I could be writing. Right now. That’s the thought that has been bothering me from the back of my mind whenever I’m at home lately. It’s the thought I’ve been trying to name for months now as the nausea and restlessness have intensified. I figured maybe it was stress about the debt or anxiety about work. Or maybe it was more personal; Was I afraid I wasn’t living up to the ideal of a man or that my wife deserved more from me? But I know it’s not any of those, really.

I could be writing. Right now.

It pops up when I’m watching Netflix or reading a comic book. It’s even louder when I’m absorbed in some silly game on my phone or disappearing into the internet for a few hours. I could be writing, right now, and instead I’m doing something that is conspicuously not writing. So why don’t I do it? Why does that last question bring tears to my eyes every time I ask it? I say I want to write, I dream of being a writer, I have so many fantastic story ideas already sketched out. So why don’t I write?

There’s pain. I haven’t worked out yet where it comes from, or if I have I’m doing a great job of feigning ignorance. Did something happen in my childhood that has me spooked? Did my recent business failure scar me more deeply than I realize? Is there some ingrained belief that doesn’t allow me to express my creativity and show it to the world with my name on it?

Is this what a failed writer feels like?