Stripped of My Desire to Create

I’ve been out of commission for a while.  Not as in a my-organs-were-removed/repaired-and-I’m-recuperating sort of way, but in an I’ve-lost-all-drive-to-write sort of way.  Personally, the former would be easier for me to deal with.  I have a pretty high pain tolerance and not all organs are necessary for survival.  Just ask Slim Goodbody.

Bask in my greatness.
You know you want it.

I attempted to pinpoint when the creative breakdown was conceived, but I failed to locate that nefarious moment.  I’ve no recent traumatizing situations to speak of, save for my friend’s Christmas party where she kept dumping out my drink in order to wash my glass.  I would set down my glass to talk to someone and then turn back around to take a sip of wine only to discover it sprouted legs and trotted away.  (I must warn you that one has to watch their plate around her, too.  It’s a compulsion she’s trying to tame.)

At any rate, my desire to create also sprouted legs and trotted away because I cannot summon a spark to save my wit.  But here’s the real kicker:  up until a few days ago, I didn’t even care.  The last time I can recall honestly giving a hoot about my writing was at the very beginning of the year.  My muse apparently jumped ship shortly thereafter, and who can blame her?  Apathetic behavior doesn’t exactly encourage your muse to whisper sweet nothings into your ear.

So what happened status-post amputation of 2012 that caused my creative decay?  Because my lack of desire hasn’t invaded other areas of my life.

I’ve been highly focused on my physical and mental well-being since the beginning of the year.  Returning to my pre-Maya shape is one of my (seemingly unattainable) goals.  I gained weight throughout the last quarter of last year and it affected everything in my life.  My energy level plummeted, my mood sunk, my washer and dryer shrunk ALL of my clothes.  It was crazy.  Thus, dropping the weight isn’t all about my quest to build a sweet backside.  I keep a food log of what I eat and drink (wine has deliciously evil calories) so that I can hold myself accountable.  I exercise 5-6 days a week– jogging, walking a couple of miles during my lunch hour, working out to Bob Harper’s bitch of a strength dvd, working out to Jillian’s exercise dvds, even doing Brazil Butt Lift workouts– and I’ve only managed to drop almost one size in eight weeks.  Almost, but not quite.  Needless to say, I am frustrated with my lack of bodily shrinkage.  My bubble butt and my thunder thighs are like adult children who won’t leave the nest.

My financial state still sucks.  I’m not going to go into detail right now, but it sucks.  Granted, I am far better off than most of the world (World Poverty Statistics), so I truly shouldn’t complain.  In fact, I feel like a twat for even whining about my financial state.

My financial state is fine, so that’s not it.

I think my work is draining me of all my creative spunk.  I love my boss and I am truly grateful to have a great job, but the endless corporate paperwork and red-tape and mounds of billing and unbelievably dense people wear me down.  By the time I arrive home, I’m a mental zombie.  I push myself through a workout and then cook dinner, wash dishes, play games and read to the girl, bath time, clean up, and then attempt to space out in a chair while the girl makes me sing the numbers 1 through 100 with her.  And then we sing ABC’s.  And then play “Alphabet.”  (Alphabet flash cards with words and pictures– all of which she has memorized and 3/4 of which she can spell upon quizzing.  She’s already smarter than I will ever be.)  When she’s finally done trying to stimulate my mind, Maya crashes around 10:30 and I am wiped out.  Understandably.  (And now you see how exciting my life is.)  I try to get up early to write, but it simply isn’t happening yet.  My body refuses to budge before 6:15.

Something has to give.  I need time to relax and create.  I don’t want to give up time with my kid, because even though she sometimes drives me bats, she’s a prodigious sponge who eagerly drinks in everything I teach.  We’re starting on beginner reading books and addition/subtraction and French lessons not because I want her to but because she LOVES it (her sitter is French, hence the French language thing).  Numbers are fun to her and I want to encourage her to learn as much as she can (while she still thinks it’s a game).  I can’t– I won’t– trade her developing, freakishly smart brain for my story.  Forget it.

I could give up work, but that means not having a home and car and food and having to go on welfare, which would make my self-confidence plummet and I would somehow end up with a bunch of cats and become a homeless hoarder pushing around a shopping cart full of one pre-schooler and her Alphabet cards, towels and mis-matched socks, lampshades, and old VHS tapes.  I know it.

This would be my new home.  Wipe your feet at the door, please.
This would be my new home. Wipe your feet at the door, please.

