Why I Haven’t Been Writing

sad-timesIt’s hard to write when you are sad. I have been sad lately. Things in my life (second child, career) aren’t happening. They aren’t happening in a persistent, door-slam-in-my-face kind of way. This, combined with some heartache in my extended family, is conspiring to Eeyore my days.

In fact, I’m here only because my good friend asked me about writing. Actually, she’s a GREAT friend, and what she did was email me and TELL me to write, which is what truly great friends do. So here I am, writing to ask you:

How do you deal with disappointment? How do you take care of yourself when every move you take is thwarted?

Because right about now I feel awfully tempted to just give up.

6 thoughts on “Why I Haven’t Been Writing

  1. Liz, I feel compelled to respond even though I have never met you, but I feel like I know you at least a little bit through your writing (which I love, for its clarity and honesty and poetry). Last summer I was in a hard place. I wrote about wrestling with it here: http://mapleleafkitchen.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/we-get-what-we-need/

    It is hard, hard, hard to feel like you’re waiting for needed change. To feel stuck. Especially to feel powerless. I have only empathy for you, because I don’t always do waiting, or change, or letting go very well. I rage at the Universe, shaking my fists in impotence. Sometimes you need to take a break. Sometimes you need to refuel your soul. Sometimes you need to be with the hard feelings, as hard as that also is. It depends.

    As Beth Woolsey often writes, know that there are other writer-mamas out here, waving to you in the darkness. We can’t fix anything. We don’t know the answers. But we can tell you that you are not alone.

  2. Hey Liz,
    Here’s what I do in the face of disappointment and despair: I stand up straight, brush myself off, and then go cower in the corner and cry uncontrollably.

    It might not work for everyone.

    I think you’re processing and grieving, and there’s no map for that journey. When I grieve, I tend to bury myself in books, movies, or just sitting and doing nothing. Then, after a while, something tells me that it’s time to start clawing my way back out for air. I tend to shut down–and it isn’t necessarily helpful. But it makes it so that I don’t feel the pain fully all of the time.

    Writing is weird though: it can be cathartic, but only if I’m ready to be relieved of the pain.

    Be kind to yourself. There are no “shoulds” in dealing with disappointment. Just get through it however you can, whether it’s by writing or hiding out for a while.

    I wish I could take some of your sadness and carry it for you. I sure would if I could.

  3. Well, this is a timely post for me, as I have experienced something similar the past several months. I decided this time to see it as seasonal, in flux, even though it felt like everything was stuck. Forever stuck.

    Things are finally starting to dislodge. I wish for you patience, wisdom, an an eventual dislodging that moves you toward what you want.

    Glad you’re writing!

  4. Beth,
    I recommend drinking.
    And once that’s done it’s course, pick up a pen and write in a book. Keep the journal in a drawer. Write every day, good times and bad days… Even if all you write is about how uninspired you feel. Write. I keep a journal and have found it helps tremendously with dealing with all the chaos and crap.
    You have not come this far, worked as hard as you have to build the life and family you have… To build the amazing talent you have (writing is a skill, and you’ve spent years sharpening yours) to give up the ghost.
    How do you keep going when things suck? You keep going. One damn hard disappointing day after then next. Have a good cry every now and then (i do too…), drink or do retail therapy or get a disproportionate amount of massages (my go-to these days when the Chicken of Depression visits), have as much sex with your wife as you two can squeeze in (a good orgasm may not inspire creativity, but I’ve found it’s good for stress), and get an old school notebook. Keep it in a drawer, and every night (or morning, whatever) take five minutes and write something. Anything.
    I sorta work off the monkeys and typewriter theory… If I generate enough stuff, eventually, something good may come out of it.
    Most of all – keep going. Remember you are surrounded by people who love you and think your amazing.
    I realize this probably sounds a little to “she’s talking her off the ledge” than I intended. Sorry. Have a glass of wine. Put your thoughts down in a book, hug your wife and kid, watch an episode of Buffy if you can, and try again tomorrow.
    I love you. – Amy

    • Thank you all for your wonderful comments and encouragement! I realize I’ve been slogging through this mostly on my own. There’s so much good stuff in my life, that I often feel guilty for focusing on the stuff that isn’t working, so I don’t talk about it much. Thank you for being my amazing community. Love you all!

  5. Scot and I used to live at an apartment on the corner of a busy intersection. There were some days when pulling out into that intersection and moving on with our day was a very looooong process because traffic was crazy and we couldn’t find an opening. Both of us struggled a bit with that wait…feeling anxious about finding an opening in the traffic, feeling anxious about getting moving, feeling anxious about traffic behind waiting for us. So we started this thing where we would sit at that interminable intersection and the person who wasn’t driving would start saying to the person who was driving…”You’ve never been stuck here forever. You’ve always found an opening. There will be an opening. Just wait for it. You’ve never been stuck here forever.” That silly little pep talk at the corner of a busy intersection got me through a few minutes of anxiety in my driving, but it also started to inform much more of my life than just my driving.

    I know you are anxious to get moving, anxious about the people who are waiting, anxious to find an opening. Remember, remember…You’ve never been stuck forever. You’ve always found an opening. There will be an opening. Wait for it. You’ve never been stuck forever.

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