“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”
– Charles Bukowski
So, here it is.
I suppose I knew it would happen eventually. Apparently, it’s finally my turn to get to experience it. The thing that all writers dread. The looming creativity sucker that waits patiently to strike your pen when you least expect it. The ever-dreaded writer’s block.
Honestly, I’m not sure it’s ever happened to me before. My problem has never been not being able to write – it has always been not having time to write. Give me a few uninterrupted seconds and a keyboard, and this girl will hammer something out in a jiffy. It may not be something good, mind you. But at least it would be something. And to a writer, most days ‘something’ is enough.
Lately, though? Nothing.
To be honest, though, I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. Nothing major has gone wrong really, but a lot of little things had started adding up and I got to the point where I was just overstressed and tired. So very tired. My passion was on hiatus.
I was talking to my friend Zoe about this and while I don’t exactly agree with her deeming me ‘amazing’ (but hey, that’s what friends are for, right?), I have given a lot of thought to something that she said. She told me,
“Being so amazing has its down side. There has to be periods of recovery… it’s not sustainable otherwise.”
Again – not calling myself amazing. But you know what? I do a lot of stuff. Or, I did a lot of stuff. I have been putting forth great effort lately to cut back on the amount of things I have put on my life plate. And while I know that will be a good choice in the long run, you know what I’ve noticed? This transition has not been as easy as I thought it would be. This ‘period of recovery’ wasn’t feeling so great.
Before, I had been running on all cylinders. Full steam ahead, no time to stop and think, just go, go, go. But then when I consciously forced myself to just stop that – I think I got a little confused. Suddenly, everything was different. I was no longer ‘needed’ in all the areas of my life that I thought couldn’t function without me.
Here. Maya Angelou said it better than I ever could:
“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
Well, Ms. Angelou, that’s what I did. I withdrew. And suddenly I realized that what she said was right – everyone could exist eternally in my absence.
I’ll be honest, that first realization hit me hard. There I lay on my couch at home and life was continuing all around me. Races were taking place without my name on the roster. The next theatre show’s rehearsals continued without my being a part of the cast. Blogs were still being published without my name on the byline of any of them. And so on and so forth. I felt like a face in the crowd. Just a tiny, unimportant blip in the history of humanity. What was my purpose? If my active participation didn’t affect these events, then why had I ever done any of them to start with?
Well, I don’t know. Slowly, I think I started to realize something.
Maybe this is not such a bad thing.
We all want to feel important. We’re lying if we say we don’t. But I think I spend my life searching for importance in places I didn’t need to be searching. Yes, it’s fun to be a part of things – to have hobbies and groups that we’re a part of. But when it comes down to it, you really, truly aren’t going to be missed if you bow out every now and then. And as someone who tends to lean a little too far to the ‘control freak’ side, it’s actually somewhat freeing to realize that. I don’t have to do everything. I really don’t.
Wow. Who knew!?
So, here I am again. Climbing my way out of my misguided pit of self-pity and back into my life. Only this time, that life isn’t going to be quite so cluttered. And that’s a good thing.
I’m still not exactly sure what I want to write about now that life isn’t filled with so much chaos. Chaos definitely inspires creativity, that’s for sure. But I guess this blog entry was a start, right? Writing about the absence of clutter. Writing about writer’s block. Writing about newfound simplicity.
Hmmm. Well, that wasn’t so hard.
“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”
– Ray Bradbury
Ok, Ray. I hear ya. I’m gettin’, I’m gettin’….
“Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:
“Fool!” said my muse to me, “look in thy heart, and write.”
– Philip Sidney