Deep breath, in, out. Shoulders down.
It’s been far too long since I’ve updated this blog. There are a lot of excuses for that, some of them real, some strained, some even qualify as legitimate reasons. My father passed, and I was able to pour my pain into writing and creating for a little, then I burned out. My writing stagnated, my well of creativity dried up for a while. Then my father-in-law passed, and the walls I had spent so long building up around myself cracked and the grief I had buried so deeply crashed through. Then the pandemic hit.
Every little thing felt hard. The bad days started outnumbering the good, and I still tried to stuff it all down (and I know better). I still spend a lot of time clawing out of that dark hole. I take every drop of creativity and want and need to write that comes my way. I try not to compare myself to other writers, to not internalize and judge myself for not participating in that writerly advice of “write something, anything, every day.” Because some days, it’s enough that I got up, showered, fed myself. Bonus points for “going” to work and getting anything accomplished. This is my reality. I am doing my best, and that’s going to look different day-to-day.
In her recent writing seminar, author Maggie Stiefvater shares a story about an exchange she had with a friend around energy availability vs output, that centers around the idea that when you are going through something, your energy availability will be different every day, and what you’re able to do will reflect that, not your character, your self-worth. Maggie’s friend recommended journaling; sharing how much energy you have/had throughout the day, then reflecting on what you accomplished. Maggie noticed that on the days she had less energy, her accomplishments were a shorter list and a different list than on the days when she had more energy. And didn’t judge herself for it.
That message was huge, and hit me so hard I went back and rewatched that segment multiple times. Because judgment is something that comes easily to me, especially if it’s directed internally. But everything she said made sense. And I’ve been working on that understanding, that self-kindness ever since.
I’m also making more of an effort to be present. And to share what’s going on. For one thing, have I even shared here that I have four works in progress going on right now? Four. Fucking FOUR. For me, that’s a lot (stop chasing plot bunnies, Katrina). In the coming weeks, I’ll share more about those stories, along with my process.
There are good days and hard days for me—even now. Don’t let the hard days win.Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury