I just did what you’re not supposed to do as a writer.
I checked out.
For over a month, in fact, which is significant. That’s 30-some days I could have spent in front of my computer putting words on the page, and not a single one flowed out of my brain to any meaningful degree.
Instead, I helped my boyfriend after an unfortunate ski accident mid-March. Then I nursed him back to health after his knee surgery last week. I spent a weekend in Florida with my boyfriend’s parents riding around in golf carts and shamelessly enjoying the weather. I tried like mad to stay on top of a sudden and overwhelming influx of work after a winter of almost nothing coming in. I panicked, wondering if this career I’ve set up for myself just so that I can write is even working. I signed myself up for a class to learn how I can make this career work for myself a little bit better. I worried about taxes and finances and the pitfalls of being self-employed (and listened to my accountant’s fatherly lectures about the pitfalls of being self-employed). I reminded myself to take deep breaths, to work out, to read books, to stay sane…but I wasn’t doing the thing I most needed to do.
In the writing world, they’re all called “excuses.” In my world, it’s called “life.” If Steven Pressfield were here right now, he’d kick my ass. I’d kick my ass, too. But then I’d sit down and take stock and realize that sometimes you just need to pay attention to what’s happening in front of you, to participate in the ebb and flow of the world you inhabit with your loved ones, to honor your emotional wheelings and mental dealings, and to know that there will come a week, a day, an hour when you can, in fact, return to the page.
Which is what I’m doing right now.
This post is not going to win any awards. It’s boring. Everyone has shit happen. Every writer goes through these struggles whether they admit to them or not. Nothing I’m saying is interesting, insightful, or new. The guilt I feel about temporarily abandoning my calling is irrelevant.
The important thing is that I’m saying something right now. When readers go back and look at my archive, they will see that in April of 2015 I broke a streak of hedging. I summoned the energy from somewhere. I did what I’m supposed to do as a writer, which is to eventually check back in and let everything else go.
If you’re not writing right now, make sure you know why. Make sure there is a why. If there isn’t, get to it. If there is, it’s OK.
Soon, it’ll be better.
Soon, it’ll all come back.
Soon, we’ll forget we ever had anything to worry about at all.