My self-imposed writing hiatus has produced an unexpected--and unwelcomed--side effect.
In the beginning, there was a grieving--a process of letting go of something I wasn't sure I could live day-to-day without. This morphed into excitement for a new story idea, with which I began to dabble without allowing myself to get all serious and intense about it (such fun!).
But. Over the last week or so, an insidious sense of NOTHING has crept over me. I've stopped planning the story and have lost my desire to write anything at all. And in the place of the writing, there is blankness.
Like the rest of my life is nothing more than an autopilot.
Like I am somehow less ME because there is nothing creative happening in my life.
Mind you--I'm busy! It's not like my life has nothing in it. But it's not the kind of busy that fills me up. It's not the sorry-I'm-not-available-between-one-and-three that kept my writing time sacred--and the passion in my heart expanding.
It all feels somehow less.
And here's the thing. I have never wanted writing to define me. As in, I have always known that my value does not come from what I do. From what I accomplish.
My head knows this. My heart, however, seems to need therapy.
"Why aren't you working on your new story?" Mr. A asks.
I shrug. "Dunno. Just don't have it in me."
Wow. That's so not me.
So all I know to do right now is to implore each of you to examine your hearts. Does writing define you? Does the high of having reached that 2000-word goal sustain you like nothing else? Do the characters living in your head (and heart) lend more to your existence than you'd like to admit?
In the best of times and worst of times, our writing should never define us. It's easier, somehow, to look in judgment at an 80-hour-work-week corporate professional who never sees his kids, and say, "Wow. That guy has totally let his job define him."
Well, sure. It's easy to point a finger at someone who's obviously out of whack. But how do we define the parameters of "out of whack", anyway? Isn't it just as out of whack that I'm feeling like an empty ice cream cone right now? Isn't that as imbalanced as the 80-hour corporate drone?
"Balance" certainly doesn't feel like my middle name right now.
So, no judgement. Just an honest desire for you to know in your deepest belly that you are not the sum of your stories. You are Megan and Bill and Karen and Adam and Sarah and Jonathan, who also happen to be writers.
I don't know where this is leading me. I only know that I'm having to reassess myself. But then, that's a good thing. Regular self-reassessment keeps us healthy!
Now go jump into that story and work it to the bone. Love your characters. Hate your words. Pour your soul into your work, and enjoy the fruits. Then get up and BE.
And have a joyful weekend!