In my early morning writing sessions words flow with urgent ease. Today was no different. Then Bam! I dropped my pen. I stopped writing because I caught myself veering into a tangent. Tangents happen. I’ve grown to love them. They often help me drop deeper into my story, or sometimes they lead me to the real subject I need to write about. When that happens, I begin again from that one true sentence.

But today, as my thoughts veered off topic, I realized this new path arrived NOT because I was heading toward the real story. I veered in order to avoid the crux of the conflict in my tale. I was withholding— mentally and physically. My internal organs wanted to shrivel down until they could disappear into a secret pocket under my heart— never to be seen again. Even my skin seized up.

I nudged myself to breathe deep into my belly, then smiled. I’d become aware of an ineffective writing habit. Awareness— the first step in uprooting the undesirable. It was one of the most glorious moments in my writing life.