Cognitive Dissonance and Writing

Live to Write - Write to Live

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term that refers (in my words) to what happens psychologically when a person holds two opposing thoughts (beliefs) in their mind. Holding two conflicting beliefs causes a psychological discomfort, or dissonance, that is difficult for us to live with. The way we resolve this discomfort is to ignore or discount one of the beliefs.

The problem usually comes because you have a new belief that contradicts an older, unconscious belief. Since you’re not aware you hold this older belief, you can’t question it or decide not to believe it. Therefore, in order to feel better, you ignore the newer belief.

If you are a writer and you become a mother, or a full-time corporate employee, or a caregiver to a sick relative, you will continue to write—unless you have unexamined, unconscious thoughts that cause cognitive dissonance.

Thoughts like these:

  • Mother’s don’t take time away from…

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