“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” – Andy Warhol
My blog has been frozen in an unexpected hiatus this summer.
I write in my journal, but my blog remains hollow. The spam robots have taken it upon themselves to comment on old posts every few days, as if I needed a reminder that I’m inexplicably avoiding my little heartfelt corner of the internet.
Maybe it’s because basking in the aliveness of summer is more invigorating than sitting at a computer. Maybe my blog has run its course and I haven’t realized it yet. Maybe I’m afraid, or maybe I’m on more stable emotional ground and am no longer trying to desperately write my way out of a day job. Maybe life, and writing, is allowed to ebb and flow.
Instead of writing on my blog this summer, I dance the Cupid Shuffle at weddings. I laugh and drink Lagunitas through Ribfest, Burgerfest, and other vegetarian-averse adventures (despite my nearly 20 years of meatlessness). I spray sunscreen on my boyfriend’s back, a witness to his first sacred time seeing the ocean, and he emerges steaming with sunburn, his skin fiery and inflamed except for the white graffiti lines of my sunscreen art.
I sift worms at urban farms and wear baby blue footies as I tiptoe through net-zero energy homes. I watch strangers dance with fire, I doubt my Life Purpose, I say I’m going to bring my lunch to work more often. I whisper ThankYouThankYouThankYou whenever a clock says 8:08, 2:22, 11:11. I meditate on the Serenity Prayer and I sizzle in the coolness of this Chicago summer.
Your writing is big but your life is bigger. If you’re a writer who doesn’t feel called to write about anything right now, it may be time to dive into your life and let go of your stranglehold on your writing practice.
Or it may be time to stop writing from your head & go straight for the jugular. Your authentic truth is more bold and courageous than any writing topic that your brain could think up.
I would love to hear about how stuck you are. The act of experiencing the “WHAT SHOULD I WRITE ABOUT?!” blues is a sacred story in itself, one that would be a godsend to the rest of us who are fumbling through the same confusion. That story would be more interesting than any plastic “inspirational” topic you could come up with in its place, and in daring to express your authentic truth you will crack through the surface of that confusion. You will break through.
Tell us about how you Don’t Know What You’re Doing with Your Life, and tell it with the gusto you don’t realize you have. Describe your loneliness so that its rawness is palpable, so that readers can slip themselves into your skin and sift through the remnants of hope in their own lives.
Tell us about your meandering walks down jagged Midwestern sidewalks – the wandering aimed to nowhere, the errands that turn into one step after another after another until you realize you have no idea how to get home. Tell us about how you handle your discomfort – the stress-eating, the stress-walking, the stress-hairpulling, the stress-microplanning of your future.
Tell us about a miracle you’ve witnessed, even if you already hear the chatter in your head about how it isn’t really a miracle, even if you can already visualize people reading your story, raising an eyebrow, and backing away a few steps in the knowingness that you’ve finally cracked. Tell the story anyways. Shed yourself wide open.
We can scrunch our forehead and churn our brain and hope to conjure something original out of the air until we are screaming at a mirror about how stupid and useless we are, and our writing will remain blocked. We are so busy trying to control our writing and make it original that we forget about our enormous world-shifting creative light that is pulsating in our blood and waiting to be unleashed.
Let that creative light do what it wants with you, even if some days it means joyfully line dancing in a hotel basement with your neighbors instead of writing. Let your life be bolder, even if it means your writing organically slows down for a while. Give your writing and your life the courageous permission to ebb and flow.
Deep Deep Love,
(A Fellow Writer Who Doesn’t Know What to Write About)
What do you do when your creative juices stall out? Share your wisdom in the comments section!