On Getting Unstuck

I find that sometimes after I complete a particularly difficult task successfully, I get stuck. I get stuck in fear and procrastination, and a general sense of doom that my best work is behind me and that I should just give up while I’m ahead. I end up in that scary place in my head where I go on occasion when I’ve set the bar a little higher than I’m motivated to reach the next time around. And I become fearful that I’ll never be able to do as good in the future. I was feeling this way today. My last post was hard to write. It took a lot out of me. And it got over three hundred views in one day. I’m no famous writer so that’s kind of a big deal in my little reintroduction to the blogging world. With that sort of behind me, approaching the process of writing a third post is somewhat agonizing because I feel like no matter what I come up with, it won’t match up.

I have also learned that this struggle is part of my creative process and that this is what often leads to the blocks in my creative life. So after that really heavy last post,  I decided that rather than procrastinating and avoiding writing another post, I would write about my anxiety—you know, air that dirty laundry, write through the block, and come out on the other end having grown a little.

But seriously, have you ever exceeded your expectations with something you did and then found yourself kind of nervous about trying again because you weren’t sure if it would be as good as the last time?

It’s funny how failure isn’t the only thing that can make you afraid of trying again. Success is just as bad. I think in many ways, success can be worse than failure because it forces you to come face to face with the thought that you might never write something great again. Think about that, what if the last thing you wrote (or painted, or sang, or *insert your craft here*) was the last thing you will ever write? I know it sounds silly when I write it out like that, but it’s a real fear. Nobody wants to be a one hit wonder.

I can’t say that I like failure, obviously, but I have come to appreciate it because I think we’ve become friends over the past few years. There’s something incredibly liberating about smashing expectations that let’s you off the hook enough to get you motivated because there’s no one left to disappoint. Success on the other hand is this elusive thing that everyone is seeking and there never seems to be enough to go around.

Perhaps it’s important to have my own personal definition of success. It can mean different things to different people; and chasing success for success’ sake is futile. But if I can define what success means to me, it would make achieving it that much more meaningful. I also have to define it in such a way that doesn’t feed my fears around it. So maybe using a generous filter of self-compassion is going to be vital.

After giving it some thought, success for me, with regards to this blog, means that:

  1. I wrote something.
  2. I did my best.
  3. I was honest.
  4. I tried.

This definition of success isn’t going to be for everybody. I am keeping it simple and keeping the bar low because I know how I am and how I can get. I’m tired of being hard on myself. It’s exhausting. It’s the proverbial monkey wrench in my creative process. So these four components of success for me are incredibly liberating.

What about you? What are your thoughts on success? Do you ever feel weighed down by it? Or does it propel you forward? How would you define success for yourself? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments section!

Grace and peace, my dearly beloveds.


4 thoughts on “On Getting Unstuck

  1. dragonpathstudios says:

    In 1985, after a huge excited response to Drivin’n’Cryin, I was asked to produce the Indigo Girls. I was secretly afraid that I would not be able to give them their own distinct sound. When we finished the Indigo Girls record and released it, I was not prepared for the overwhelming response we got. My “success” fears gradually vanished with every job and every great response. I’m not scared anymore.


    • Benita Grace Joy says:

      Frank, thanks so much for sharing your story! I agree. One of the ways I cope is to keep going and even though there are ups and downs, with each new success, the fear diminishes and I start to believe in myself more. I hope to someday reach where you are where fear isn’t so great a factor. Also, you are a great encouragement to me, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Silvia says:

    I really like your measure of success that you’ve set for the blog and it reminds me that sometimes success doesn’t have to be this grand thing. That’s something I need to apply more often. Maybe then I’ll actually get more done.


    • Benita Grace Joy says:

      Hi Silvia, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Yes! I have no actual measured evidence to prove this but I could safely say, in most cases, that the time I spend procrastinating is directly proportional to the level of expectation I set on the thing that I need to get done. So lightening up on the demands usually makes it easier to approach the activity. It’s easier said that done–but awareness is a start. 🙂


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