My new routine is taking some getting used to. Earlier mornings, shorter days at work when I go in, and many hours of studying and time to write once again. But, now I am stuck wondering what I should write.
Part of my issue is that there are infinite topics about which I could put pen to paper (or fingers to keys). Another problem is what amounts to fear paralysis – “Oh shit! I have time to write…. But what if it sucks?” And then there is the issue of allowing myself to be distracted by anything and everything else around me, because even back-breaking, labor is less daunting than a blank page. How’s that for a conundrum?
Recently, a passage I heard in an audiobook by Steve Harvey states that if we hope to succeed, we have to humble ourselves and ask for help. I think I’m reaching that point as I feel increasingly stuck when it comes to writing for this blog. The personal essay has been my go-to for many years as I seldom dabble in creative fictional writing, and haven’t for many years. Perhaps that is really my issue – my creative juices are fermenting into a back-of-the-fridge science experiment.
That stagnant, swamp-water feel pushed me to look at websites with writing prompts this week. A bit crestfallen at the plurality and sameness of lists, I left fairly uninspired. So, I thought about times I remembered being inspired to write, whether it was an essay, poem, or short story, deciding that these moments of inspiration came when I was allowed to sit quietly and ponder over conversations I had or locations I’d visited or experiences I’d had. Silence is my fertile ground.
As a gardener, fertile soil is a necessity for growing plants which thrive. Tree, vegetable, or flower, all require nutrients to produce well. The same applies to writing. So, in the past, I have done some dirt farming for improved production in my garden, and it appears that I need to give the same attention to the fertility of my mind.
To paraphrase one of my best, creative friends, it’s time for some tea, toast, and putting pencil to paper. It’s time just to let my mind get some exercise in the quiet.
But I’m also happy to hear suggestions.
PS – I also intend to break out my colored pencils, crayons, and markers; my coloring books and sketch pads. A little creative variety is good.
What works best for you when you need some inspiration?