When you love writing—literally reshaped your whole life to do it—it’s a tough thing when you hit a patch of time where you don’t want to. It’s scary, honestly, the kind of boogeyman scary from your scariest nightmare.
Grief will do that to you. Nothing puts out fire like water, and there’s been a lot of water lately. I’d never had writer’s block—never understood it. And then I watched my friend die, and when I tried to finish something as simple as edits, my brain simply would not work. I could not think.
I learned about blocks. And then some. From there, I moved to a new state, and again, as part of my whole life was ending, it was a tough time to do something creative. A dear friend of mine commented that she wondered how I was planning on writing a book when everything around me was dying. My response was simple: it’s what I do.
But I couldn’t do it even though I struggled through a portion of the book. As many of you know, I choose to push a book back a couple of months to give myself time to grieve and root in my new home. Best decision ever. I am so grateful I can.
My fatigue from the last months was deep, so it took a while to come back. My guidance said to not be discouraged when I didn’t want to write the next week—or the second. A month later, I was looking at the calendar and my word count and wondering how this book was going to come together. My characters weren’t talking to me yet, and if they were, I couldn’t hear them.
I went off all form of social media and email for over a week when I went on retreat. Again, it was a tough decision when we’re wired to be connected all the time. And I fought the urge to break my intention to go off. Slowly but surely, the fire inside got re-lit. Since I was in a cabin, I had some experience starting a real fire. It was harder than expected. You have to get the right balance of wood, paper, and flames to keep it going and make sure it doesn’t smoke too much.
Balance. That marvelous, and sometimes challenging place we all seek inside ourselves. When the outside world is all topsy turvy, the only quiet place is deep within ourselves. I reconnected to that place and began to tend my newly lit fire.
It’s been going for a while now, and the words have come. At first there was a trickle and then a rush and then a trickle again. But I kept going, conserving my energy and tending to that fire, saying no to distractions and drains.
Happiness is writing again.
The characters are talking. The magic is flowing again. All is well in the world. Mostly. This coveted space, this most sacred of contracts, cannot be disrupted. Happiness will always return to us. Especially when we seek it with all we are.
I reached out for mine.
What do you need to reach for right now?