01 May 2012

Writer's Abyss

Hi! How have you been? What have I missed while on bed rest? I'm nearly back on my feet. The baby will be full term soon, so all this effort to keep him in will switch to getting him out. (Ain't life funny?)

I've been reading A LOT, but I haven't had the brain power to write. I have Storymakers to prepare for and a rewrite to finish, but I have no fuel to do it. I sit down at my computer and my brain sputters and creaks to a halt. And I'll admit, I've been pretty cranky about it. I want to finish my rewrite!

But sometimes writing isn't my highest priority. Other roles take precedence: sister, mother, wife, daughter, employee. The list goes on and on. I'm not talking about procrastination, laziness, stubborness, writer's block, or my muse skipping out on me. I'm talking about LIFE. My writing has fallen into the abyss because LIFE has chucked it there and watched it sink. It happens, I know, but it's still aggravating when it does. Yup, supremely annoying.

So why do I fight it? Why don't I just accept that for this short time I should be focused on something besides my writing? Why not enjoy my time away from the computer and revising and editing instead of being upset about how braindead I am? Writing is hard enough. Why am I making it harder on myself?

Tell me I'm not alone. Tell me you've experienced "writer's abyss" when everything writerly disappears into a deep, dark chasm. This too shall pass, right? Right?

52 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I supposed your body is preparing for motherhood and something have to be sacrificed. Your writing will return when your body lets you know.
Hope all goes well with the baby.

Yvonne.

Brinda said...

Everybody has those times. You are in a state where you should feel no guilt over letting other priorities (like LIFE) take precedence.

Kyra Lennon said...

*hugs* Of course it will pass! :D Sometimes life happens, and there's nothing that can be done about it. Take it easy, Emily! <3

Trisha said...

You've definitely got other things that are *supposed* to get in the way of your writing right now - i.e. being nearly full term! But I know that feeling of wanting to write but not being able to. You're certainly not alone there!

Cristina said...

yes it happens. More often than I'd like.
Have fun this weekend at the conference. :)

S.P. Bowers said...

You're not alone. It stinks but it happens. You just have to live life until it calms enough that you can write again. Good luck, enjoy storymakers. I wish I could come and meet so many blogging friends.

Imogen said...

You're definitely not alone in the writer's abyss, though you have a way better excuse than me. Right now my excuse is two university assignments due one week after the other. Cue major stress.

Coleen Patrick said...

You'll get back there again! Good luck with everything Emily :)

Kelley Lynn said...

Have fun at the conference.

And you most definitely aren't alone...

Morgan said...

Oh Em! It's because you're pregnant! I PROMISE!!! With my last baby, I didn't write the ENTIRE 9 months.(Well, it's really 10, isn't it?) I swear there's something that happens to our brains during pregnancy...

What's funny is that it only took me two weeks. Two weeks after the babe was born last year, I was on fire and writing like I was before the pregnancy. Just embrace the fact that nothing creative is going to come and do what you're doing... reading, studying, all of the real life icky stuff... and soon you'll be on fire. (I remember being SO FRUSTRATED too!!!)

*hugs*

Tasha Seegmiller said...

Oh sister, that was my March and half of April. I wanted to write to desperately, but the second I opened the file, my eyes wouldn't stay open. Yup, life, kids, jobs, prom, birthdays...and I was very ornery about not being able to write. The only thing I could think was that if I was reading good books, and thinking about what I wanted to write, it would jump start the process when I could get back to writing, and it seems to be working, a bit.

Cassie Mae said...

Life has gotten to me too. You are totally not alone!

Things will calm down. They always do... right before they pick up again :)

Meredith said...

Ugh, i hate that feeling! Just keep reminding yourself that there's nothing you can do about it, and keep focusing on what you have to do right now. Life will settle down eventually. :)

Freya Morris said...

Oh you poor thing. Sucky sucky.

Perhaps you're expecting too much from yourself right now? There are different aspects to writing that doesn't need you fingers to write.

This would be the perfect time to sit back and daydream! Come up with some amazing ideas - reams of them. Crazy, nutty, funny ones, that you want to wrap up in a cake and eat.: D

Reading is a great for sparking ideas.

elizabeth seckman said...

I was side tracked from writing when my dad and my brother were diagnosed with cancer and "life" got in the way. I was so frustrated, but then a retired writer told me...life is where the stories come from; maybe you're not writing, but you are absorbing. And that's important too.

Glad to see you're back!

Suze said...

