Good morning! It’s a beautiful day to sit outside on the front porch with a nice warm cup of herbal tea and listen to the birds chirp, the landscapers mow the lawn, the leaves ruffle in the breeze. It’s cool for now, as the sun is not yet high in the sky. I’ll close my eyes and enjoy this for a moment.
So, after a week, my “stay-cation” is over and it’s back to the regular 9-to-5 starting tomorrow. Since deciding that I would spend my week off getting back into the groove of writing, can I say that I accomplished that? Well today, WordPress congratulates me on 6 straight days of posting, so at least my streak of neglecting my blog is over. But I think it’s too soon to say I’ve got my mojo back. I’ve been away too long to just dive back in headfirst, giving you story after story and expecting readers to come back and stay and, especially, trust that I won’t disappear again. I haven’t ensured that confidence yet, not in you and definitely not in myself.
But since being back, I’ve taken the time to read other people’s blogs—some new, others I’ve been following for years—and I’ve realized something. I’m not the only one struggling to pick up the pen. It would be foolish to say that I’m the only one who’s been affected by these past three years. We’ve all had to deal with pandemic fatigue. We’ve all gone stir-crazy stuck in the house but hesitant to go outside and commune with selfish people who would so easily cough in your face and not care that they’ve put you and your entire family at risk. We’re all processing different stages of grief after losing someone we thought we’d have forever. We’re all overworked, tired, stressed out, frustrated that the world is so hell-bent on getting back to normal when everything has changed. We all hate our jobs for playing ignorant to the fact that cost of living has skyrocketed. We’ve had it up to our necks with politics that offers quality of life as an option rather than a necessity, that takes away your bodily autotomy and reduces you to become a ward of the state, a state that imposes itself as a representative of God on Earth when the truth is He couldn’t be further away from your favorite politicians’ platforms and talking points. Rod Serling was truly a genius and a psychic because every time I turn on the television or get on social media, I see episodes of his Twilight Zone playing before me. “Obsolete Man.” The Eye of the Beholder.” “The Gift.”…
Against this corrupt, this evil, this debilitating backdrop, how does one find the motivation to write? I don’t have an honest answer. All I can say right now is that I will try, but only by taking baby steps. One week at a time…and sometimes a day. This week I focused on my blog, but I want to get back to those works in progress outside the blog, those books that have sat unfinished for years. I want to quell the inner critic in me who tells me it’s not worth it before I even start to edit and before anyone else has the opportunity to read it and develop an opinion for themselves. But I have to start small, because I know being too ambitious will only lead to the well quickly drying up, and if I stop again, I don’t know how long it’ll be before I can start. And I fear many hopeful readers have already given up waiting. I pray you haven’t, but if you have, I understand. I know what it’s like to be strung along on empty promises, never feeling satisfied.
A few weeks ago, my TV broke down. These days smart TVs last about as long as smart phones. You have maybe two good years in them before everything goes to shit. I’ve decided to wait to buy a new one because, well, inflation. You’d think that would force me to watch TV less, but I simply switched over to streaming on my laptop. But recently I shattered the screen on my phone (I don’t think this one even made it to two years), so I bit the bullet and replaced it, but after transferring all my old apps to this new phone, I didn’t rush to sign into my social media accounts. And I’ve noticed something, it’s been quite peaceful waking up in the morning and looking at something other than Twitter first thing. I’m still grabbing my phone (baby steps) because of the alarm, but the first thing I did this morning was open my WordPress app and begin to type this post. I call that progress! My old phone still works despite the cracked screen, but I keep it away from me so that I’m not tempted to descend back into the abyss. Without the distraction of social media and other such apps that are constant reminders of the shit world we live in today, I’ve found myself able to focus again. The inspiration comes quicker, the stories flow from my brain without feeling forced. I still can’t commit to writing anything longer than 100 words right now, but 100 words every day for a week is more than a page on that work in progress. And that’s more than what I’ve done in the last 3 years.
It’s a start.
Going back to some of the blogs I’ve visited this week, there were two that really inspired me in this journey to find my way back to consistent writing, and I encourage you to check out these post posts as well if you are trying to manage similar struggles:
Becoming a Disciplined Writer by A.C. Melody
- Becoming more disciplined, not only in writing but also in other aspects of my life, such as fitness and self-care, was my main 2022 resolution, and seeing A.C. Melody’s schedule, which was inspired by another post, Baby Steps: How to Become a Disciplined Writer by Cynthia Franks, reignited the desire to establish a schedule of my own. I love A.C. Melody’s schedule, but for me, I may need even smaller baby steps: At least 100 words to new material, whether a blog post or a new project. If more words come, great! But if not, at least get 100 in. Thirty minutes to an hour of editing and revising current works in progress. And, of course, my personal goals I’ve already started earlier this month: getting up and walking every morning, planning out meals for the whole month so I stay on track with my eating habits (and my grocery spending).
consciously unplugging by Marquessa
- If I want to achieve those goals I’ve listed above, I know there are some things I’ve got to unplug from. The obvious start is social media because it is the source of the majority of my mental anguish. But that’s not the only form of media I need to unplug from. My TV broke down for a reason, and it was not for me to replace it with more screen time somewhere else. I’m oversaturated and I need to purge. There are so many things that bring me joy that I haven’t been able to do because I’m so distracted and burdened. This week I did those things because I had room, in my mental capacity, in my schedule. And it felt so peaceful. I want to make room for more things that bring me peace. That includes removing things from my life that do nothing for me, or that keep me busy but don’t do much else. Hence, I’m abandoning that whole podcast idea I had months ago. It seemed cool in the beginning, making my blog available in podcast form, but I’m a writer first, not a speaker, and I really don’t care that much to put so much time and energy into it for it to be something worth listening to.
So that’s my wrap-up for the week! I’m nearly finished with my tea, so I think I’ll go inside and make another cup. Maybe a story idea will come to me as I wait for the water to boil. Until next time, friends!
Written for #WeekendCoffeeShare, hosted by Natalie the Explorer.