When I started this blog back in 2010, everything about it seemed easy and fun. I had just started my first year of full time work in a mental health clinic, and felt like I needed a light-hearted creative outlet to balance out the heavy content I was beginning to process with clients. I also missed the act of writing everyday (my previous job had been in magazine writing) and wanted a place and a reason to get back into that groove.
But lately… hmmph. The well has really gone dry. I open up the screen every morning and have a staring contest. My mind turns to mush and my eyes fixate on the screen, or my chipped toenail polish, or the unmowed lawn at the edge of my chair. My fingers? They just drape themselves over the keyboard–limp, useless–waiting for my brain to send them a signal to do something purposeful.
It’s the biggest cliche in the book to write about your writer’s block and writers are supposed to avoid cliches at all costs. But sometimes the only way out is through, so today I’m just going to try to work my way through it by essentially talking to myself. If you’d like to come along and listen, you are more than welcome, but I must warn you upfront that my motives are purely selfish and this post is more for me than it is for you.
I’ll treat you to ice cream next week. Of course by that time, it might be more appropriate to go out for soup.
I can think of a few reasons why I’m having a harder time writing these days. A change in season means a change in routine, and sometimes I have a hard time adapting to one. Maybe I’m not writing because I’m so drained at the end of my work day that the mere idea of trying to complete a few interesting sentences seems an impossible task. I do SO much sitting all day that it feels particularly lazy to do more sitting and navel-gazing at home. I’m having a hard time writing because I’m absolutely awful about editing myself as I go along, which leads me to a bunch of false starts without ever really finishing anything. Many times I’ve written something perfectly acceptable for this mom-and-pop writing blog with a puny readership and I still can’t pull the trigger because I feel it’s not good enough. There are also a million great and interesting subjects that I’d like to write about, but won’t, because they’re too personal to share in this space. Sorry internet–I don’t always trust you with my secrets. So I write nothing instead. And the longer I write nothing, the drier the well becomes. It’s like all those Spanish classes I took for years–if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Or maybe I just don’t want to write anymore. Maybe I find the act of writing a bit pretentious. Maybe I consider it boring. Maybe I find it too tedious and would rather do something where my brain doesn’t have to work as hard. Maybe I should watch more reality TV or spend more time surfing the internet. I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty awesome at checking Facebook compulsively. Perhaps that’s my true calling. That, or it’s another one of my downfalls.
Maybe I’m just going through a phase–like acne or awkward bangs–and one day I’ll wake up, turn on my computer, and my fingers will make sparks again. I hope so, because I can think of a few reasons why I think it’s important for me to keep writing these days.
I have a day job that can be an emotional siphon, the kind where you spend 8-10 hours listening to others share stories that can be alternately sad, scary or stressful without always having the time to check in with yourself about how you’re feeling about life. Right now I can say I’m feeling a little bogged down by it, and I’m going to need to make a few changes–including finding my own therapist–to get some of my balance back. When you look outward all day long, it’s not pretentious to look inward for a measly hour or two a day. It’s essential. Writing has always been a preferred method for processing my feelings, and without it, they’re starting to build up and wreak havoc. My dad asked me how I was doing the other day and I nearly burst into tears.
In the wise words of one of my clients: “Pressure busts pipes.”
Time to make some changes. Time to fill the well. I’m ready to clear the pipes.