Tag Archives: writer’s block

The Impossible Days

I’m working on thinking up a new Small Assignment, but in the mean time, I want to talk about impossible days.

Since we have gotten back from Nashville, writing has been kind of like… pulling teeth?  No. Pulling teeth is kind of cliche. More like trying to catch fruit flies in a butterfly net, except not quite so whimsical. Maybe it’s been like walking through foot-deep mud – the really thick kind that clings to your boots and sucks the shoes right off of your foot.  So I’m left wading through the mud with my butterfly net. Or something.

Of course, Maggie has been kind of sick since the return from Nashville, though no return of the puke-like symptoms. She just occasionally wakes up in the middle of the night whimpering “My tummy hurts.” It is both the most adorable and the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen. We have continued the experiment of the shared room, and while it is getting better, Maggie seems to prefer sleeping on the floor right next to Beckett.  When she whimpers, he wakes up.  And the cycle continues.

So I’m tired.  I feel like creativity is kind of leaking out of my ears.  I have tried writing on the computer, in a notebook, on scratch paper, on a great big tablet with a sharpie.  Most of what I keep coming up with is halting and weirdly worded, at best.  Most of time I just end up doodling.  I can draw a MEAN cartoon pig, let me tell you.

So here I am.  Tired.  Trying desperately to remember that word.  You know, the one that means… that thing?

My guru Anne Lammott says we all have impossible days, and maybe even impossible weeks. During those impossible times, we need to keep on writing, even when it’s just a wet trail of snail slime.

So, here goes. Writing snail slime.

Time to strap on those boots and grab that butterfly net.  I’m hunting some words.

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Fizzling

It’s getting harder to write blog posts for this site, and I’m afraid that I’m fizzling.

I started this blog only a few months ago, with the intent to, you know, write something and hit “publish” every three days or so.  I thought that if I could stick with it, I would end up writing something and publishing something about three times a week.

HA!

Ha HA HA, even.

I grossly underestimated the amount of time and energy that maintaining a blog would require.  (I imagine that I am far from the first person to start a blog and then realize that, hey, this is not as easy as I thought.)  I’ve written before about my tendency toward perfectionism.  It takes a lot of effort on my part to write something and let it be published without serious edits and proofreading. I already have about a dozen or so posts half-written that will simply never be published because they are simply not good enough, and I want to publish a quality product, even for just the dozen or so people who read this on a regular basis.  Perfectionism, as they say, is death to creativity.  Perfectionism smothers the creative spirit and kills it dead.

But my challenge with writing and publishing here, on this site, goes beyond my own hang-ups with perfectionism and creative starvation.  You see, I’ve been busy.  I have work, for now, that I am being paid for.  It is even work that I enjoy.  But my time is being largely invested in paid jobs right now.  And then, there’s the fact that I am spending a lot of time these days looking for other work, because I know that my work with a client that has been quite steady for the last several years is going to become less steady in July, since their budget is going to cut out some room for working with contractors (i.e., me).

I’m trying to face this as an opportunity to do some real writing – sending out queries to magazines and working on a book proposal or two.  But the truth is that oscillate wildly between excitement, confidence, and terror.  What if I never make any money ever again?  What if I have to go to work at a real job?  How will we pay for child care?  Also, I’m completely unemployable; I don’t even have any clothes that are appropriate for an office!

The fear is holding me back.  The fear pushes me further into my perfectionist tendencies.  I need to find a way to make my words pay, which means I must make my words perfection.  But the truth is that my words are probably more likely to ring true if the flaws are exposed and given some air.

I’ve got a dozen reasons not to write, and I may be going through a dry spell.  But I still feel compelled, at the end of the day, to put pen to paper and write something.  That’s got to be worth something, right?

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