A conversation with my stuck project which turns into a conversation with fear.

Last night I wrote in my planner: Why is my journal project stalled?

I’ve started writing QUESTIONS in my planner. This feels revolutionary. Since our Structure Habits Routines explorations I’ve been more consistent about using my planner, and more creative about how I use it.

I have permission now: it doesn’t have to look like my pre-pandemic planners looked like. I’m not that plan-happy person anymore.

I do write in what I want to do each day. I draw my meditations from the Monday Co-Dreaming calls, to hold that energy with me all week. I write out goals for the week for my journal project and track my progress.

And that - tracking the progress - feels SO helpful.

Because I can see right now that progress is slowing.

It FEELS stalled, progress is still happening but not like it was.

So - what’s up with that?

I sit with it and see there are:

  • My feelings about the project
  • My feelings about the process
  • The other projects that are tapping me on the shoulder and asking for attention

The thing that stands out is:

A week ago I felt THRILLED by this whole thing. I loved the way the pages look, I love what the pages say.

This week I feel UNCERTAIN about the whole thing. I am second-guessing some of the artwork AND writing.

And I feel SCARED about feeling UNCERTAIN. It sparks new questions:

What if this sucks?

What if I suck?

What if I’ve been on the wrong path with this? This has been SO LONG in the making!

What if all of my other ideas suck too?

OK so now I see we are definitely in Un-Sticking Station territory!

Bringing the fear into the Un-Sticking Station:

It’s a bug of some kind. I want to say praying mantis but I don’t know anything about praying mantis including who they look. But it’s standing with it’s arms in prayer pose.

It’s in a cave-like place, with light coming from behind it. Feels sacred and safe.

Why are you here?

This is my safe space.

Why are you upset?

You disturbed my safe space.

Ahhhh I see.

This project is too scary - I mean this particular journal but also the whole move to doing ALL the journal ideas you have. BUYING NEW MARKERS FOR IT!!!!

The markers scared you?

You invested in this.

I’ve invested so much time already, that’s way more than the value of the markers.

Yeah true I guess that happens incrementally and the markers was this thing I could see. It woke me up.

So you’re ok with me investing in this project incrementally?

I was, but I was always going to get upset if it got a place where you would actually SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD.

I mean, THE WHOLE WORLD is not paying attention to me. I was going to share it with the people who are paying attention to me. These are people who already like/support my work.

People could hate-follow you.

Wow, you live in a sacred cave and you know about hate-following?

I hear things in here!

OK, but if anyone hate-follows me then that’s their thing, that has nothing to do with me, right? They’re not going to buy this journal. My work isn’t for them. So aren’t they irrelevant?

Yeah but they might DO something.

Like what? Tell me I suck?


You’re already doing that though?

Bug bursts into tears.

I give it a hug.

Listen, sweetheart, I love you. I mean - you live here in this safe scared cave because I made this space for you where you don’t have to be so present in the scary world, right? Like, that cave shows the healing work we’ve done together over the years, doesn’t it?

Yeah, I love it here. But I’m scared that this new project might crack a hole in the cave.

Oh, I see. Yes that’s a valid fear.

It is!!!

But telling me I suck isn’t a valid way to handle it.

No, you’re right.

So what are we going to do? I really want to go back to feeling excited and inspired about this project.

I guess we keep doing what we’ve always done. You want to do the things you want to do, and deep down I want that for you too, so I’ll let you know when it gets too scary for me and we can reinforce the walls.

I do want to keep doing what we’ve always done, as it giving you space to have your feelings but “reinforcing the wall” feels a bit off. Like - what if I can help you feel more brave and sure and safe WITHOUT thicker walls? What if we could even let some sunlight in here? It feels like you’ve been in a healing cocoon and that’s fantastic but also - is it really forever? Is it time for some…

The bug cuts me off and is immediately out in a meadow of flowers.

I can be safe here! I feel safe! But also I can breathe out here.

The bug is not a praying mantis anymore. I’m not sure what it is. It’s setting up a hammock attached to wildflowers.

Ha! In Monday’s Co-Dreaming call on How Easy Can It Be my dream showed me that it was strong enough for me to string a hammock to it and rest.

I was going to take the day off and go to the beach. I usually go to the beach at least once a week in the summer and I haven’t been there once. Then I decided - the heat is exhausting this year I know being in the water is refreshing but everything else? I don’t actually want to.

But what if I lay around inside in air conditioning and read books?

This is NOT the answer I was looking for about why the journal project is stuck but I am going to trust it for today, and come back to this tomorrow.

It seems logical to me that my fear needing a day of rest today IS the thing that can help me re-connect with the magic of this project and create a more creative day tomorrow.


After writing this I wanted to open the program where I have the artwork for this project... and I was inspired! Things felt good! The things that didn't feel good - I had ideas for what to change. I had written this post in a coffee shop and spent TWO MORE HOURS there drawing! Back in the flow!

The Un-Sticking Station is not always this fast, but I sure appreciate when it is.

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