So we’re down to my body.  I will trade my body for creative gain.  Well, not trade my actual body.  I’m not sacrificing a kidney to gain a screenplay or anything like that.  But maybe it’s time to drop a day of exercise and see what happens.  Go down to 4 or 5 days and play around with my diet. Throw in a light smoothie in place of dinner here and there.  (This does mean I’ll have to buy a blender.)  Purchase some Spanx and call it good.  Who knows.  Maybe I’ll have more energy in the long run.

I have to give it a shot.  My characters are moping about because I haven’t had them out to play.  I feel like a bad parent.  They want me to let them out, too.  Dick is straining to hold back sarcastic remarks; Priti’s nose twitches with my every peek into their world; and Adam and Rebecca sit next to each other, hands close but not touching, and wait to see in which direction I will nudge their cracked relationship.  But my desire to set my characters free and run around is not entirely present.  Almost there, but not quite.  Perhaps this rambling, go-nowhere blog entry will help me release whatever (bad writing maybe?) holding me back.

Anyone else have this happen?  Does the heaviness of everyday life (or your body) strip you of your desire to create for a period of time?  Any suggestions?

193 thoughts on “Stripped of My Desire to Create

  1. I feel your pain. Usually a trip to the art gallery can inspire me. If not, I give it up to the universe and crawl back into bed, hoping that tomorrow will be better. Be gentle with yourself, gracious even. And drink more wine😉

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    1. Thank you. The art gallery is a great idea. Now that I think of it, a trip to the observatory could also be inspiring. You have my wheels turning now. And I’m definitely into your wine suggestion. As in right now.

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    2. OMG yes! Ive been dealing with a total knee replacement at 53 and am also trying to lose weight. I feel like I’m searching for the old me and can’t find her. But all these years I’d been searching externally whereas now I think I need to look within even though I struggle to find myself there as well. Hugs:)

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  2. I can really relate to this post. Thanks for writing this.

    What really kills me creatively is when I stop to think about how guilty I feel when I haven’t worked on anything in a while.

    Something that helped me on my road to creative recovery that I hope will help you, is to set aside one afternoon a week (or morning, or evening) where you instruct everyone in your life that you’re not available to talk in that time frame.

    I had to change my availability at work so that I was unavailable Monday afternoons. I’ve told the people in my life not to contact me, and I shut my phone off in that time. Whether or not I write much of anything doesn’t matter. If I even get one sentence done, I don’t have to feel guilty the rest of the week that I didn’t work on anything. I also don’t have to feel guilty going out on a friday, because I know that MONDAY is always there for me.

    Wishing you the best,

    D.P.

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    1. Yes. The guilt. You nailed that one.

      I like the idea of blocking out time each week for writing only. No phone. No social networking. I have a teenager hanging around for a few more months. I should take advantage of this and have him watch the girl a couple times a week so I can escape into writing.

      Thank you, D.P.

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    2. D.P., your suggestions are wonderful. I have been trying to work out a bit of a schedule for a while now, but even just having part of one day without distractions will make a difference. I do know that I am much more productive when I wake up early to go for a run. No matter how much I want to stay in bed, I experience a wave of energy when I am out exercising, and that is one way I get in time for myself as well as time to process thoughts (although I may need to start taking a notepad with me to the park!). Best wishes!

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      1. Thanks! I’m also the most productive in the morning as soon as I wake up. My part time job unfortunately has me waking up at 3:40 am. Thus my Mondays just work for me the best. I’m very thankful my advice was somewhat helpful to you.

        Happy Writing~

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    3. I am so sorry that you are going through this hard time. I find that work can sometimes dim my creative spark as well. I will suggest something that i do from time to time, but you may have already tried it because it is nothing profound or unique and for that I apologize!
      When I am not “feeling it” I try to write an essay, book review, or movie review. This might get the sparks jumping and you don’t have to work that hard to come up with content!
      Best of luck– Jim

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      1. Actually, I’ve never considered trying to write any sort of a review, so it’s unique to me! It would certainly get my mind working in a different way. Thank you so much for suggesting it, Jim.

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  3. Yup. I’m there right now. I’ve only sat down to write three times in the last two months, and twice I just stood up and walked away.
    I am in the process of becoming unemployed, so I kinda know why, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I’ve never done any of this (I only started writing last year), so I don’t really have any suggestions. I’m just going to wait and see what happens.

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    1. I’m sorry to hear about your job situation. There were a few times I wondered what might be going on your neck of the world because your highly entertaining posts have been noticeably absent from the blogosphere.
      I’ll be thinking of you guys.

