Maintaining the inspired, hands-can’t-keep-up-with-your-brain writing is hard. Impossible sometimes. You stare at the page trying to figure out how to even start. You’ve written several different paragraphs just to scratch them out or delete them.
Is this what people call writer’s block?
A lack of motivation and inspiration were things I had never dealt with until 2016 and 2017. I didn’t hit a block, I hit a wall and it was all due to an unexpected upheaval in my life. My world was turned on its head and nothing seemed to make sense.
My first husband left me and his exit was messy. Thankfully, the divorce wasn’t and I did the best I could to pick up the pieces. However, when I realized that I never meant much to my ex-husband I found that I could not write. Words dried up like an empty well, I was turning into dust. Between the crying, divorce proceedings, getting back into school, and dating again, I lost all desire to write. It took a few months before I could even crack open my notebook.
There was nothing to write. I would stare into the void, hoping that if I stared hard enough a shadow would move and I would start writing again. This abyss was thoroughly dark, a black hole sucking in everything and giving nothing back. I was hopeless and lost without an anchor tethering me to the person I once was.
The characters who once filled my head with chatter were silent as though my life had mortally wounded them. Even when I begged my muse to give me a scene to write, she gave me the void.
So I did what I could and focused on different things. I poured my energy into school and prayed in my quiet moments for my muse to return. When a class required a twenty-page research paper, my mind started to come alive again. I stretched and l flexed the writing muscles I forgot existed.
Shadows started moving in the void. The rut I’d been crawling around in had an exit. I could start writing. The journey out of the darkness was slow, I struggled to convince my muse that I was serious and committed.
Images of my characters and stories started swirling in my mind and stalking my dreams. I was alive, the dust had settled and I survived. I could breathe again. Clean air filled the passages to my lungs and I was consumed by the elation of finally writing a new line in my notebook. The flames of inspiration coursed through my veins, the hot heat sent me into a fury of messy writing and poems to try and contextualize my trauma. I was back.
Inspiration does not come because we ask it to, it is not merciful or kind, it does not care who you are or how much is in your bank account. It strikes when it pleases but demands that we be ready, that we show up even if it doesn’t.