As if we needed studies to tell us that the world is a stressful place, I’ve been seeing more click-bait headlines about anxiety lately. People are feeling stressed out by the current political climate. They are worried about the dramatically changing actual climate. We are all struggling with something – but isn’t that just life?
Writing anxiety – or rather, the anxiety related to not writing – is on my mind a lot.
At some point last year, I decided to set this blog as one of the opening tabs in my browser. I wanted to be reminded to write every time I got online. I think I may have written four blogs total since making that decision, but it’s something. Still, it occurred to me earlier this week that I open my browser daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Every single day that I’ve done so, I’ve been painfully aware of the click that dismisses that tab.
Every time I click that little X, I feel a twinge of guilt. I briefly consider leaving it open (and some days it hangs around for several hours, until I get too many things going at once), and then I sigh. I internalize the nagging realization that I don’t write enough. Sometimes I wonder if this is adding to my persistent undercurrent of stress. X marks the quitter.
It certainly brings me pause, when I consider all the plans I had for 2017 writing projects. Granted, the year is barely half over – but I have come nowhere near the lofty goals I set for myself. Maybe it’s a good thing that I go through this struggle each and every time I open my web browser. Initially, I’d see that tab and feel compelled to start a new post. That didn’t necessarily happen, but I felt like I should.
Am I becoming desensitized to the reminder? Am I choosing too often to NOT be writing, because something else is more pressing? Each day I choose to focus first on work, Facebook, checking accounts and paying bills… There’s always something keeping me from it.
But anxiety isn’t the end of the world.
I don’t regret setting up that tab. The daily reminder, even though I rarely choose to immediately start writing a blog post, still increases my chances of starting. We tend to select from whatever options are most visible and convenient to us. I started this post you’re reading because I saw that tab and decided I had a few minutes to type out my feelings of guilt and longing. To be fair, I have accomplished many things in the last few years. I have reached other goals that I had for myself, and some pretty big ones at that.
Even when I’m overstimulated and scrambling to get everything done, I take the time to consider keeping that tab open. It still reminds me that I want to write, and too often I convince myself there’s no time for what I want. Today I choose writing.
Reminders are good, even if they make you end up feeling guilty. In the long run, this is one habit that I still hope to increase. I hope you’re having a great day, and that you choose at least one thing you really want before it’s over.