When I begin writing again it is easy and effortless because it has already been written. I, like you, are inspired by nature, solitude, and music. On one occasion a visit to a Planetarium to see the constellations filled me with such awe and grace that words just flowed out of me for days. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. It is our stories that connect us….


    • Shari says:

      Thanks for your comments Lynda and words of wisdom. Writing in a public way is new for me and yes, I agree there are times where it is so tough and others when the words just pour out. Knowing what helps us to gather our thoughts- the music and solitude helps!


  3. Lisa Kaplan Friedman says:

    I wander around saying “I have no talent I have no talent!” If only pacing burned calories.
    Also, when insecurity overwhelms, try revising the goal to writing something truly awful. Erases pressure.


    • Shari says:

      Thanks for the advice and your thoughts. Ha if only pacing and worrying burned calories.. For the record, I think you are a very talented writer and your writing seems to effortless to me. Always look forward to reading it.


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