Sometimes all the bad news seems to hit at once, until you start to fear picking up the phone when a family member calls, afraid someone else is sick or in trouble or dying.
Sometimes you work hard all day and seem to produce exactly nothing, crossing items off a to-do list that seems imaginary and unimportant, and you leave craving real, tangible results – anything instead of words and pixels on a screen.
Sometimes the weather swings wildly from frigid to balmy, matching your moods when you can’t figure out how to navigate the roller coaster of life and work and loss (see above).
Sometimes you go home planning to relax and end up scrubbing the sink and toilet and stove top at 11 p.m., promising yourself you’ll get up and wash the dishes in the morning.
Sometimes you long to write something, anything, but can’t figure out what to say.
Sometimes you ache for a project to sink your teeth into, a novel or memoir or collection of essays, something that will make all the bits of disjointed writing and scribbling (and increasingly chicken-scratch handwriting) make sense. But you are fresh out of ideas.
Sometimes you read and read till your eyeballs nearly fall out, because books make you laugh and cry and think and provide a place of escape, and yet you still can’t seem to muster up the creative juju to start writing one of your own, even though you want to.
Sometimes, when this happens, you need to stop.
Sometimes you need to make a pot of soup just for you, chopping and stirring and simmering, even though there is no one else to enjoy the steaming golden liquid eaten with crumbled crackers from a red bowl.
Sometimes you need to go out for crepes filled with apples and pears and Brie and cinnamon, and a spectacular movie with a dear friend.
Sometimes you need to take a few days off, because your beloved college roommate and her husband are coming to visit, and it’s time to soak in community for a while.
Sometimes you take a deep breath and step back from the Internet, prying your fingers away from the keyboard, trusting that when you come back, after a few days of laughter and long walks and good conversations, your little corner of this global web will still be here, and your readers, however few, will not abandon you.
Sometimes you need to give yourself the advice you would give a dear friend, which is: Relax. Breathe. Sleep a little longer. Enjoy some time with the people dear to you. Scribble a few ideas in a notebook. The rest of the words will come.
(As you may have guessed, I’m feeling seriously burned out – and I have company coming in today. So I’ll be back in about a week, friends. See you then.)
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