Some mornings I can’t wait to jump out of bed to write, even if it’s just a Facebook or Twitter update. And some days, well, I feel I’ve lost touch with my writing mojo – that spark to create something that excites me. I forget this is my playground that I created and I can do whatever I want here. It was on one of those uninspiring mornings that I read Something Clever 2.0’s hilarious post How To Cure Writer’s Block and it really hit home.
I’ve been suffering from writer’s block for a month or two now. Okay, maybe three. The summer through me off track completely. (Understatement.) Distracted and disjointed from lots of travel, having a full house again, and armed with the knowledge that I would only have the kids for a short time before they turned around and left again for college, I slipped back into “Mommy Mode” the moment they walked in the door like a mom on steroids.
I wondered how did I ever juggle so much and with so much chaos and so much noise years ago when they lived at home? I blame it on my new empty nester status. After months of a peaceful and quiet existence – often too quiet – I’m now thrown by the ruckus. I get overwhelmed. And, whether I want to admit it or not, I think hormones play a part in this too – I just can’t seem to focus these days. You too, you say?
So you can imagine my surprise when the inspiration for a post finally came to me during a golf lesson one morning. In a nearly perfect pre-swing position, I froze like a deer in the headlights while staring at a tree until my instructor asked what I was doing. “I’m writing,” I whispered, club still perched midair. Sensing I was on a roll, I did what I always do to keep the creative juices flowing…I went to the car wash. Symbolic, yes? And then on my way to there – it happened again. This rush of ideas that filled me after weeks of a dry spell. So I quickly pulled over and grabbed a pen. This is what came to me – hope you’re sitting down – “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Okay, it wasn’t a gem or even original, but at least I wrote something that felt meaningful at that moment, besides my grocery list.
Where do these dry spells come from? Why can they take days or weeks or months to pass? Does everyone suffer from them? Many writers do, and I always enjoy reading how successful writers deal with the ugly monster of perfectionism or when the creative well dries up. How do you write when life gets in the way of inspiration? How do you put down in words what can’t be shared publicly? I wish I didn’t feel like all the stars need to be in alignment for my fingers to start happily clicking away at the keyboard. I agonize over every word. I obsess instead of just trusting what will come out. Not every piece is going to be a winner. And that’s okay. (So I tell myself.) Some of the pieces I’m most proud of left me hearing crickets. You never know what will resonate with people.
When I need inspiration, I try to think of my blogging buddies who don’t let perfectionism get in the way of writing and they are fabulous writers. While I’m waiting for all the stars to go into alignment to be able to write a piece, Julie of Fabulous Blogging is practically knocking one out on an elevator ride, Sharon of Empty House Full Mind is feeling the spark and running with it, and Lisa of Grown and Flown mentioned she once wrote a piece on a subway platform. “Get overself!” I want to scream while I give myself a good shake and a much needed kick in the pants. No one is probably going to read it anyway – so write what you want – DAMN IT! But too often I forget this sentiment.
One of the best take-aways from BloghHer -the mother of all blog conferences – this past July, was: write what you want to write and not what you think others want to hear. If you’re heart isn’t in it people will know, it will show. Basically, write like no ones reading – which very well could be my case! And I don’t mean to imply that sloppiness, bad grammar or poor writing is okay, I’m saying write the best you can about what you’re passionate about and then click publish. Don’t over think it. Let that birdy fly. Just. Let. It. Go.
Or as my friend likes to say, “Sit down, shut up and write!”