Advice from a Serial Avoider

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Advice from a Serial Avoider

Have you ever felt like you have so much you want to accomplish– such a massive inner agenda, and you don’t really know where to start, so you freeze and avoid doing anything at all?

That’s me.

My creative “cycle” looks something like this: I have several ideas I think are brilliant, I start brainstorming them, then I start doubting whether it was in fact a good idea or if it’s total crap, so I drag my feet and take a “break” from it, decide maybe I should work on something else, then wonder what else I should work on, and it’s all just so overwhelming that I curl up in a little ball and cry a little and start my self-pity party.

“This is too hard!!!”

“OMG i’m wasting more time!!”

Then, not being able to stand being present with my own anxious thoughts, I loose myself in Facebook, political blogs or other ridiculous mind junk.

Then I feel really, really guilty.

I titled this post “Advice from a Serial Avoider” in hopes that getting this all out on paper I would start to figure some things out, and it’s actually working.

It shouldn’t be this hard. I also shouldn’t be so hard on myself. It’s tough going at something completely on your own, while being your own coach and your own critic.

As creatives, we’re not always equipped to be our own bosses, holding ourselves accountable while also trying to stay motivated, all while constantly fighting our powerful fear of failure.

I’m the stereotypical messy, unorganized, daydreamy, slightly eccentric creative, and I have millions of thoughts running in and out of my head every day. Also, no one ever taught me how to be organized, and my attempts at it have always failed because, well…i’m unorganized!

I have the magnificent book, “Getting Things Done,” by David Allen, which i’ve started twice, lost the book twice, and still haven’t finished.

So here’s my advice to you–and to myself, when you feel the urge to avoid doing what you know you want to get done:

1.Ask yourself, “What am I avoiding?”

In my case, it was getting my schedule together so I could plan time to write, clean and exercise (the activities I was also avoiding, by default)

2.Ask yourself, “Why am I avoiding this?”

This takes a little digging. The obvious answer was “Because i’m afraid if I do them, i’ll fail at them.”

That’s always my primary reason for avoiding, but I’ve learned to push through my fear, so there must be another reason, and I eventually figured that one out too:

“I’m overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.”

So there you have it–if you dig through all the layers of emotion and topical “i’m tired” excuses, you’ll eventually get to the bottom of why your avoiding, and hopefully find some clarity on how to move forward.

Also–it helps to write it all down, even if you’re not a writer. When there’s so much junk in your head, the words give you something to focus on.

ALSO–Love yourself. You’re doing just fine.

Are you a chronic avoider? Let’s talk about it in the comments!












  1. I’ve become better at this, but I too struggle with the fear of failure by avoiding. More and more I put that dreaded item at the top of the list and don’t let myself do anything else until it’s done. It definitely makes everything else seem easier 🙂

    • That’s a great idea! The feeling of having finished something difficult is so rewarding, and I wonder why that feeling doesn’t stick! I read the other day that discipline is more important than motivation…so true. 🙂

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