A New Stage, A New Dry Spell

So, I didn’t blog last week because I did absolutely nothing over Thanksgiving week, and I loved every minute of it. It’s not often that I get time to consciously relax, intentionally do nothing. I didn’t even read, I only watched television, kind of a lot of it. I wanted my brain to take a minute to rest.

I’ve found myself in another dry spell. Longtime readers will know that this happens to me periodically—I sit down to write something and find myself staring at a blank page, either on the computer or in a notebook, with nothing coming out of my head or my fingers.

Recently, I tried to write the scenes of a short story that came to me in a bar over an Old Fashioned and all I got was a broad sketch of the plot. For my church writing group that I hosted, I wasn’t able to squeeze out a retelling of the Tower of Babel story (we did amazing retellings of so many Sunday School stories, I kinda want to do an anthology of them). Nor was I able to get out anything coherent in our 15 minutes of free writing time. I was disappointed in myself and felt like a horrible hostess, but I had to admit that I felt/feel exhausted.

Although this has happened to me before, this time feels different. Since writing is no longer my full-time job, I don’t feel as distressed about being blocked. I’m discomfited, don’t get me wrong, I’m just not as freaked out: as a writer, when you can’t write, you can’t do your job. As an entrepreneur who is building a business after having finished writing a book, when you can’t write, you most certainly can do your job, arguably better in some ways. (Though I’ve wanted to write a couple of summaries of some recent events to send to my clients, and I haven’t been able to rouse myself to do those, either.)

I’ve talked with several friends about this place I’m in. I took the most comfort when one reminded me that I’m just off a huge project that was my life for over three years—of course my subconscious needs a little bit of a lie-down.

I’d hoped to keep myself occupied with my business and with my story collection, hoping my brain wouldn’t notice that I was doing something different. But it’s not easy to trick the brain.

So, like all the other times, I’m going to do what I can. I’m going to read, watch good television (HBO’s Succession is character gold, while CNBC’s Back in the Game is really satisfying trash, I must recognize), and dream about what I want my life to look like in the near future: a successful business and a successful writing career.

That’s overwhelming to think about, and it’s thrilling. I just have to focus more on the latter than the former.

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