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  4. I was way more into my blog about two months ago too. Now I just write Bachelor recraps just to write something, but I too feel creatively stifled. Maybe it’s winter and the darkness? Or the high expectations that come from starting a new year? Who knows, but I found this post highly entertaining for a post about how you are suffering from writer’s block. Well done.

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  5. Everyday life is usually a big roadblock for me. I easily get overwhelmed with money, money=success, blah blah. Hope you get your mojo (is mojo masculine? Should I say Flojo?) back soon and breathe life into the characters inside your head.

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  6. Andrew

    I think every writer goes through a phase like this. It’s just a plateau, to use the fitness term (plus that’s just a fun world!). Perhaps once you break through you’ll find yourself even more creative than you thought possible.

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      1. stumbled upon the blog, and I can relate to it. The “muse jumping ship,” and the characters wanting fulfillment, and all at a time when your tank is empty. I’ve learned that sometimes empty is good, at least in my case, and now i feel the tank filling up again. Seeing your post makes me know i’m not alone, and helps the tank fill faster. When ‘m full and ready, i know the muse will come back of her own accord(not wanting to miss out on something good and fail to have her hand in it), and characters will be even more patient because they know i am ready to flesh out their lives. Dajuan Harris aka Robert Storm

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  7. It is winter time and I am sure that you muse has just moved to warmer climes instead of staying a freezing…unless of course you live in a place where it is eternally warm, then the muse has probably gone somewhere cold. I think we all have creativity lulls and it hurts when it happens. Hang in there, I’m sure that something will change very soon.😀

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  8. I feel your creative working mama in search of her past behind pain. It’s hard to do it all. But you know that. I usually do exactly what you did when I don’t know what to do…I write myself out of the dead end. Additionally (sounds so formal, I know), I consider writing a kind of ‘practice’, so i try and do it daily, but not for very long, and with pretty low expectations. Just write something, a little bit each day, that way your anxiety will go down and you’ll feel like a good mom again (to your fictional characters). Generally, I try to do the writing in the morning before the day of work drains all my life away. Good luck!!!

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      1. Not exactly, but I’m getting a few Girl Scout Cookies in my belly. Not, er, the sort of thing I should confess since I’m attempting to watch my diet. Oh well. Perhaps I’ll get a spark from the sugar rush? If not, this weekend looks to be spectacular weather-wise, which means plenty of outdoor time and sunshine. Always boosts me. Does it you?

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  9. I very much relate to your description of what your job does to you. Working in a corporate environment leaves me feeling depleted at the day’s end. It sucks the creativity right out of me. I sit in silence for a while when I get home and hope for the best. Some nights, it works. Some nights, it doesn’t. I’ve learned to just go with the flow. Nice article.

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  10. Well, at least you’re blogging. Keeps the writing spirit alive, even at times it feels like crawling along a sidewalk, rather than in the meadow.

    Yes, I totally agree: business of earning money is sucks muse-energy big time. Hope you find stuff to de-stress and relook at your world anew each day. That’s why I bike to and from work. It reinvigorates my senses.

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  11. I’m sorry your muse jumped ship. On the plus side though, the fact that your daughter is learning to read and speak other languages so young might give her an advantage later in life. Perhaps even scholarships, so you can pay less for college.
    Also, I’d recommend just sitting down in front of your computer your next lunch break and just write while you work. You might just find yourself finding your muse again.

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  12. Yep, sometimes Life just sucks all the inspiration and creativity from your soul and can leave you feeling rather empty. It’s frustrating. But when I feel that “emptiness” – kind of melodramatic – I make myself write. It comes out as crap, but at least I’m writing. And most of the time, it gets the ball rolling. Most of the time.

    Otherwise, I try to scrape the ground for a muse😛

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  13. I would love to be a parent one day. I have held off because I also value being myself. It is easy to give adice without having the same barriers but your kids will benefit if you take time for yourself and your own projects and learn from your successes and failures. I look forward to reading about your progress!

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  14. It’s been almost the same for me. I conquered NaNoWriMo for 2012, and was feeling quite creative….and then it all just vanished. But then, I had some personal things to work through, in leaving my long-time full-time job and starting a part-time job, plus my mental illnesses reared their ugly heads once more….which, for me, was all actually sort of traumatizing, so no wonder the muse flew south.

