Writer's Block


I hate writer's block. I hate feeling like I've hit a wall and can't think of a thing to write. I hate opening up a work-in-progress and staring at a blank screen. The thing about writer's block is that you feel . . . lost. You can't find your words. You can't seem to find your way. So you just coast for a while because that's all you can do. (I live there all the time.)

Do you know that feeling, lovey?

There are things you want to do, but at the moment, you don't want to start. There are dreams floating around somewhere, but you'll chase them later.

I think coasting is just fine every now and then. I know for myself, there are times I need to free up my schedule, take a step back, reevaluate what I'm doing and who I'm doing it for.

Sometimes we need to go find inspiration.

Sometimes it finds us. (I especially appreciate this because I'm really too tired to go hunting for inspiration.)

Sometimes I need to throw things away. Sometimes I feel a desperate need to just go buy anything.

We can be crazy people, lovey. (I speak for myself here.)

Do you ever feel like you still need to find yourself? A girlfriend and I were talking about this the other day--how for so many people, they found their niche in their twenties. They came into their own. But for other women, it happens in their thirties. I'm now thinking that this happens every decade. And that can be a good thing. We can rediscover who we are. (Or maybe discover ourselves for the first time.)

Does the same passion we had in our twenties carry over . . . or . . . just maybe . . . are we allowed to find new passions?

So this week, I was looking through an old trunk of mine and I found a journal. I was shocked because I'm terrible at journaling, but apparently I was good at it during one of my college years. I read through the journal, reminiscing. The thing about journaling is that we're usually writing out all our confusion and heartbreak and doubts. And reading it later makes me feel two things: annoyed at how ridiculous it all sounds and annoyed by the fact that some doubts and insecurities never go away.

So I threw it away.

I've done this before. I found some old journals in my closet before I got married. It was the same nonsensical stuff--I read through them, reminisced a little, then threw them away.

We don't live there anymore, lovey.

My mother journals--just a little bit--each day on a calendar. She doesn't write much, obviously, because everything has to fit into one of those tiny squares. I've started doing the same thing on a day planner, and I like that better. I flip back through it and just see snippets of my life--drinks with Nancy on Tuesday. Lunch date with Marianne at Kneaders. Lily started clapping. Baked ziti for dinner. Coffee with Ryanne. Mailed Michelle's birthday card. Game of Thrones on Sunday. Journey group. Teacher Appreciate Week. And so on and so on. I actually like to flip through my mother's calendars and see what she writes. She told me last week that she found a (really) old calendar she'd written in and the snippets looked like this: Sara played at Miriam's house. Miriam played at our house. Church services.

Moments that fill up our lives.

My mom read me some of the things she'd written down and my thought was, Wow! That was a lifetime ago.

And it really was. A different time, a different season. My parents are different now. And yet, my parents are the same.

It's true for us all, lovey. We're different now, but we're the same. As I read through that old journal, I could see myself as clear as day, walking around campus, worrying about finances, trying so hard to find who I was.

I recognize that girl. She's me. But . . . I've changed. Of course I have. It's been years. But some of who she was lingers in me. And that's fine. I look at Ashtyn, who I adore, and I know she'll change as she grows. But who she is, that little girl with a tender heart and a huge imagination, I don't want all of that to vanish as she grows. It'll probably manifest itself in different ways, but as her mom, I hope I can still see it. I hope I can find it in her, and help her find those parts of who she is, if she ever needs me to.

Self-discovery is a process. Sometimes, as time passes, we stumble upon a new career or a new hobby that becomes extremely fulfilling to us. Maybe a woman spends decades raising her kids, then they move away and she finds her niche. Or maybe she had it all along, and squeezed it in among everything else going on. Or maybe she had one career for years, and decides to try something new because why not?

We're free to pursue new passions, lovey. This matters to me. We're free. To shake off any perceptions of us and just be who we are in this moment. To make big changes and small changes. Maybe you need to make a new friend. Maybe you need to give yourself space from someone who isn't a good friend to you.

Here's an idea. When you have the energy, cook something you've never made before. Read a book from a different genre than you normally stick with (make sure there are good reviews for it. And if you get halfway in and you don't like it, it's okay to stop). Change up one room in your house. It can be small, maybe a bathroom or laundry room. Buy new nail polish.
 
I'm in a place in my life that, honestly, feels very monotonous. We're talking wash, dry, repeat. (Laundry is not my favorite, btw.) Breakfast, swim lessons, snack time, lunch time, nap time (which rarely goes as I hope), dinner time, homework, clean up the disaster that occurs at every meal, bedtime.

Repeat.

It can make me a little crazy. But I'm okay with it for the most part . . . because I'm a mother and right now, this is my season.

Still, it's not the complete picture of who I am. And who I am becoming.

Through Facebook, we can see glimpses into people's lives who we've known for years, maybe since high school or even beyond. Do you ever see glimpses of someone you knew years and years ago, and you're amazed by how they've changed? I definitely have. There are people I knew for just one season of their life, and looking at them now, they seem like different people. Their beliefs have changed completely. The things they are so passionate about now were never even mentioned when you knew them.

We change.
 
It's true for nearly all of us, in one way or another. 

It's okay to find a new passion. (I'm talking hobby or career here, lovey! Don't drop the guy! . . . Unless you need to, and only you can know that.) It's okay to dig deep when it comes to faith and find out what you truly believe--apart from how you were raised or what's popular in our culture. It's good to dig deep and find a faith that is your own. It's great to dream of new ideas.

Guess what. You can be a mom (or grandparent!) and still be a dreamer. Finding time and resources to pursue new things can be hard (believe me, I know this), but there's a time for everything.

Be a dreamer.

That is the only antidote I've found for writer's block. Dreaming. Thinking out new scenarios. Playing with characters in my head. Reading something new and fresh. Tasting something different.

So it's fine to be a dreamer. And BE A DOER.

(I still have to do laundry even though it's the worst.)

My friend just turned thirty and we were talking about this next chapter of her life. That got me thinking. I'm sort of smack-dab in my current chapter of kids and toddler-hood. The next big change for me will probably be hitting forty. That's a few years away (thank goodness), but it's on the horizon. Who will I be in my forties? Should I start a new career change? Should I get my master's degree? (If I really ask you this, talk me out of it.) Where should I go? Should we move? (If I ask you this, tell me I'm crazy.)

But really, I want to be open to anything.

Some days are very monotonous. Some days feel like an adventure. If you flip through one of my mom's calendars from when my sisters and I were growing up, you'll see both. I know this is what life is made of.

(Side note: Have you ever seen that movie Chasing Liberty? I LOVE when Mandy Moore says, "I want to find passion!" as she wanders off. Then Ben runs into someone and says, "Sorry. We're just--um--looking for passion." Adorable.)

Loveys, I've had writer's block lately. In writing, in life. It happens. Sometimes we coast. We need to shake off things that aren't working. Sometimes we fly. (Then we get back home post-vacation and collapse.)

Sometimes, we need to go in the bathroom, shut the door, and cry it out.

Then we start dreaming. We start writing again. We keep living. We change and grow along the way. Life looks different season after season. We look different.

Life is all the moments. We can rediscover who we are, who we should be, what we want, what we need, what we can do, how we can help others, how we want to be remembered. We can love the people around us better. We can give up on some things that may need to be released. We can start fresh with others. We can take a day off from regular life and just breathe. We can jump back in and do what we have to.

We can pursue new passions if we want to, lovey.

We really can.



   

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