Writing Despite Life

CC image by Jayel Aheram

This is a bit of a different blog post for me. Normally, I explore an idea in depth from the cache of topics I tend to have on hand. I discover things about my writing and solidify my beliefs and hopefully get you to think deeper about your own ideas. But I really struggled with that this week. And I didn’t win.

Part of the problem is that when I write blog posts, I feel like I need to end up with something profound and worthwhile. Why would I write anything that wasn’t? I want people to read what I write. I want it to stick with them. I want it to change them for the better.

CC image by Jayel Aheram

CC image by Jayel Aheram

The other problem is just life. Recently, I’ve had a hard time compartmentalizing my brain. I get home from work and my brain continues to think about work. I sit down to edit a scene, and my brain starts thinking about all the things I need to get done for the magazine and reminds me that by editing my scene I’m not getting anything done (like this blog post). So I change gears and try to think about magazine stuff, and then I remember that I need to eat dinner or that I haven’t cleaned the house or worked toward getting my car door fixed or doing my laundry or the dishes, etc. etc.

I find myself just sitting, staring off into space, as my brain weighs these dozens of things on half as many lists against the time I seem to have so little of. If I could just focus on one thing—but the things I want to do clash with the things I should do, and I can’t put my all into one without feeling like I’m sacrificing my sanity or my duty. By the end of the night, I cross off nothing from the lists, I write nothing, and I go to bed with this stretched agitation of failure, hoping that maybe tomorrow it will be easier.

Then Friday comes, and I should have my blog post already written. I should be finalizing it, not starting it, and having fun finding pictures. Instead, I’m stressing because my page is blank, and I no longer have the time to put the kind of energy I usually do into a post. And I certainly don’t have time to edit my scene anymore or clean the house either.

I can’t imagine that I’m the only writer who deals with this.

Sometimes life saps the energy from you and it affects your writing. You wish the words would come, knowing they would help energize you, but this time they’re silent, and you’re left wondering what’s wrong with you. If that’s you, know that there’s nothing wrong. This is just another part of the writer journey. For me, it can be cyclical, good one week, bad another, and so on. I’m still learning to recognize it and how to balance all the different aspects of my life so that my writing can be fulfilling.

CC image by West McGowan

CC image by West McGowan

I have no sagely advice for you (the part of me that wants to feel useful and profound rankles at that). No three point “get out of your funk and out of your head” fix. Sometimes, it’s okay to write from the heart instead of the head. Sometimes, it’s okay to cry because the magic feels like dried earth crumbling to the touch. Sometimes, it’s okay to feel like an insecure writer.

You’re not alone.

My personal hope for Embers Igniting is that we can create a community for writers and artists, that we can all learn from each other and respect each other, that we can support each other through the blockades life creates, and that we can challenge each other to create the best damn stories and art in the world. Pieces that resonate with people, despite their flaws, despite the listless days and nights it sometimes takes to create them.

If you’ve struggled like I have, I just want to remind you to breathe again and keep going. Keep struggling. Every step, hour, and minute takes you further in your journey.

By Tracy Buckler