A Little Help

Photography, Random Thoughts

I think it’s safe to say I’ve been putting this off for far too long. By this, I mean everything. This is where you come in. My life is out of sorts and I cannot seem to find my way back. Around and around I go. The answers are clear and I know the path I must take, but I keep stalling out. The why is not something I can name. But I do know some of the obvious.

This writer’s block has lasted longer than I ever thought possible. I’ve been neglecting projects I promised to fulfill. My books, my beloved characters, and the world I created have gone untouched for longer than I’d like to admit, for a variety of reasons that have changed over time. And I’m just … tired.

Where am I going with this, you might ask? I have no idea, to be honest. I don’t have any good answers. Maybe I just need time to lay everything out and decide what really matters, and ultimately let other things go. Maybe I just need a swift kick in the right direction. Not literally. Some motivation, might be a better description of what I need.

Perhaps, let’s try this. If you’ve been around for any period of time, you know what really lights me up and gets me animated. The thing that pushes me on. And if you’re aware of that, odds are you’re aware of what dulls me. The thing that’s really not worth my time, but somewhere along the way, I managed to convince myself it was. Can you pinpoint what’s holding me back?

I could use a little advice.

~Sarah Doughty

46 thoughts on “A Little Help

  1. Yeah, sometimes we convince ourselves that something is important because others consider it important. Eventually, if we’re not enjoying it, we tend to get away from it and then wonder why we did it in the first place. I recommend just resting and getting back to what you enjoy. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know you well enough to say, but I’ve been going through something similar and for me it’s fear. I’ve been using fear to wind me up and push myself forward for so long that my spring has rusted and my key has broken. I’m trying to make time for excitement and play as well as rest and time off. It’s a struggle. Good luck with your search.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think my issue might be similar. I have the stories in my head, but I’m usually too drained when the time comes that I’m able to write. Then it becomes a perpetual cycle and I’m left wondering if the time I spent writing was a fluke and I’m not the writer I thought I was. But I think it’s more than that. I need to prioritize my time better and give myself the permission that it’s okay to rest and recharge.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Writing your way out of a block isn’t easy, and every person has to find their own way. All I can offer is a few ideas:
    1. Set aside a little time every day. Prioritise it. Sit yourself down with that blank page or screen.
    2. Write something. Even if it’s just what’s on your mind, be it never so mundane. A word, a phrase, a name.
    3. Ask questions of what you’ve written. Elaborate a little, either digging in or allowing it to unfold.
    4. Give yourself time for these seeds to sprout. I like to go for a walk and let my mind wander, but you’ll have your own way of doing so.
    Beyond that, the work is your own, of course. Sprouting seeds can crack through the thickest concrete. I hope your block comes crumbling down too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for those suggestions. I had written something every day for nearly three years before this block came about. And when it did, it seemed my life was out of sorts. I haven’t yet found my way back, but I’m trying. I will start this again and see where it takes me.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Love your writing, Dear Sarah!! So sorry to hear about being in a writer’s block. That’s a dark place for a writer, to be sure!! I have been following Jo Hawk’s challenge to write something everyday for a year – even if it’s just one sentence. It helps to feel a bit of control over your writing skill – that it’s not just chance or sometimes inspiration. One of the things I like to do is listen to a babbling brook on head phones. It helps to block almost everything out and let your soul whisper to you. I love Elfchens. You might enjoy them too.
    11 word poem. line 1 = 1 word; line 2 = w words; line 3 = 3 words; line 4 = 4 words; line 5 = 1 one but it cannot be the same as the first word. They are fast, fun, simple and you can write about anything. If you try it you may like it?? Sometimes a format can help your writing!!
    Hope you are enjoying the holiday season!!


