Dec 12 / Anna Adami

Is internalized capitalism affecting your writing?

Internalized capitalism is sneaky, quiet, and dangerous. Much like how factories pollute waterways, internalized capitalism can pollute our creative flow. Maybe at first it's unnoticeable, easy to dismiss. But eerie things begin happening. The color of the water changes. Fish float to the surface, dead. Our writing practice becomes a chore rather than a ritual. We start arriving at the page stressed and despairing, not inspired and aligned. 

How does internalized capitalism look in writers?

  • struggling to rest during off-time because we "should" be writing 
  • only valuing our writing when it's income-producing or career-advancing 
  • dismissing our writing practice as frivolous, just a silly hobby
  • assuming we're not a "real writer" if we haven't been published 
  • celebrating workaholism in ourselves and other writers
  • thinking if we're not writing everyday, we're a failure 
  • assuming we must always be growing, developing, producing more and better and at all times forever

Sound familiar?

In myself, I notice internalized capitalism most often through guilt. Tight chest. Antsy-ness. Guilt for writing when I should be doing the dishes or doing something income-producing. Guilt for doing the dishes when I should be writing. 

What if we stopped applying a capitalist ethos to creative life?

And instead we chose to do what felt right for our body and soul? This doesn't mean forgoing the necessity of paying bills, cleaning the house, or even facing the difficult or monotonous parts of a writing practice. This just means reclaiming our intuition. Letting our time become less regimented and more cyclical. Tending to our whole self, not just our productive self. 

We are capable of feeling inspired, curious, and playful. Our writing practices can be energized, aligned, and fulfilling. The worth of our work can be measured in something less tangible and more soulful than income, publications, or honors. It is a matter of choice, mindfulness, and practice. Reversing pollution isn't easy, but community helps.
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