Writing Setbacks

Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you?  Ever have that feeling of falling just as you drift off to sleep, except when you are wide awake and trying to work?  Ever have a day in which you only want to lay on the couch and watch TV?  Ever want to spend an entire day reorganizing your iTunes library?  Have you ever preferred folding laundry to sitting in front of the computer unfolding your passion for writing?

A few days ago, an old friend of mine passed away after a long struggle with cancer.  It was heart-breaking.  I wrote a piece about losing her here, published less than a day before she passed, and I have to say that I am overwhelmed at the response I got from it.  I never thought that article would be shared and read by my Facebook friends, and I certainly never expected Connie’s family to read it.  I only meant to express myself, and that a few folks out here in Bloglandia would give it any notice.

Anyway, even though she passed on Thursday, I have been grieving since about last Sunday.  Until now, I have not written anything since that piece; not my novel, and not any of my random musings.  I am in a slump, so to speak.  I guess that is understandable, given the circumstances, but I want to write.

I am a writer, and I need to write.  I have goals, such as my novels, but I also have other writings that I need to do.  I need to blog, so that I continue the habit of writing, and I need to do certain writing exercises to improve my skills in descriptive writing and dialogue.

Nevertheless, I am distracted right now.  I have to work, and there is a viewing for Connie on Monday that I will attend, not to mention the funeral on Tuesday.  I visited with good friends last night which, although we were not in an ideal setting and I did not get to talk much about what I wanted to talk about, it was very therapeutic to be with them.  I imagine we will see more of each other in the weeks or months to come.

I do Bikram Yoga.  It is part of my health regimen, and I love all of its benefits.  Yesterday, I dedicated my class to Connie as a way to bring higher purpose to my practice, and to get out of my own head for once.  Failure!  The more peace I tried to bring to myself, by-way-of thinking about the peace that Connie feels now, the more muddled I got.  It was not a great class for me.

And so it goes.  I am muddled.  I do not know what to write, and I just do not even want to put much thought into writing.  I mentioned in my last essay that I had never realized that grief was so selfish, but I guess that it is all about the griever, and not the ones who have passed.  Then again, I do not think there are any rules to grieving; there is no wrong way to do it.

Last week or so, my mom sent me this passage written by Anne Lamont:

“Am working slowly, badly, triumphantly, on a new piece. Yesterday I wrote for 90 whole minutes, which might not seem a lot to Joyce Carol Oates, but was to me. I kept my butt on the chair, and sighed a lot, and felt victimized, etc, but stuck with it–by the end, I had four sentences I loved, embedded in 3 pages of overwritten details. But a) the excess passages are place-holders for material that needs to be included, that I can edit down now and improve, and b) there doesn’t seem to be a shortcut to the rich stuff that I was after all along, without the elbow grease and detours.
Sort of like in real life.
And which doesn’t work for me at all. But who asked? It’s called life on life’s terms.”

Some days writing feels like flying through the breeze, effortlessly allowing the wind to send me where it needs me to go.  Other days, it is like the passage above.  I am having one of those days.  I am determined to write something…anything…and I do not give one single holy fuck if it sucks.  I will deal with the suckiness of it all later.

I know that this funk that I am in is a passing phase, and I will get past it and create my future masterpieces, but for today, I will just write because that is what writers do.  Right?



Filed under Deep Thoughts, man...

9 responses to “Writing Setbacks

  1. I’m sorry for your loss. I would never presume to tell you that I know how you feel, but as someone who has lost a loved one to cancer, I know that it’s devastating.
    You may be a writer, but you’re a human too. Take a break if you need to. It will come back to you. Maybe try journaling about your feelings for now to stay in the habit, and when you get some space from it you may be able to write from that grief and make something better. I know that my loss taught me a whole lot about life and death, and I think my writing has been infused with more depth and emotion ever since, and that was almost four years ago. Give yourself time to process if you need to, and then you can come back to it with more clarity.

    • Thanks. I just sort of feel like I do not know what to do with myself right now. Anything I do write will be shelved and edited later, but I feel as thought I need to write anyway.

  2. My thoughts with you – you have been writing… just here and now, and I hope it goes someway to helping you through a difficult time.

  3. to grieve is a natural form of healing. allow yourself to heal from the loss of your friend. dont fight the process. once it passes, her blessings will come to you in the form of extensive hunger to write 🙂

  4. I’m sorry to read about your loss, cancer is a terrible thing, I also lost a dear friend of my quite sudden.
    You should allow yourself to grieve and not pressure yourself, I’d say you are doing just fine by writing post like this.
    Bikram Yoga is my favorite kind of yoga, not common where I’m currently living, not a single place where to do it.
    Have a nice week (Monday already in here)

  5. I’m sorry for your loss, but don’t worry. It’s a phase. It’s normal. Take all your time to grief and rest, and come back to writing when it beckons you again. Just write when you feel like it.

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