First, an apology for being remiss in my lack of recent posts (and a deep, heartfelt Thank You to those who posted or emailed me to check and make sure I am okay). My wife and I brought home a new puppy, and as anybody who has raised a puppy knows, the little darlings can be a handful—in some cases, I found I do not have enough hands for the rambunctious addition to our family.
That is how I was going to begin this post. It is a lie. Not the part about having a new puppy–see photo of Rushka above—and all the attention she requires, but about her being the cause of my writing drought.
Truth is, I am not impervious to the Black Funk that grips all writers at one time or another. The last two months have been a dark journey into an abyss where desire dwindled to apathy, the loss of word-pictures sliding from mind to finger-tips, and thus, a document. Forward movement lost. Starts and stops, mostly stops.
Soul-searching is good for the . . . well, the soul, and I delved into the deeper recesses layered with complacency, things commonplace like a favorite winter coat forgotten during the dog-days of summer. And I did not like who I was. Not writing did that to me, made me a negative, or worse, of no consequence. Being of no consequence to one’s self is an odd sensation.
I spent days working, just “going through the motions,” and that description flowed into all aspects of my daily life, making me miserable. It dawned on me: not writing made me a different person, one I would not choose to befriend or even be around if I could help it. I couldn’t help it. No matter how much I wanted to get out of my skin—but mostly out of my brain—the more deeply I became entrenched. It reminds of me of climbing up a muddy hill.
Simply, writing comes down to choice. I made my choice, and by so doing, realized (once again) that I cannot not write. It took the Black Funk to impress upon me the joy of creation, of writing—simple and true. And I realized something else—it is okay to not write. Though I do not recommend a long term hiatus like I chose, a little time off can rejuvenate the creative spirit and help the writer approach the craft with a new and invigorated attitude. Lack of writing helped me appreciate my choice of endeavors, like a long-lost love rekindled.
So, if you feel your writing (or desire) going stale, give yourself a day or a weekend off, and don’t beat yourself up. It is okay. Go for a hike or a bike ride, or anything that you enjoy. If writing is a true love, it will return, and you might find the passion even stronger.
Have you ever slid into the Black Funk? How did you overcome it? Your friends here would like to know; don’t worry, we all understand the trials of writing, and we can all use a reminder that we are not alone in our journey through the swamp.
This Week’s Quote:
“The writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself; the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratification, is a curious anticlimax.” Alfred Kazin, Think, February 1963