I have a confession to make. This past week has been one of the roughest I’ve had since I decided to write professionally.
Don’t get me wrong — by all accounts, life has been the same as it has been for a while. I haven’t had any recent personal tragedies or new struggles. As far as I could tell, no outside influences spurred this change, which made it all the more frustrating.
Sure, I’ve gone through ups and downs and all the in-betweens that are expected with any type of creative pursuit. I know that I’ll have some days where the words just flow, then others where I feel like I just need to write something, only to find that when I open the doc all I have is itchy fingers and these fleeting, beautiful feelings that I can’t quite grab onto and describe the way I want to describe them. No big deal, there’s always tomorrow.
Sometimes I do manage to track down those thoughts and pin them to the page. Sometimes I just have to appreciate them for what they are — fantastic moments that are in the same family as that wonderful dream that you can’t quite remember. Like beautiful, wild birds that you appreciate but know you cannot cage.
This past week, though… it was a different kind of beast. I just did not feel motivated at all to write. I always — even on my lazy days — want to write. The words may not come, or I might have sluggish thoughts, but the drive is always there. Telling stories has always been my favorite hobby, even when they’re just to myself. But this week, I didn’t even indulge in daydreams. I didn’t want to. I lost my mojo.
This might be normal for some, but for a head-in-the-clouds dreamer like myself, it was unsettling. It absolutely broke my heart. Had my passion somehow snuck away in the middle of the night? Would I ever feel it again? I missed it. I wanted it back, though I didn’t know how to do that.
So, I did a bit of introspection. I took some time to try some things, and I think I found what was killing my mojo.
Balancing on tightropes between clocks in the middle of the desert! Should’ve known my new hobby would suck the creativity right out of me!
Just kidding. That just came up in my image search for “stress” and I needed to share. Oh, it was stress, by the way. That caused ‘The Block.’
It was a sneaky kind of stress, too. Honestly, at the moment, I would consider my life far less stressful than most. I guess that’s why it took me so long to figure it out.
So, how did I fix this ghost stress with no obvious cause? I threw everything I had at it.
- I listened to music. Just fun, old favorites that I haven’t heard in a while. Ridiculous pop music is good for the soul, I don’t care who you are.
- I baked. I’m not much of a baker, so this was a pretty new experience for me and it felt good to start something new, finish it, and have something to show for it. I think the whole “Completed project” feeling was the most therapeutic part of this.
- I started finishing small, quick projects that I had been pushing to the side while I worked on bigger projects. The relief of checking something off the “To Do” List, no matter how small, is pretty significant.
- I started reading again. I had been telling myself that I just don’t have the time; if I am reading I might as well be writing. That was a counterproductive move. Sometimes a dreamer needs to spend some time in another world that they didn’t create.
- I drank more water, ate a little better, and took a smidgen of time to just relax and pamper myself a bit. I don’t think to do that kind of stuff regularly and I think it probably affects me a lot more than I realize, as I felt much better once I paid a little bit of attention to myself.
As you can see by the length of this monstrous blog post, one or all of these things helped me get my groove back. Today, finally, I’ve got that itch in my fingertips and those thoughts are nagging at my brain, just begging to be written. I know all of us deal with writer’s block in our own ways, but hey, if putting it into words helps somebody else out there who is going through the same thing, then it’s the least I can do.
Have you ever dealt with a bout of The Block? What did you do to banish it?