Self-immolation / by AB Mann

I signed up for Shawn Blanc’s Focus Course this weekend in the hopes of rebuilding my creative self and further help remove me from the cloud of self-doubt and anxiety I have been having in my creativity in the last few months.

THe course is about doing our best creative work, about building space in our lives to make the things we want to make. It's turning creativity and personal expression into a rewarding routine. It is an encapsulation of many of the things I have been trying to accomplish with varying degrees of success this last year in my Virtue Project, my writing and handwriting routine, my reading note structure... everything I've been trying to do daily.

I have been trying to write an extended version of my Virtue Project the last two months and it has been agony. I mean serious gnashing of teeth, self-hatred, and surprising amount of resistance that I just do not understand. Every time I sit down to write, world fills with fire and feel helpless to avoid it.

Sitting down to write is like a come down to the kitchen, light the kitchen table on fire, sit down with my coffee, and sit there while it spreads up my arms and consumes my face. All the discomfort is self-inflicted both in that I sit down to write but force myself to stay there until either I quit in frustration or run out of time before work.

In the best cases, I write a paragraph or two before time runs out. Those few sentences have become a drop-dead fight rather than a joy or even a challenge. And any attempt write something else just fuels it, fuels the resistance.

The resistance has grown to an obsessive smolder; it follows me through the day and distracts me from my job.

“You should be writing.”

“You didn’t even get a sentence out today.”

“What do you know about the topic; who are you to bother writing that?” (1)

I’m shelving the extended writing project for now in the name of personal sanity and, hopefully, as a way to step around the fire blocking any progress forward. It’s about giving myself permission to do other things, to find some joy again, to redefine my routine in the morning away from self-immolation and back towards a comfortable, creative hearth.

4 days in to the decision, and 2 days into the course, and I feel a least a little better. I’m writing this instead of flailing, which is a step in the right direction. And while part of me thinks it is personal failure to set aside a project I feel so strongly about - which I do and in a positive way - it's more important to allow for personal sanity rather than constantly relighting the pyre.






1. This last one is especially toxic, I’m aware, and I am talking to people about it. ↩︎︎