To my own amazement, I just noticed that the first anniversary of this blog flew by unnoticed by Yours Truly a week ago today. In 53 weeks, I've produced 117 posts. When you consider that for various reasons, there were six weeks when I didn't post at all, that's an average of about two-and-a-half per week, which is right on target for the two-to-three per week I aimed for.
If you've been following the blog for awhile, you may have noticed gaps. There was a gap of nearly a month last summer while I was on vacation. A more recent gap and general slow down has been due to the event generating “The story that must not be written.” The unfolding story remains intense and stressful for all concerned.
In such stressful times, it's difficult to garner creative energies. It's not so much a matter of writer's block as preoccupation and lower energy levels. I can still sit down and write about other things, but it takes more energy, and my endurance is definitely affected. I can't concentrate for hours at a time as I generally do.
My situation is only unique in specific content. No matter how organized they are, anyone working on a longterm life story writing project is going to hit similar times. Perhaps it's a personal illness. Perhaps someone in the family has a health crisis requiring lots of time and attention. Perhaps things at work hit panic levels, or a love affair heads south.
During these times you are likely to have days when sitting down to write is simply more than you can face. What should you do? Back off! Be kind to yourself. Don't quit entirely, but keep your efforts simple. Jot a few notes. Go through your story ideas. Spend a few minutes editing an old story.
Make yourself a promise to get back to your schedule by a certain date. Write that date on your calendar. If the time comes and the situation hasn't eased, renegotiate. Yes, you'll lose momentum and fall behind schedule, but worse things have happened. Your stories come from your heart, and when your heart is elsewhere, your stories won't flow well. Take care of your heart first, and the stories will return.
Having written that, I've discovered anew that as long as I was thinking of you and writing this message for you, I have remained focused, and the words have flowed. Perhaps that's the key: My love and concern for you, my readers, is strong enough to overcome my preoccupation and restores my sense of joy in writing. My heart has reengaged with writing.
Give it a try. Think of those you love and focus on giving them the joy of reading your story. That joy will flow forth from some eternal well and uplift your spirit as well as theirs.
Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal