On Not Writing Anything At All

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Judging mother goat says you "should" do more.
It's been some time since I've been able to sit down and write anything - well, at least anything that I'm proud of.

I've been writing emails, writing to-do lists, researching things to write, and generally hiding under my covers whenever someone mentions writing for pleasure or even for this blog.

Whenever someone asks me - the self-identified writer - "what have you been working on lately?" I begin to freeze up. There's nothing wrong with this question, but it does create an internal jab that I should be working on the next big masterpiece. Perhaps a novel, perhaps a book of poetry, perhaps an application that will send me to the greatest heights of academic superiority... but alas, as I mentioned on Monday, the word "should" does little more than shame me into thinking I'm not doing enough.

And there's nothing more unproductive than that.

I think that goes for any sort of situation in which you find yourself feeling uninspired or apathetic or any of those other adjectives that express that you're generally in a rut. When it's for other people - your professor, your friend, your parents - it can be hard enough. But when you can't even produce material for yourself, well then you might as well hang up your tools and call yourself finished... at least, that's what the monsters in your head are saying.

When I lack inspiration like this, I try to put down the barest minimum. Hit all the basics and feel no guilt. No should. If all you can get through is the final few pages of reading or the next appointment, then that's all that needs to happen. Sometimes it's important to work harder than anyone else, yes, but it is equally important to give yourself the self-nourishment to not get burnt out.

And you know what else? It's never going to be perfect. I am (slowly) learning that lesson myself.