    Like you, I’ve been putting on my physical and mental well-being first, at least since the middle of last month. Even though I felt it was selfish of me to do so, everyone I’ve talked to has told me that, no, that was the right thing to have done. I’ve made changes to my diet; I walk a lot more, both at and away from work (stairs are wonderful things, really); I intend to get a new bike in the next month; and also within the next month, I will most likely be back on some sort of medication to manage my mental illnesses (as I made the mistake of thinking I was better off without it).

    I have also started other projects to spark my creativity – I’m taking guitar lessons; I’ll be starting singing lessons this week; and I carry my camera with me everywhere now, as I see photos everywhere. I’m also trying to read more, too.

    And I’ve found the writing energy is coming back, slowly but surely. I’m ready to first and foremost try to tackle a story I’ve been nurturing since early 2010….and then see what happens.

    Do keep blogging – another blogger I read says it has helped their writing immensely, for the same reason you gave – that it gets out some ‘bad writing’ or thoughts that are holding them back. And I would say to try with the physical changes you mentioned.

    I really like your blog, by the way, and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. In fact, it’s the picture of Slim Goodbody which got my attention. His was a show we watched all the time in elementary school, but I’d honestly thought after all these years that I’d simply imagined him. Nope, guess not! Good to know! (Egad, sorry for the rambling there; don’t want to seem off-putting.)

    Good luck to you!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Our physical and mental well-being affects us so much more than we realize. I’m happy to hear that you’re taking steps toward a healthier you and, in turn, sparking your creativity. Fresh air, music, literature, photography– those things also inspire me and make me feel alive. I wish you all the luck with your progress.

      P.S. I also remembered Slim Goodbody from elementary school. I was both intrigued and repulsed by him.

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  15. Writing is a habit, a muscle you develop by exercising regularly. It’s no different than other muscles. Sometimes it will be inspired, sometimes it won’t. When it’s not inspired, you are learning technique, how to produce, how to keep going. I don’t for a second believe you have to publish it all, or even most of what you write. That post a day, write a novel in a month stuff does not produce quality. BUT, it can help develop your ability to get the self-reflection, which goes on all the time even if you aren’t aware of it, into sentences that can live in the world and be read by others.

    I write for a couple of hours every morning, 7 days a week. 90% of it is running laps, but something fun or sad or more honest than usual will unexpectedly pop up in the middle of it. I pick up that nugget, polish it, and if it still shines a couple of days later, I’ll post it. I also have longer work that I’m writing a couple of pages at a time. I don’t even know where that will end up.

    You also have to have experiences, live your life, or you won’t have things of great interest to write about. Sometimes what you do when not writing will take up all your time and energy, and that’s FINE! Better than fine. Experience things deeply. Let everything in. When you get back to writing, you’ll remember.

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    1. Thank you. You’re absolutely correct. Practice is key. My writing was fluid when I was tapping on the keyboard or scribbling in a notebook on a daily basis. It’s far more difficult now that I’ve been out of practice. However, I trust that once I place my backside in the chair and rededicate myself to the craft, the creativity will flow once again.

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  16. Dear Michelle,
    Bully on you for even the attempt at bodily change. And the giving up of the writing may have been a way of figuring out how important what task was. I have two thoughts to give. I lost my baby weight when he was seven only by eschewing white flour and white sugar (exercising had only gotten my heart and calves in shape). And upon losing the size and starting to fit into 10’s, I became pregnant…at 45. I have a blog which is my excuse to write. And what I’ve decided is that I will allow for the baby and the blog/me to shuffle together, And they’ll just progress at a slower pace, growing and being as is humanly possible. I hope that you find support with your blog and your readership. And something breaks in a good way.
    Love,
    Shalagh

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    1. Shalagh, thank you so much for popping by. It’s difficult to try to have it all, isn’t it? We have to figure out where we want to compromise with ourselves and perhaps shuffle around our priorities. I have to admit, I think that having a pre-schooler just as I’m turning 40 is difficult enough. I couldn’t imagine starting again in another five years. You have my utmost admiration!

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  17. You speak to me! I think I am only capable of focussing on just a few things at a time. Exercise. Diet. Creativity. Yard work. Something usually has to give, and usually it’s the writing. But kudos to you for keeping your relationship with your girl intact! She won’t always be little.

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  18. Writing is such a personal thing. I don’t think anyone knows where to find muses or how to keep them around. As for Adam and Rebecca, I would nudge them into an abusive relationship where they both beat eachother up. Though, I am a big fan of dark tragic stories….your muse may be more light-hearted.

