Wednesday, September 13, 2017
I was talking with a friend the other day about feeling lost. I've not written consistently in more than a month and while it's not writer's block, exactly, it does feel like I'm blocked by something.
Deadlines are looming, I have story ideas, yet I'd rather do laundry or dust the floors than sit down and write.
Much of this is a resurgence of free-floating anxiety I've dealt with my whole life. It comes in waves, often tied to nothing tangible I can name. Sometimes it's external stressors that worm their way in past my boundaries and defenses. Certainly there are enough of them in the world right now to fill a endless well.
Like many artists and creative types, my emotional filters are quite porous. Most of the time, what gets in becomes part of my work. It gets processed and transformed. But sometimes, I feel like I'm mired in a stagnant pool of ugliness.
My friend pointed out that she's seen me move through these cycles before and I know she's right. That may be the only saving grace of all of this. I am not panicking about the stalled writing because I know that the words will return.
Part of that process is returning to more regular blogging and returning to journaling and poetry. These rituals are part of priming the pump for my other writing.
And while many writers will talk about the need to write every day, there's also the truth that creativity doesn't emerge from nothing. Humans are not machines that dispense creativity with inputs of food and rest (though those are important).
To live a creative life, I think we need to strike a balance between consistent practice and refilling the creative well. Sometimes we can do both at once. For me, right now, that's not the case.
But I've been here enough times to know this is my normal.
If you're struggling out there (and goddess knows there's enough to struggle over), remember to breathe. If you write every day, that's great. If you take long breaks where you're not writing, that may be exactly what you need. One doesn't mean you've arrived at the pinnacle of professional writer; the other doesn't mean you're a slacker or hack.
Note to self: read the above paragraph again. This pertains to you, too!