When I Can’t Write – My 5 Steps Back

Sometimes I don't feel like writing.  Sometimes the words in my head become too many, and I lose sight of how to get them out.  And other times, the words feel small, insignificant, un-noteworthy.  I've struggled to write since we moved house.  I've made excuses, both for myself and to other people, but in truth I've not been feeling it.

Before Bee, my passions were all-consuming.  I would lose myself within them.  Hours would pass and I would give my whole self over to whatever I was doing.  Now its much more difficult.  There is little space for indulgence.  Time is precious.  Sleep is always in deficit.

I feel the need to write pressing down on me, tickling my fingertips – but that urgency only makes it worse.  I have many things to say, but not always the words.  I know what I need.  I know what will help.

Making Space

Sometimes the journey back to writing is windy.  I need permission to be late.  Permission from myself.  To not write.  To do the things I need to, that put my head in the right space.  Sometimes, fixing something lies far away from where you think.  Sometimes, I go in the opposite direction.  Because, if I stop focussing on writing as my end goal, I start making space for the words.

Step Back From Social Media

Posting on social media tricks me into feeling like I've written.  Like eating biscuits for dinner every night.  It's false satisfaction, with no real substance.  My block is still there, I've not really moved past it.  I get drawn in, so very easily.  The speed, and the simplicity.  Not really thinking, not really reading.  Social media sucks away my precious time.  It fills my head with comparisons and follower numbers, self-doubt and envy.  It makes me want things I don't need.  And while it has its place, its place isn't in my writing head space.

Self-Care

When I look after myself, my head is clearer.  Things look a little brighter and I can see so much further.  But I'm usually last on my list of things to do.  And it takes a problem to make me realise what I'm missing.  It's still hard.  Finding the time and putting myself first don't come naturally.  Especially when it comes to Bee.  I miss her when we are apart, my anxiety rockets, so it has to be a very good reason to leave her.  And 'me time' doesn't usually make the grade.  So, I find other ways.  Small things for me, that nurture my soul.  A relaxing bath.  Drawing, crochet, gardening and photography.  An early night or a luxury lie-in.  When my cup is full and my head is clear, when my mind has room to wander and wonder, I find the words begin to come.

 

toddler in the garden - space to write

Read

I need to read.  Before Bee, you would always find a dogged-eared paperback in my bag.  I devoured books.  Fiction, biography, poetry, textbooks – I would lose myself between the pages.  Now, I struggle.  Sleep steals those precious moments at bedtime, and daytime eyes are fixed on Bee.  But I need to read.  I need the words.  Words more than nursery rhymes and toddler conversations.  I need to get lost, to be lifted, to feel them.  Because, without the words I have nothing to say.  So, I've started reading again.  A snatched poem between play dough and lunch or a quick chapter whilst Bee naps.  A mission to read.  Something always in my bag.

Feel, Breathe and Be

To write, I need to be.  I need to experience.  Have that moment.  See the inspiration.  When Bee and I rush around from one thing to the next, when we have no time, I don't see.  And if I don't see, and feel, and breathe the world around me, the moment that I'm in, then I have nothing to write about.  A recent writing workshop with the poet and authentic living teacher John Siddique introduced me to two concepts;

The Artist's Date (The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron)- a planned time for experiencing. An expedition to explore something that sparks whimsy and fires the imagination.  An assignment to play.

Heartfulness – listening to our heart as the guiding principle in our search for a truthful life  Being heartful opens us up, so we're not just seeing and thinking, we're seeing with our heart.  If we remove our self, and all our barriers, our hearts will find the words.

And so I write.  Slowly at first, but I can feel the gathering momentum.

 

toddler in the garden - space to write

 

family in the garden - space to write

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3 Comments

  1. Mary
    August 4, 2017 / 8:26 pm

    Beautiful 💕

  2. Yasmin
    August 5, 2017 / 11:00 pm

    ” I would lose myself between the pages. Now, I struggle. Sleep steals those precious moments at bedtime, and daytime eyes are fixed on Bee.”

    I honestly couldn’t have said it better my self..! I miss reading so much..! Lovely article.! Thank you xx

    (I have a 15month old <3)

    • catherine
      August 8, 2017 / 2:15 pm

      It’s so difficult isn’t it? You don’t realise how good it is for your soul until you can’t do it for a while.

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