When The Words Won’t Come

Anyone who’s ever written anything has probably sat down in front of their computer or notebook, all set to write, when they suddenly realize there’s a big problem – they’ve got nothing. All the ideas decided to flee the country as soon as they saw that blank page.

The typical solution is to just start writing anyway, even if it’s slow and painful at first. Even if you have to force the words out of your brain and onto the page, before you know it, writer’s block is a thing of the past.

At least, that’s usually what happens. But when writer’s block comes back day after day and the thought of sitting down to create something makes you feel hollow instead of joyful, it might be time to consider a different approach.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling creatively drained. I’ve been noticing it since early this school semester, actually, but it’s only become obvious more recently. Whether it’s writing posts for my blog or working on a personal project, I started to realize I was dreading doing those things.

It’s hard to really say why that’s been happening. It could be the busyness of life – I’m taking five classes and juggling three jobs this semester, so that keeps me occupied for most of my days. Perhaps it could be the other strains I’ve been under as well – the last month and a half have been emotionally taxing for me and the people around me, and I think that may have also had a hand in my creative exhaustion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a creative person. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting to tell stories or make something for others to enjoy. Creativity is such a part of me, and I don’t think it will ever go away permanently. Even when I’m feeling empty, I still get sparks and flickers of ideas, and I still record them, because I know that one day, I’m going to move past this exhaustion and be able to create again.

The challenge then is figuring out how to refuel my creativity, and I think it starts with learning to rest. If you know me, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a very task-oriented person. I like having color-coded checklists that I can mark off whenever I finish something. I’m also an overachiever, which means those color-coded checklists are usually chock-full of things I want to accomplish.

I’ve decided that, in order for me to restore my creative drive, I need to release myself from some of the “responsibilities” that I’ve created, at least temporarily. I think the creativity is like a muscle – yes, you need to use it regularly to keep it strong, but you also need to give it rest or you’ll hurt yourself. A strained muscle can cause physical pain; strained creativity can cause mental and emotional distress.

Maggie’s Musings has been going strong for almost three years now, and I plan to keep that going for another three. This isn’t a “this is the end” post or anything like that. Things are still going to be happening around here. They just might look a little different for a few weeks.

I’m deciding that from now until the end of November, I’m going to be taking a step back from blogging. You’ll still be seeing posts pop up every week, not to worry – but they’ll be different from usual. I have a lot of “blog tags” I’ve been wanting to do for a while, so I might share a few of those. Perhaps you’ll see a guest post or two in there. Honestly, I don’t have a big plan right now, but for me, it’s most important that I let myself rest.

There’s this term called “sabbatical” that I’ve heard a few times around one of my jobs, usually in relation to professors who are taking a break from teaching for a semester or two. According to Wikipedia, a sabbatical in general is “a rest from work,” sometimes to specifically accomplish a goal, like a research project.

So that’s what I’m calling this – a sabbatical from blogging. I won’t be going far, believe me. But I’ll be taking more time to read, more time to create things without the pressure of an audience. I’ll be playing video games and rediscovering the joys of a good story. I’ll be spending time with the people I love and learning from them.

And when December arrives and it’s time to get back to work, you can bet that I’ll be ready to write.

3 thoughts on “When The Words Won’t Come

  1. A wise man once told me that when you’re frustrated with something, get away from it and take a break. Work on something else. It’s often a fine line between plowing through frustration and stepping away from it, but there’s no wrong answer and if you’ve tried the former, it may be time to try the latter. Always enjoy your work and look forward to seeing more of it later this year!

    Like

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