    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have been in the same spot. I’ve had a WIP for 6 years, maybe longer. And I’ve just been stuck. I’ve shelved it several times. But I KNOW that the heart of the story is worth telling. I still write too, poetry. It’s a release for me. But it’s not the same. It just so happens that I JUST recently found the solution to a place in the plot where I was stuck. Now, I’m itching to get writing!
    I’m sorry I don’t have an answer for you Sarah. I think for every one it’s different. Whatever the answer is, I hope you find it. I love your writing, it’s brilliant. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I’ve found that if a story is stalled, there’s probably something missing in the back story. Or perhaps a missed step. I’m like you, though. Poetry works in the interim, but fiction is really what helps the most. Part of my issue isn’t so much a traditional block, unless you’re counting my poetry only, but it’s more the energy and time needed to really do well at it. I had a wonderful system that worked before, but once my health declined and then we took on my ailing mother, time for writing is very little. And often, those times happen when I’m too mentally trained to devote to it.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I could have written this myself! It’s easy to sit here and say ‘prioritize’, make a list of all the things you want to achieve and start on just one at a time, but I know that just isn’t as easy as all that. Take stock over the next two weeks and come back strong and determined in 2020.
    Sending good wishes for Christmas x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, thank you. I’m going to try to focus more on my priorities and allow myself the flexibility of creating some kind of plan for the new year. With luck, I’ll be able to at least cut away some of the things that are taking time, but not necessarily adding anything of value to my life.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I went through this recently. It was a vicious circle. I wanted to write, but what I wrote was boring and uninteresting and not the least bit clever and I was typing words for the sake of having something on paper. It wasn’t good. It is a harsh reality that we must divide our efforts between the things we love, family, friends, writing and obligations. For me, when I took a day to just settle, calm my inner self, hush all the voices that say you must do this or that or the other, I was better able to come to terms with what is…what I can do, what I want to do, and what I must do. It took a few days of being in that calm place, not allowing anything or anyone to pull me in any direction in particular (it wasn’t easy either) that I was able to start writing again. Not sure if this helps but I hope so. Your writing is spectacular. I think we hit that wall when we care, we care a great deal about everything we do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, I’m sorry you’ve been through this too. I think perhaps part of my problem is that I haven’t just disengaged from everything. At least, the things that can go a day or two without imploding. Maybe that’s what I need. Or part of it, anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Possibly. That’s what I had to do. Step back reevaluate important from urgent from necessary to things I simply want to do. They all have as place. I think we tend to over think and then mess up our heads. Time foe us is important. I’ve come to learn you can’t give from an empty basket. You need to have something to give, n to do that you need to refill your own jets. It’s taken me a while to learn that one. Lol

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been thinking about this. I think most of us write from our wounds and also our survival. We connect with what has died or the life we’ve found after.
    And yet sometimes we grow tired of both. It’s like a marriage fading. We search at times for a new connection, when accepting ourselves provides more depth than we can ever imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for offering your thoughts on good, my friend. I’m not certain it’s a fading interest for me. I think it’s more of having the mental and emotional faculties available when it’s time to write. When those times do present themselves, I’m often too drained for the task.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I hear ya. I’m actually at that very spot, too. Of course, our circumstances are a bit different, but I sense that they are also the same. We have too much on our plate, and not enough time to rest and just do nothing. Not enough time and energy to totally unwind. Being able to just sit down for a minute at a time is not enough. I have been stalling with my book for a year. No edits are done. Absolutely ridiculous. Inexcusable. I thought I would finally get it done over Christmas break. And what? There’s other stuff going on, that might have to be pushed to the top of my list. AGAIN. I believe everything happens for a reason and there will be a time and place for the things that there needs to be a time and a place, but I’m tired of just waiting. Tired of being overwhelmed. Tired of not having enough time to relax AND do what I want to do. It seems like I can either do one or the other IF I get some time to myself. That’s not how things should be. Yea, you got me animated.

    I hope you figure it out, but don’t get too hard on yourself if you don’t. Life happens. Unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Life does happen. I’m facing the same. Wants and needs. Though, in a sense writing is necessary to me. But there are often other pressing matters to tend to and then there’s not enough brain power to really do what you want.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Is it you can’t or you don’t want to? It is okay not to want to write and, if you really want to be a writer you should find, believe it or not, – to not write. Accept that it is a good thing and then plan it. I don’t write when I don’t feel like it and that is not a bad thing to me. I don’t call it writers block. Whatever the case is with you I hope you get past it and back to your writing. I enjoy it when I come across it. – Robert

