Sometimes life overwhelms us.
When things get tough, writers can rally. After all, for an author, sad times can provide a wealth of inspiration for future stories. We can often use the emotions raging in our souls. In fact, I’d say we need to.
And then, at other times, life just makes us numb. It’s during those moments that the words just don’t come for me.
When families experience trials, something my family is dealing with right now, writing has to take a back seat. As much as it feeds and nourishes me, there are times when I stare at the blank page, wishing for paragraphs to miraculously appear. Hoping those night-time elves will scribble in my notebook when I’m asleep.
It doesn’t quite work that way.
I’ve learned there are moments when a writer must put the pen away, when she must bid her characters adieu, knowing she’ll see them soon. It isn’t easy but it’s important.
And like so many writers who are forced to take a break to deal with real life, I often beat myself up, wishing I could write through the struggle. That I could forge ahead, even if only to put the next chapter heading on the book.
We shouldn’t chastise ourselves for taking a breather. Stress is difficult in any profession, but deadly to a writer. You can’t create while filled with anxiety. And while I try to put a brave face on things, I need to remember that I’m only human and that tomorrow is another day. As my friend author Cameron Lincoln wisely reminded me, “Words can wait.” Very good advice.
And so, for now, I will put my words away and breathe. I will connect with family and support those who need it, while asking for support when I need it. Trusting, all the while, that my words will be there the next time I go looking for them.