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?