What’s Holding You Back?

I have always wanted to be a great journaler. I used to picture myself in the distant future, thumbing through well-worn leather-bound pages filled with whimsy and wonder from my younger days. Off I would go to the bookstore, carefully picking out the most beautiful and mysterious journal to fill. You know the one with the strong leather smell and the uneven pages with the pretty metal clasp or the wrap-around leather tie.

But every time I brought one of these perfect journals home, I would open it to the first blank page and freeze. What should I write? I better start with something good, something perfect. This is a big moment! Don’t mess up. Sufficiently psyching myself out of writing anything, I would set the journal aside and wait for a flash of inspiration…which never came.

But I still wanted to write. I needed to get these words out of my head and onto paper. Not onto the computer. Not onto a blog. Pen on paper. Writing.

So I ditched the one thing that was holding me back.

These days I carry around not a leather-bound journal, but a spiral-bound notebook. The kind you can get at Walmart or the grocery store for around a dollar.

And this has made all the difference.

What's Holding You Back?

Now I’m free to fill these pages with sloppy handwriting and unfinished thoughts. I carry it with me wherever I go. I don’t always write in it. There is no pressure. But when thoughts start swirling around in my brain, they have a place to come pouring out. Maybe I’ll share them, maybe I won’t. But I love being able to sort out thoughts, feelings, life, uninhibited by perfect pages and unrealistic expectations.

And when I’m old and gray, I will sift through these messy pages and smile because I finally did it. My way.


I would be willing to bet there is an area of your life where you are letting perfection get in your way. Don’t let that perfect picture in your head keep you from doing what you are meant to do. Ditch whatever isn’t working and go for it. It might be messy, but it will be yours.

What’s holding you back?


  • Katie Clemons April 12, 2016 at 12:30 am

    I love this! It’s the simplest things that can keep us from writing our stories, isn’t it?!

  • Aimee @ Whispers of Worth April 13, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Oh my goodness! I am the same way. Now, I have a couple of spiral notebooks floating around the house, filled with partial blog posts and scenes from different stories I am working on. I take it to bed with me and scribble away in the dark until I fall asleep. As much as I love a beautiful journal, I love writing more! Spiral notebooks allow me the freedom to write with abandon. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Erin April 15, 2016 at 7:47 am

    I feel like I could be writing this! I write much more freely in plain notebooks than any fancy journal I’ve ever owned!

  • Liz Adamshick April 18, 2016 at 4:18 am

    Natalie Goldberg suggested this is her book “Writing Down the Bones”. It’s excellent advice!

  • Brynn, The Domestic Dietitian April 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Such a great post. I never realized that it could be something so small like a leather notebook versus a spiral notebook that could be standing in your way.