The statistics on my blog indicate that between December 2015 and March 2016 I have posted two articles per month, and from April 2016 onwards I have but one blog post each month. I find that so sad. There was a time when I used to post four to five articles a week.
My productivity has been at its lowest these past months. When friends asked what’s wrong I reply, “I can’t write. I am too stressed.”
I have read enough stories about other writers who have stopped writing during crises. I didn’t want that to happen to me. But at the same time I was in no position to write, both physically and mentally.
Julia Cameron writes in one of her books that if you have suffered a loss like the death of a loved one you need to grieve. You need to give yourself time and space to do so.
When my husband passed away I put on a brave face. First for my kids and then for the whole world to see. If I ever felt like crying which was almost always, I did it in the privacy of my bedroom and particularly at night when they went to bed. They needed me to be strong. I needed me to be strong. So I kept reading and writing.
A year then two more went by and when other crises hit, they affected me really badly. That’s when I couldn’t write. What’s more, when I forced myself to do so, I became angry, frustrated and blocked. So I did what I usually do when I am blocked. I cleaned my desk for the millionth time, I rearranged my library, I leafed through my files and went through my blogs. My self esteem was at its lowest and I needed to remind myself of my good times and my old writings, and I became nostalgic. I missed me, the writer, and I wanted to come home.
I couldn’t write but I could read. I reread Julia’s books which I keep on my night-table. According to her if you are experiencing lots of stress due to a crisis the last thing you need is more pressure. You have to slow down. Allowing yourself downtime doesn’t mean giving up on writing.
Then I started writing my morning pages. I wrote about my frustration, my sadness, my worries and my fears. I wrote about everything that came to my mind and I wrote every day. Until eventually I found myself writing again. I could feel the transformation in my heart because at some point I stopped reacting to what was going on in my life and I accepted the sad reality. To quote Julia:
“In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. The precise moment I was in was always the only safe place for me.”
And now I feel I am in transition, sort of in between phases. I am at a phase in my life where I want to leave the past behind and start a new life, build a community here in this new place where I also feel vulnerable, since I don’t have my family and circle of friends.
But as long as I have my books, my kids and my extended family abroad and I can reach out for help, I’ll get through this and keep on writing.
Have a blessed day everyone!