It's not writer's abyss, Em. It's part of writing. By nature, we oscillate. Take the periods of gestation with the periods of pushing your work out into the world as one.

M.J. Fifield said...

Oh yeah. I have those times and I don't even have half the good reasons for it that you do. It'll pass. You'll see.

Amanda Olivieri said...

Ugh, I've totally been in the abyss before! You're not alone! But yes, it will end. Anyway, you have the biggest excuse ever, so don't be too hard on yourself! You'll be writing again when the time is right :D Have fun at the conference!

Shiela Calderón Blankemeier said...

Sounds like we've all been there. Don't be so hard on yourself - you have a precious life inside you that needs you more than your writing :) It'll come back. All you have to do right now is rest and take care of yourself. There is a time to fight through the abyss and a time to go with the flow. I can't think of a better time to be flowing :) Hang in there and lots of hugs to you!

J. A. Bennett said...

I am so there with you! Since I've been pregnant LIFE has been nothing if not in the way. So annoying! And yes I beat myself up about it. I just want to be a writer dangit! Oh well, LIFE refuses to stop so I might as well go with the flow.

Becky Wallace said...

I know exactly how you feel. I had great intentions to write yesterday, but instead I washed, folded, and put away five loads of laundry. But hey, I accomplished *something.* It may not feel like much, but you're accomplishing something too! You are growing a human. And that is pretty awesome sauce in my opinion.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I experience writer's abyss often. If I force myself to get in front of the computer, it usually goes away. But sometimes the dread is there because I'm tired and have no idea what is going to come out of me.

David P. King said...

You'll be at Storymakers after all you've been through recently? You're Superwoman! It will be awesome to see you there. :)

Melodie Wright said...

Your brain probably feels dead because it's already creating a masterpiece. Trust me, this baby will be one of your greatest legacies. :) Relax, enjoy Storymakers and let your creativity recharge.

Crystal Collier said...

I can NEVER write when I'm pregnant. It's like half the brain and all the motivation are missing. =) There is a season for mothering, and when you have this baby, chances are you'll be so sleep deprived for the first 3 months, and then so exhausted for the next 9, you won't write much. That's okay. It will rekindle in its time. The older I get, the more relaxed I become about writing. There will be an age where there are no kids running around my house and I HAVE to fill my time with something or go mad. Some days I ache to be there, and some days I sit down with my littles and think, "This is pretty great. I can do this forever. Forget writing!"

Emily R. King said...

Trisha, I guess I do have a good excuse. It's still frustrating!

Imogen, good luck with your assignments!

Freya, I have been reading and drafting, but when it comes to getting the words on paper, I can't do it. Sucky is right.

Suze, I know it's natural, but it still bites. :)

Becky, true! I really don't like missing a deadline though.

David, I can't wait to see you!

Crystal, life is good, isn't it? This is baby time! Not writing time, which is great and not great at the same time. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Don't make me sing, Empress King. I swear I'll do it. Ahem...

"Yoooou are not alonnne. I am here with yooooou. Though you're far awaaaaaay, I am here to staaaaaaaay." ;)

Phil Siegel said...

It's happened to me, too. At the end of the day, family, friends, and living your life take more precedence than writing, frankly. And that life experience will enrich your writing.

Peaches Ledwidge said...

Of course, it will pass. I've been down familiar roads. You have much to deal with.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I wasn't able to write on my manuscript while pregnant. I wrote some other things, but not a word on the book. Best of luck and keep resting.

Botanist said...

Definitely not alone. My writing got clobbered for a long time by LIFE, and more recently by the A to Z Challenge. Now that's over I was supposed to get back and finish off my novel revisions, but I'm finding all sorts of excuses to avoid it.

I'm sure I'll get past this block, but for now I reckon my mind is telling me it's just not ready.

I have a difficult scene to rewrite, so I'm hoping like heck my mind is working on it in the background and will surprise me when it's good & ready :)

J.L. Campbell said...

Hey, Emily, it definitely will pass. If it brings you any comfort, can you make notes and such on your story ideas and for your editing? That might delude you into thinking you're writing.

Lame, I know. Keep well.

Cherie Larkins said...

Hey, I didn't know you were on bed rest. Hugs!!! That's tough, but glad to know you're almost back on your feet (or that baby's close to full term.)

I know what you mean about life getting in the way of writing. Been happening to me lately, too. Especially when the kids get sick then it's goodbye writing! But, at the same time, I know that once things resemble normal (or close to it), I'll have time to write once more. If I don't accept this head-on, if I keep fighting life when it needs me, then I go bonkers. But if I let it run its course for now, knowing that I'll get back to my writing routine very soon, then I can handle it. :)

Good luck, pregnant lady! Stay healthy and take care of yourself and baby boy!

