I try not to play the victim. What I mean by that is that I try to act like I’m in control of my life regardless of external circumstance. I am responsible for how I respond to my external world. I don’t catch myself playing victim very often.
In this case, I haven’t been writing much lately. And I didn’t realize that I was playing victim about it until I explained my circumstance to another author. “Well I was busy doing a bunch of remodeling on the house, and then I decided to take a break because I had been working so hard, and then we were traveling so I was in a hotel room with my kids and couldn’t get up early to write without waking them up.” When I said it all out loud, I saw them all for what they really were. Excuses. What I was really saying was “I have come up against new hurdles, and I decided to quit running instead of jump them.”
These scenarios are new forms of resistance I haven’t encountered before. They are new barriers to my creative process. Which means I have not come up with solutions for them. Yet. But rather than trying, I have just been waiting for my external circumstance to change. I’ve been waiting for my external environment to go back to the status quo. But there’s a big problem with that. Namely that I don’t know how long it will be until my life settles into any kind of status quo, and it will never settle into the old one. So I could not be writing for months. That’s not acceptable to me. So it’s time to start again. To come up with a new plan.
I read in a book that many would-be-authors tend to wait until the stars align to start writing. They wait for the perfect moment in their life when they have lots of free time and energy to donate to a long-term project. The book described this as waiting for all the lights to turn green before starting a road trip. If I wait for all the lights to turn green before I start writing again, I just won’t start.
What annoys me most is that it took over two months for me to realize I was doing it. But hey, better late than never. So today I am going to analyze the problems I am facing, and come up with a plan of attack. It may not work. I will employ an experimental mindset. I will come up with a solution and try it out. If it doesn’t work, I will modify my approach and try again.
Do you have an area of your life where you play victim? Where you want to become something or do something but never actually do it?
I recently overheard someone say “I live in California. I would love to move to Oregon, but you know…” and she left it there. No, actually I don’t know what reason she would insert there. But what I do know is that it sounds like an excuse. The way to look for victim mentality is to find your buts. What do you want in life? Do you want to write a book? Go to a particular country? Move to a place?
I find that it helps to say it out loud. So for me, “I want to go write a book” then add the “but” and see what comes after. “but, I’m living in hotels right now.” Cute, but other people write books on the road all the time. So I dig deeper. “I want to write a book but I’m afraid I won’t finish it.” Getting somewhere, but not the whole picture. “I want to write a book but I’m afraid it will be crap.” Better. Okay, so I can come up with whatever excuse I want as to why I’m not writing right now. But in the end, it’s mostly fear. And a small portion environmental problems that I haven’t encountered before.
I can see my excuses more clearly. Now I have a choice of how to respond. Do I continue to let my excuses keep me from making the hard choice? Or do I choose to solve the problem? Well as with all stories, what I choose is where my true character is revealed.