All Out Of Ink

May 5, 2011

The Wall

Filed under: Writer's Block,Writing Tips — Laynie @ 9:17 pm

There are many entries in the Great Phone Book of Life for The Wall.

The Wall, Hang a Picture On
The Wall, Arrange the Furniture Along
The Wall, What Color Shall We Paint
The Wall, Another Brick In

Each of those has its own listing. My number, however, has multiple entries.

The Wall, Clean the Crayon off of
The Wall, Beat My Head Against
The Wall, I Said Do Not Lick (I only wish I was kidding)
and the one that hurts the most:
The Wall, I Was Writing and I Hit

Throughout my writing life, I have hit many walls, some of them repeatedly. Usually, I experienced a period of great frustration, re-discovered my direction, and pressed forward with renewed determination (which is never as simple as that sentence makes it sound).

One day, as I was making rip-roaring progress on a book project, I ran into a very little wall. This wall was 19.75 inches tall, um, I mean 19.75 inches long. She arrived by scheduled c-section one Friday morning. When I saw her, I said, “Hello. Are you confused?” I knew how confused I felt much of the time, and I’d had 29 years to adjust to the variations of life. For her, the world was suddenly much bigger than she’d realized, and it wasn’t very comfy. Poor little thing.

I didn’t wait for her to answer. I passed out.

When I regained consciousness about a year later, I was unpacking in a new house. Boxes of notebooks, journals, legal pads, file folders, presentation portfolios, and plain old stacks of paper filled with my writing. I prepared to put them in attic storage, but my husband, Chris, stopped me. “You’re not putting that stuff in the attic.”

“I never use it. Besides, if I want it, I know where to find it.”

“But it’s your writing. You wouldn’t let me put my writing in the attic.”

“No,” I admitted. “But you actually write.”

“Why don’t you?” he asked.

Right about that time, a little blond giggle came around the corner, bumped into my leg, landed on her bum, looked up at me, and smiled. I didn’t have to say anything else.

Chris had a point, though. I couldn’t put it all away. I’d lost a lot of bits and pieces of individuality since Em was born, but I couldn’t sacrifice being a writer. It had never been just something I did. It had always been something I was whether I was actively writing or not.

It’s the same for every writer who suddenly finds herself (or himself) in charge of a small person (or persons) and filling more bottles than journals. You haven’t stopped being a writer. You’re a writer who’s doing something else right now.

Do you remember how easy it was before? How effortless it was to sit down and say what you meant, how simple it was to make the time? If you think you can remember that, you need to forget it. Creating something was never that easy, and it never will be. It is difficult. And if you think it’s harder than it used to be, remember you’re a different kind of strong than you once were. You can handle it.

You’ve experienced a period of great transition; now it’s time to reorient yourself and push forward again. I know it’s not as simple as that sentence sounds. That’s why I made this blog: for ideas that work, ideas that don’t work, frustrations, solutions, successes, non-successes, and everything in between. It’s the new entry in the Great Phone Book of Life:

The Wall, What to Do When You Hit

My book is coming along, by the way. But if I’m going to finish it this summer, I better get back to it.

More soon…


1 Comment »

  1. I absolutely love this! I love your writing. I am so glad you didn’t put it in the attic!

    Comment by frugalmamas — May 6, 2011 @ 12:02 am | Reply

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