I haven’t been writing. At. All. I can’t even pump out 500 words on a bi-weekly basis these days.
Let’s just say that in the first week of December my life took an unexpected and stressful turn. Don’t cry for me, Argentina. I’m well and will be good as new emotionally once I get my legs under me. I’m much better off than too many people out there with more serious problems. Even so, life is relative, and mine rather sucks right now.
And here’s a truth: I still show up for my day job. I’ve been distracted, sure, but I haven’t skipped a beat, not let one ball drop, because they need me. Most colleagues have no idea my life is a mess because I am a professional.
So how about my writing job? Have I shown up?
Here’s a harder truth: For my writing, I’ve been a complete no-show.
The going got tough, and I abandoned my art and soul.
Many artists create through their pain, use their suffering to fuel their art, express their sorrow through their media – brash paintings, harsh and poignant lyrics, caustic essays or blog posts.
Me? I shut down completely. My creative juices become sludge in my veins. All I want to do after I’ve powered through the work day is don my jammies and watch trash television. Bonus! It’s an election year, so there is no shortage of mind-numbing escape from my real life.
I think about writing, and I feel overwhelmed. I cannot lift a finger to the keyboard except to check Facebook and Twitter, and compulsively check work email.
Then this week I met with a wonderful woman named Carol and her book group in Illinois, via Skype. They peppered me with smart questions and contributed astute observations during a lively discussion filled with laughter and good will. I could feel my mojo returning. Afterwards, Carol sent me a picture of herself with her granddaughter. When I remarked on Carol‘s loveliness, she told me she hoped to stay healthy to enjoy her two granddaughters for a long time. And then she said: “That requires relaxing with a good book and a glass of wine, so keep on writing!!!!! I need you :-)”
She needs me.
And I haven’t been showing up.
I have not been professional.
Instead of pouting about how I’m “not in the right place emotionally to produce,” I could have shown up, ass in the chair, writing something, anything – a grocery list, a pro/cons list outlining the rest of my life, an instruction manual for mid-life transitions – all as writing practice if nothing else, and all better than binge-watching DVR’d episodes of The Daily Show.
It’s time to get my ass back in the chair.
Carol needs me.
And I need to write.