‘Writing updates’ as a genre provide such a dopamine kick. (Particularly on social media but you also enjoy telling your very patient and supportive girlfriend, too.)
You have no “following” but simply writing something about the routine of writing, how it’s going well or badly, dispatches into the vast space of The Net provides a sort of Feel-Good-INC. euphoria. Melancholic but hopeful.
You feel suspicious of it though. It’s self-congratulatory before you’ve even done anything, right? Or is it? Have you done anything by writing for an hour? Twenty minutes? Five? At all? Do you deserve dopamine?
Sometimes writing doesn’t “go great”. You may feel bad then. Most writing days, you come to realise, are fine to shitty. Making time for it is the achievement then. This is all there is. Being okay with that.
But then you can’t update anyone. You have to stay quiet for a bit. And then people might politely ask, how’s your writing going? And you go, yeahhh, and make a face, maybe laugh it off. But now you hear yourself and how self-regarding you are and you realise that you sound like a baby playing an incredibly low-stakes game.
And then you feel bad again.
It’s a self perpetuating cycle and the repetitive nature of
a) telling yourself “I am enjoying this and feeling good” or “Today was bad I didn’t write (well/ enough/at all)”,
b) giving anyone who will listen a State of the Union address on your Writing (with a capital W)
feels like the equivalent of tonguing a particularly malevolent mouth ulcer.
You go to bed marking the days since you started this project. How that will affect how people “see” your work etc etc. The list of these tiny, self-made irritants is long… and annoying to recount.
You remind yourself that none of this matters. No one cares. Not a single person is bothered if you finish that story, flesh out that character, study The Great Works or anything else you tell yourself is important. It’s just you.
You are the obstacle. Get out of your way.