I’ve been trying to write this blog post for twenty minutes now. I’ve started it three times, only to have my brain interrupt me and tell me that it should be flowing from my fingertips perfectly formed, that everything is awful if things aren’t happening that way.
But sometimes creation is slow. Sometimes creation needs time to percolate: to condense and arrive at its own form, its own existence.
And sometimes you need to tell scumbag!brain to shut up and create nonlinearly. To give yourself permission to be messy, disorganized, nonsensical.
Sometimes you need to be imperfect.
So here goes.
✦ ✦ ✦
February was a really great month for me—I finished revising a lot of stories and wrote a couple new ones; everything seemed to be working out.
Then, at the beginning of March, I finished a story and struggled to write more.
Where was all that energy that was feeding me in February? Where was all the genius? Was I sliding back into a depressive episode; would I lose two, three, four more years to mental illness and find myself unable to write again?
I was anxious. I lamented about my sudden dry spell to my therapist; I talked about how I felt like I always needed to be creating, how I needed to be productive, or else the bad brain would catch up to me. How this dry spell was killing me; how I felt so worthless every time I opened a new document and stared at it, unable to come up with any words.
After listening to all this—and remarking that a blank document is a terrible source of inspiration, anyway—my therapist asked, “What if it’s not a dry spell, but a moment of rest?”
A moment of rest?
I thought about that. The truth is, these were story drafts and story ideas that I’d been nurturing since October, November. I had a reserve of energy to draw from.
Then, my batteries ran out—no, let’s rethink that: then, I expended the energy I’d saved up, and now my batteries needed to recharge.
Not a dry spell, but a moment of rest.
The idea was liberating, but hard to internalize. It’s been a month since that conversation, and I’m still trying to counter thoughts that tell me that I’m worthless when I’m not creating; I’ve had to battle back those voices multiple times even over the course of composing this post.
Reminding myself that my worth is not contingent on my productivity has helped: no matter how much my culture tries to tie human value to labor, it’s a false equivalence. A few other things that have helped:
- Giving myself permission to write badly.
- Giving myself permission to not write.
- Giving myself permission to rest.
So, that’s where I am right now. Things have been quiet around my blog this month because I’ve had little energy, and I’m trying to allow myself to rest to recover that energy.
I’m creating at my own pace. I’m taking much-needed time to recharge.
And that’s okay.
Additional reading: I Am Still Writing (On Recovering From a Drought) by Katherine Locke