It’s been awhile since I’ve posted regularly. In fact, except for last Friday’s post, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted at all. So much for all that Platform stuff from last summer about posting regularly and often…
I don’t know what happened. My desire to write just dribbled away… Other things claimed my time and attention. When I considered the book, the blog, even email, I was blank and utterly without motivation. First time in my life that I’ve felt like that.
Or so I thought.
Of course I’ve prayed about it. Repeatedly. What is wrong with me, Lord? Has the fire gone out? Am I not getting enough sleep, or just being undisciplined? Should I relax and trust You to move me when it’s time? Or is there something more I can do?
It’s been a very strange two and half months. No, it’s been longer than that, especially when I take my progress on Sky into account… which, until last week, was not much progress at all.
So, for a time now, I’ve been reading stuff — books, blogs, news — and making cards, and cleaning the house and working on long-put-off projects and dealing with Stuff… can’t clearly remember all of it. Church stuff, taxes, ailing relatives, shingles, stuff going wrong, breaking, getting lost… a leak in the water line from the main to the house… not getting enough sleep, drinking too much caffeine (which means any caffeine at all), beset by the terrible distractibility I’ve written about in previous posts…
But then, at the beginning of May something happened. I’d just finished and sent off the guest post I wrote for Seriously Write and “for some reason” says my journal entry, “I picked up Overcoming Writing Blocks.”
It’s on the shelf above my desk. I’ve had it for 30 years. I’ve read it and reread it and read it again. I’ve underlined passage after passage, starred portions in the margins… even blogged about here and several other places… In the past few months, while wondering if I was blocked I’d look at it on its shelf and think it would be no help. After all, I’d read it. Repeatedly. I already knew everything that was in it…
But on the first of May, for some reason I picked it up again, and was… SIGH… again “amazed to find,” in the section on Preparing to Write, not only a description of what I’ve been enduring, but also some new and slightly different insights I’d not considered before.
One of the new and slightly different insights was this:
This is the training and gestation stage of any writing task. You know what you have to do and you must prepare yourself properly for it…you need to develop basic fitness habits that will get you in shape for prose composition.”
That’s true, I thought. If you just go out and try to start a daily running regimen, it’s not going to work. You have to work up to it, you develop some basic habits…
The precise description of what I’ve been going through recently, is exactly what I’ve gone through in the past, repeatedly, and you’d think that I’d remember that but for some reason… this time it all seemed New and Different and Far Harder and More Hopeless than ever before.
I believe the Bible when it says we have sick heads and deceitful hearts… How can I be so thick-headed?
Well, here’s the recap of the description of blocking at the preparing to write stage:
- restless, anxious procrastination
- can think of 1000 things you’d rather do
- when you finally force yourself to sit down — dozens of extraneous but apparently urgent thoughts bubble up
- when finally do get yourself to concentrate, all you get is dull blankness. There’s no excitement, no inspiration about the project. It leaves a flat, sour taste in your mouth.
YES! YES! YES! That is exactly how I felt! EXACTLY!
I thought this was all new. That I’d never experienced it before. At least “not like this”. Ha! It was a great comfort to know it was not new, that I had experienced it and though I thought I already knew what was in this book and all the advice it had to give, maybe I should give it another look…
At least the Preparing to Write section, anyway. First up was”Managing your Environment.” But I’ll save that for tomorrow.