17,366,400 Seconds

It has been 201 days since my last blog post.

It feels longer if you consider the number of minutes – 289,440 between this post and the one I wrote on February 12. Or, if you want to be really bleak, I’ve waited more than 17,366,400 seconds to return to this page (and that number only keeps growing the longer it takes me to type.)

I haven’t been “not writing”; I write every day. It’s my job, my career. I get to write for a living, and very few things make me happier. But, I haven’t been writing here, and here is where I get to play.

Instead of filling my minutes with writing, I’ve been doing a number of other things. I walk. I visit coffee shops and linger in bookstores, sipping lattes with honey. I read books like Excavation by Wendy Ortiz, The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit and The Philosophy of Walking by Frederic Gros. I shop online. I wander through our neighborhood with my kids, making them tell me stories about middle school, and the best thing about kindergarten.

During a call a few weeks back with another writer, I explained my not writing as, “…wallowing in my joy.” Even with all the not-writing, I’ve been happy, ecstatic at times, giggling over the size of cucumbers growing in our backyard.

But the not-writing is always there, just inside my peripheral vision, like a winter coat left hanging in the mud room all through the summer. And it’s not only the not-writing that keeps tapping me on the shoulder, but the things I’m not-writing.

No blogging. No morning pages. No attempts at fiction or memoir. No columns. Not even a hand-written letter, the kind I used to send to my sister on an almost weekly basis.

As with any practice you fail to do for a number of days, hours or minutes, getting back on the proverbial horse is intimidating.

Instead of writing, even here, I’m lulled into believing that I should change my blog’s theme and layout. The font is too small, and the image is too big. Or, maybe I should update the other pages first, before publishing this post. I think to myself, “Just write it – but, don’t share it. No reason to publicly shame yourself by admitting how much you haven’t been writing.”

Reading over just these few paragraphs makes me tired and hungry at the same time – napping and eating being my two most favorite forms of avoidance.

How do you do it? How do you write again, after leaving it out to pasture for so long?

That’s not a rhetorical question; please, tell me, how do you begin again?

 

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6 thoughts on “17,366,400 Seconds

  1. I’m thrilled to see you here no matter how many days or minutes or seconds it’s been. And you’re not alone, as I will be spending my day moving my computer and papers and workspace back to the spare bedroom where I type on a tiny table and can close the door. Because, of course, if don’t have room on my “desk” for potato chips and dip, and if I can close the door to shut out ALL distraction, I will write stuff. Right??

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    1. I’m just as thrilled to be here as well…although, a part of me is thinking I may need a new pad. We’ll see.

      You know, I have the perfect office for writing, a wall of books, a big comfortable chair and a long desk with plenty of space to spread out on, and still I sit and type at the breakfast bar in my kitchen.

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  2. Well, this is going to sound cheesy and also like cheating, but what I did when I got stuck like this was to copy down, word for word, passages from books I really loved. It sort of jump started me into writing again without the pressure of coming up with something original of my own.

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    1. I was actually thinking about stealing your plan to blog every day to get my juices flowing in proper order once again. If so, I’ve got a few passages I’ve been wanting to copy down…maybe I’ll kill two creative birds w/ one stone…blogging every day and copying the better work of other writers while doing it. There’s this great piece I read a few weeks back from Deborah Levy’s “Things I Don’t Want to Know” which is this tiny little book on writing that I ate up like a box of expensive chocolate truffles. (& how great is that title?!)

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  3. How do you begin again. Isn’t that the question.
    You know I read this and read the joy and the time with your kids and the joy in your work and all I can think is that it will come. Maybe the story has to sing a bit to you before you’re ready to write it. Maybe right now, life is too good and too joyous for you to want to take time away from all of the loveliness to sit alone and write.
    Maybe your theme and layout needed to be changed.

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    1. Agreed…it’s definitely time for a new theme and layout – an overall fresh start. Just the idea gives me a jolt. “I’m starting a new blog” is the 21st century version of “It’s an all new me” right?

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