Emily R. King said...

Carrie, sing it girl! You warm my heart. :D

Phil, very true. But I don't like missing my intended deadline, ya know?

Peaches, it happens to the best of us. :)

Botanist, May should be a better month for a lot of writers who were sucked into the blogoverse for the A to Z Challenge. Congrats on finishing!

Cherie, you have a good attitude. Can I borrow yours? Ha! I'm in the last leg of my pregnancy, so cranky is the norm. I'll be better after I deliver. (I hope.)

Lara Schiffbauer said...

You're not alone. Not writing makes me cranky, too. At times where I need to put writing on the back burner, I make a plan to write for ten minutes a day. Not demanding, but still fulfilling to me, at least. I try to remember that everything comes in waves, and try hard to not be hard on myself. I don't know how you do, but that's always the hardest part. :)

Leigh Covington said...

You're not alone my dear. My writing was sucked into the abyss of life as well. I'm slowly trying to pull it back up to me. It will happen... eventually. So hang in there girl! We're all rooting for ya! :)

Deana said...

Oh yes! I don't see how life doesn't get in the way every once in a while. It happens, but what is cool about is writers is that we can glean from our life experiences and use it in our next book:)

You'll get back in it for sure. It isn't like a baby due in no time has anything to do with it. Not at all:)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

The writer's abyss. The story chomper. Lake of laziness. I've experienced all sorts of writing issues. The thing is to never give up. But also remember you have that dear child coming. Take time and relax in between writing dry spells. Happy to see a post from you and best wishes in everything you do.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Life definitely comes first! Because without it, what's the point of writing?

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I know what you mean. Life stuff interrupts and can't be ignored, but meanwhile there is that constant itch to write and revise. I am always muttering that there are not enough hours in a day. But your a writer and always will be a writer, even after the life stuff subsides.
Stay well!

Hope Roberson said...

You're not along :) My writing falls into the abyss all the time! Sometimes I'm able to rescue it before it leaves for too long, other times it's down there for a while. But it always comes back :) Energy level helps and I imagine that is tricky for you right now. Writing will always be there!

Angela Cothran said...

Boo for the Writers Abyss! Yay for this weekend!

Richard said...

I've had to stop writing for various periods of time for various reasons. It's just a break. Don't sweat it.

Emily R. King said...

Lara, it is hard not to get upset, especially when you're on a roll or your deadline is disturbed.

Sheena-Kay, I should relax more. I wish I knew how! Any ideas? :)

Jay, the abyss is always there, no matter the stage of life!

Cynthia, all I want to do is scratch my itch. :)

Richard, true. But I was really on a roll with my revisions. It hurts to delay them, even for a while.

Kim said...

Oh, I can commisserate (sp?) - I've been trying to finish the last part of a draft of a novel for like 4 months...
You're going to be at Storymakers? Me, too! I will be there Thurs and Sat - hopefully we can meet up :)

unikorna said...

Yes you are in desperate need of a muse, I am also looking for one :), they seem scarce these days.

Tobi Summers said...

Yup, you're not alone. I don't wear nearly as many hats as you do, but I still find myself constantly playing catch up. I've been keeping up with the writing, but it hasn't been very good, and I finally put the project on hiatus because I wasn't having any fun with it.

Hopefully things will calm down for you a little soon (I was about to say after you have the baby, but somehow I don't think that'll make things *calmer*...). Good luck! Have fun at Storymakers!

tueremorton said...

Ahh, the eternal abyss. Yes, it forever looms in the form of either work, family (sometimes friends) and community commitments and as diligent as I'd like to be and follow other author's advice to write, write, write EVERY day, it doesn't always happen in a perfect world. Thou shalt not beat yourself up and CONGRATS!! :)

Medeia Sharif said...

There have been times when I couldn't write because of life happening. I itched to write, but wasn't able to. It is aggravating. But once life settles, you'll find that time again.

Nas said...

Hope all goes well with baby! Looking forward to seeing cute, adorable baby photos.

Your writing will be back when you least expect it!

Ru said...

It will definitely pass :) Good luck with the next few weeks!!

Jay Noel said...

It's a temporary thing, usually. Although I did have an abyss that lasted more than 5 years! But I was blogging and doing podcasts...but I missed my other writing and came back to it.

This too shall pass. Hey, saw a pic of you at the Storymakers conference!