The words haven’t come easy these last few months. The world is heavy and navigating life seems to have sapped my creative well dry. It has been a month since I wrote anything for Thrive In Chaos, despite having numerous part-started posts and lists of ideas on my phone. Since March, my notebooks have mostly sat gathering dust – occasionally taken down, carried from room to room, or even brought along on dog walks in the hopes that inspiration might strike, but mostly serving as little more than props in Instagram photos.
I have two projects that I would like to call works in progress, except they’re not really in progress at all. They’re mostly in my head, which is actually fine place for a WIP to be – a lot of writing can happen in my head – but normally when my projects are up there they’re turning over, picking up scraps of experience and memory and ideas as I mull them over. They’re normally quietly shaping themselves into something resembling story or poetry or personal essay – shaping themselves into something. But there’s not a lot of shaping going on. They are mostly sat, increasingly covered in cobwebs – not the helpful kind that lend a gothic air and establish some kind of atmosphere, just the it’s-been-too-long-since-you-moved-anything-in-this-room kind that make you feel guilty and wonder whether you should hire a cleaner.
So I have these two misshapen, dusty, cobwebby lumps of ideas just sort of…sitting, in the middle of my brain, looking accusingly at me. It’s the kind of look my dog gives me when I’m doing anything other than giving her belly rubs.
Yeah. That look. The look that says “What could possibly be more important than me right now?”
They want my attention. They want to be cared for and loved and nurtured into what they are supposed to be. But taking another nap, binge watching another Netflix show, eating another bar of chocolate just feels so much more appealing. (My lockdown has been *super* healthy… honest.)
A bit like taking the dog out for a walk when it’s raining, I know I’ll probably enjoy it once I’m out there – even if it’s a bit of a slog and I get kind of mucky doing it – but the idea of getting started just sort of makes me want to crawl back into bed.
I think my lack of regular writing practice is becoming abundantly clear in this one rambling post. If there was a thread at the beginning I reckon I lost it somewhere around belly rubs – damn those puppy dog eyes.
But maybe that’s ok.
Part of what often stops me from just getting on with writing is that endless fear – fear that I am, in fact, a terrible writer and there’s therefore really no point. I sometimes want to pluck the seed ideas from my head and have them appear polished on the page, without all the messy business of writing a shitty first draft, rewriting it, cutting great swathes out, starting again, cutting and pasting and chopping and changing and deleting and writing until it comes out the other side, probably looking completely different to how I imagined. But then I remember – that’s writing.
That’s the fun bit.
That’s the adventure.
Why, you might ask, am I writing this nonsense for all the world to see? Partly as a reminder to myself that it’s ok to write nonsense. That my words don’t have to be perfect. Partly because it’s a place to start. And partly for my fellow writers who might be feeling a little lost, a little disconnected from their craft. Just to say, it’s ok. It’s ok to not be writing. It’s ok to be writing shitty first drafts (or shitty second drafts or fifteenth drafts). It’s ok to be writing nonsense. Wherever you are, the words will always be there, in the waiting. And you’ll find a way back to them.
I’m off to write some more nonsense.
Go gently, friends.