Earlier I posted about how I haven’t been writing because I’m just so damn worn out. And while I try not to be too hard on myself about that, that itself is…well, hard.
I mean, all it takes is one sideways glance at my feeds to see that they are clogged with new blog posts, updates, follow-ups, and news items that get updated by the hour moment to prove that only I’m to blame when I find myself staring at a blank screen. Obviously I’m not creative enough. Or the ideas I have are bad and not worth exploring. Or the writing I am producing is crap. Pick your flavor – I’ve got 31 ways to blame myself. On really bad days, my efforts to shoo away my internal critic is so hopeless I’m left alone with “I’m not cut out to be a writer.”
When I get some space and take the time to cross examine my own worst critic, I realize how ridiculous that line of thinking is. It’s also reassuring to read something like this to see that I’m not the only one caught up in a tug of war between wanting to write and insisting that what I write is the BEST THING EVER PUT ON PAPER (or, ahem, screen, in this case). I loved the advice she gives her students going through “Bad Brain Days”:
I tell them that they are feeling this way not because they haven’t learned enough, but because they’ve learned so well. They understand how hard what they’re trying to do is, and know that they’re not there yet. I quote to them from Wallace Stevens, that the difference between a good poet and a great poet is that a good poet reads his work and is satisfied.
So as I slowly build up my motivation and inspiration again, I will be trying hard to take her advice and be a little less hard on myself.
It’s been forever since I was here.
26 days to be exact.
In part because I have been alternating between sick and swamped at work, leaving me neither the time nor the energy to sit down in front of a computer at home. But mostly because in the moments I did find the time to write, I found I didn’t have anything to say. I was spent. You can’t force inspiration. It just doesn’t work that way. You can’t sit down, put on your inspiration cap, and tell yourself “Time to write….now what are we going to say today?” Nothing worth writing or reading comes of that.
But it’s also a balancing act, because there’s the pitfall of falling into thinking that because what I have to say isn’t brilliant or perfect, I have nothing worth saying at all.
There’s all kinds of advice out there about how to break through writer’s block, but, for me, there is no surefire cure, other than carving out some time and space away from the computer, but only while giving myself the permission to take a break, so that I’m coming back to something I enjoy, and not trying to escape something that’s become a burden.
I haven’t had much to post lately. Actually, that’s not true. I have lots to say. It’s like thoughts and ideas and posts are just spilling out of me so fast I can’t get them down to paper computer monitor before they float downstream. I have half-baked scraps of posts strewn all over the place. Shards of ramblings that I need to fully develop into posts before I can publish but I just can’t seem to get my act together. Sure, I’ve been home from work with a sick 7 month old for almost 2 weeks with no time to put on pants, nevermind write. And sure, I myself have been really ill. But it’s just so damn frustrating to have so much to say and not enough time to figure out how to say it. It’s like some kind of clogged writer’s block. I start to type all stream of consciousness, only to find that somewhere near the end of the post, I’ve run out of steam and forgotten where this is all going. Or how I meant to construct the narrative. Or the example I wanted to include. So I just keep saving drafts, hoping that I’ll have the chance to revisit, come back, and whip that draft into shape. I’m still hopeful that I’ll have that chance, but in the meantime, just wanted to check in and say “Hey Interwebz! Yeah, how you been?”