Perhaps it’s the summer doldrums that have me down, as I wilt in high temperatures and barely move for fear of producing nothing but sweat. All over the blog world, I’m reading about people struggling to write the next word, craft a good sentence, complete a work in progress. Extreme heat and minimal writing output have left me frustrated. I feel myself floating on a sea without wind in my sails, drifting but going nowhere. This isn’t usual for me. I’m the writer who never suffers from writer’s block. Talkative as I am, I also have something to write about all the time. But this last month has seen me produce nearly nothing. I have story to tell, books to write, tales in my head. Still, almost no headway on any project.
It’s been a tough week, and before that a challenging month, and before that a miserable year. I have no energy.
The deep wound: I’ve been betrayed by people whom I’d loved all my life, a story I will not share. And I will not forgive.
The tragedy: My mother continues to decline, her mental and physical health a hostage to a disease for which there is no cure and only moderate pharmaceutical options and routines to intercept its lockstep progress toward her complete destruction.
The job: The last place I worked doing a job I loved closed its doors, a victim of a crashing economy, and left me too old to be hired anywhere else. Yes, it’s illegal to refuse to hire me because of my age, but a hundred other excuses/reasons surface in lieu of the one I know really prevents me from being employed in my field.
The shakedown: For many years I was locked into a business arrangement not of my making but one I couldn’t end. Until I finally did end it legally. About a year later, the other party sent me a threatening letter, demanding money for work he never did. I panicked, for while I have plenty of documentation proving what a lying leech he is, he scares me. I didn’t respond to the email. He sent a certified letter which I refused to accept, and I haven’t heard from him since. I’ll never really know if this shakedown is over because it’s fueled by his alcoholism, and that’s a never-ending problem.
The final blow: I got a rejection letter regarding an opportunity for which I knew I was unlikely to be selected. Still, the you-didn’t-make-it letter punched me harder than I’d thought. I reacted with tears and nightmares. The tears have stopped, the nightmares still torment me.
Other bloggers are writing about their summer blues and their attempts to regain their mojo. They’re adapting new strategies, like detailed outlining, or elaborate character sketches, or trying a writing program like yWriter5. Some are getting in an early morning swim, a late night walk, a slash in carbs, caffeine, gluten, and lactose, or an increase in probiotics, kale, and quinoa. Many of my writer friends and acquaintances have found a way to proceed, and I wish all of them continued progress. May my losing streak not be theirs.
None of this accounts for my lack of progress. I haven’t written a new article on my blog in a while. I haven’t worked on any of my stories, not creating or editing or querying on their behalf. I feel like my life force has been pumped out and replaced with cat litter. My problems are way worse than everyone else’s. Than yours. That’s the way it is, right? My problems are more deeply entrenched, at least to me; I have so much to overcome. Your novel will launch long before I haul myself out of this slump.
Don’t pity me. I don’t deserve it, don’t need it. It won’t motivate me to get moving. Despite the year of bad tidings, I’ve also been blessed with a loving family, friends, and so many opportunities that the excuses for not writing resemble a teenager’s resistance to drive any car but a brand new one. What do you mean, I’m not getting a new car all my own? Sixteen years on this earth, eating your food, dropping my dirty clothes all over your floor, and you want to give me a used car? I deserve brand new. Lazy and entitled teenager.
I’m behaving like I deserve to find writing easy. Lazy and entitled old lady, me.
It’s already “the next day.” Today, I will write. No excuses. Time to make progress, time to achieve. Not a new car but a story that drums on the inside of my brain, begging to be written.
Sea image courtesy: publicdomainpictures.net