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Robert. I do write. I actually love it. And it’s been the most effective therapy I’ve ever had. But since the whole balance of life shifted when we took in my ailing mother, I’ve had a very difficult time finding the best times to get away and just write. Either my insomnia gets in the way or something else stops me. It’s no so much that I’m blocked, I just don’t have enough energy to write when I actually have a few moments to do so. I’m afraid if I force myself to do it without somehow sorting out my life outside writing, I’ll never really be able to devote the kind of time and energy it needs to really be worthwhile. I hope that makes sense.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Ugh yes. Note that you’ve given it a name that’s pretty much what it feels like. So many things pulling me in different directions, when time finally presents itself, I don’t have the mental or emotional capacity to do it and do it right.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Maybe the answer lies here. “to be really worthwhile” There’s a lot of expectation loaded into those four words. Can you be okay with accepting that maybe some writing is going to be bad, but it needs to get out anyway? (Unsolicited “this works for me” bit: I find a separate journal for brain dumping useful.)

        But you’re going through a lot, emotionally and physically. I’ve been in your shoes. Caregiving takes so much of us! Maybe you just need a break more than you need to write, at least for now. But it’s so, so important not to lose your sense of yourself when you’re daily sublimating your needs for another person. I like the suggestion made above of trying another creative outlet.

        For me, it’s drawing. I don’t have so much of my self-worth tied up in visual art as I do in writing, so I am completely fine letting myself suck there (which has, along the way, made me better able to judge my writing less harshly.) I can get stuff out without expecting it to be worthwhile. So it’s more relaxing. Healing.

        If you haven’t heard of Danny Gregory, you might look him up. He turned to drawing while figuring out life after his wife had a terrible accident. He has co-founded a group called Sketchbook Skool (I’m a member). There have been MANY sketches of hospital beds posted by members. Drawing what’s in front of you can be very centering or very cathartic—-sometimes both.

        Bonus: when I procrastinate art making, I usually write! And vice versa! So no guilt.

        Regardless of how you handle this, I remind you of the trite but true: This, too, shall pass. That sentence has seen me through some tough times (with no religiosity implied. Just that change is universal.) One day the shape of your days will be different.

        I am sending you love and encouragement. You’re going through so much. Please be gentle with yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh my, thank you for these kind words and thoughts. I do enjoy drawing, both physically and digitally. Or at least doing something else that’s creative and employs my creative side. I will check out Danny Gregory. I didn’t know about him before. I have found that in those moments I have a few minutes to spare, drawing is one of the few things I’ll turn to. Much like you, I don’t really see drawing as something that needs to be perfect or exceptional. It’s okay to be what it is and if I improve over time, then that’s good. If not, that’s okay too. I’ll lean more heavily on drawing when writing just feels too daunting for me. Hopefully the outcome will be like yours.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I understand some of what you are saying. Insomnia and I have been mates for a long time. Luckily, some of the best writing comes during these times when things are hard. Sometimes. I hope things balance out for you. Your writing talent is undeniable and I hope life lets you continue. Good luck! – Robert

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I read this to be rhetorical, but I can’t help but think, maybe it isn’t. I will tell you what works for me. As Writers, we tend to believe we can do it all, but sometimes we have to be reminded that we cannot. I take a step back, reflect on what I need to do most and I do that or those things. I always, always come back to writing and that includes any form of projects related to it.

    If I am blocked, I take on editing projects. I read, I watch inspirational and moving movies. Eventually, the words come back to me.

    Overall, I give myself time to become creative again and I pull inspiration from any devices I know to be helpful.

    Whatever you need, whatever it is you want, I hope you gain it, Sarah. And if this is totally rhetorical, then it’s helped me more than you know. Essentially, you’ve dropped something into my spirit and I appreciate you for doing so. Be well and good to you too.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You’re right. It’s not rhetorical. It seems there’s so much going on and lots of things I need to or should be doing. But ultimately, the writing and the editing have ended up furthest down on this list. They should be first. I don’t really know what to do to fix that.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I find myself unable to fix that. Why? Because deep down, I know that this is what I want, but not necessarily what I need. If you are anything like me, you are a realist. You know that some things take priority over your writing (This sounds terrible!). Your conscious would not allow you to live guilt-free if you neglected other people and other things that are more important. Writing is just writing.

        This might totally not relate to you, but that is the harsh truth about me. I absolutely hate it, but that’s the rawness of it.


      2. Oh, no. I completely understand. Usually writing takes the back burner over family. It sucks because it’s the best kind of therapy for me, but at the same time, neglecting my family isn’t an option either. So the writing must wait.

        Liked by 2 people

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