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    1. You have me laughing aloud at the thought of these two characters beating the crap out of each other. My fight scenes would likely involve jelly beans and ping-pong paddles, so I do have a feeling my muse is a tad more light-hearted. Although, the idea of throwing something like that into my storyline (with the beans and paddles) has me smiling. Thanks.

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  19. My creative flow and just general happiness was on the fritz this week as well. That is, until this afternoon. Being female, it feels as though body issues are always present but in the last year and half I have started doing yoga and it has made all the difference in the world for my body, spirit and outlook on life. This evening it helped me release the judgments, fears and anxieties that had taken control this week and gave me the perspective and compassion I needed. I hope you find whatever it is that will work for you.

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    1. Honestly, I think that writing this last entry has helped tremendously. Sometimes I forget that there is a huge writing community just on WordPress alone, and talking about loss of desire/runaway muses can result in terrific feedback from all over the world.

      I also watched some Oscar movies and drank Pinot Noir this weekend.

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  20. I’m always amazed that the busier I am the more motivated I become about life’s passions. However, the moment butt meets chair…meh, I’ll do it another time. For me, I found that forcing myself to blend my creative life with my responsibilities was the only way I could keep myself motivated: finding ways to work photography into lunch breaks and in playing with the little ones. Don’t know how useful these words are (feel free to mutter discouraging words my way), I hope you find the driving force for your writing again. May you have simple pleasures and heartfelt joys.

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    1. Thank you. I used to write during my lunch hour, but I found that I would get into the groove and kick into high gear just about the time I needed to clock back in. Of course, at least I was doing something then, which is more than what I’m doing now…

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  21. I’m having the similar stripping experience since the past couple of years due to influence of people around me that I can’t just leave feeing responsible about

    But hey, regardless my deep depression when I read someone else’s pain and try to help them gives me an impression that I fixed some part of myself too. I also tend to play or listen to piano music; works like a charm

    I also noticed that eating fruit chocolate (sweet) and day-time sleeping can really help

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  22. I’ve definitely been there. I consider myself lucky because one of my good friends is a writer, as well. When I’m feeling particularly unmotivated he will give me a writing prompt and a due date. The idea is that he expects me to write X number of words in X amount of time. Quality isn’t normally the goal.

    When you force yourself to write for quantity rather than quality – particularly about random topics that you may not know a lot about or that you may not normally write about – then your mind is forced into a sort of creative state where you not only need to make it relevant to your own experience, but share that connection with others. Having a time limit and a word minimum helps force that creativity out of its shell.

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  23. I hear you…My work which involves writing uses up all my words so that I have no words left when I come home. Moreover, most nights I can’t get my ass off the couch to do much of anything let alone exercise – and I don’t even have children. I think your accomplishments are admirable – exercising and stimulating a child’s learning – wow. Maybe your creativity is just hibernating (and percolating) until the Spring thaw (figuratively speaking) and you just need to give yourself a break?

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    1. Thank you for the compliment. It’s mentally exhausting to know you could/should (?) do more, but can’t seem to summon the energy to meet those goals. You’re right. I think we all need to give ourselves a break every now and then.

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  24. Michael Polignano"

    My opinion is to give up writing for the time being. Focus on your kid who you are clearly crazy about, keep doing a good job at work, get sleep at night and leave the artistry to the artists.

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  25. Roshni

    I relate to your situation. Thanks to my present situation, I feel so uninspired and demotivated to blog/write something. To be honest, your post was something of an eye-opener. Great post, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

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  26. I just clicked to “Freshly Pressed” and was like “hey… i know her…” Congrats!!!

    Yes, I feel this way all the time. And I don’t even have a kid. I have no idea how parents find the time to balance everything, let alone have creativity leftover. If you figure it out, let me know!

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  27. Hi. I don’t have kids, but did just sit through a partial weekend with a five year old and couldn’t believe the energy that drained out of me. My workmates tell me this is normal for girls of that age. But I’m suggesting looking at your exercise regime. This year is also my year for getting my body back to something I remember from ye olde days. As a result, a bit of research is happening on how best to do that in a way that suits my life. A post I’m working on at the moment references a New York Times article claiming that four workouts a week may be better than six if weight loss is part of the goal. I’m sure you can find the NYT article online. I can’t yet attest to the success or failure of the claim, but offer it as a possibility … and as a way of justifying some writing time. All the best.

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    1. I think you’re correct about the article. I kept thinking I would just work out more frequently until I met my goal and then cut down to 4 days, but I’m nixing that idea and cutting back now. If it takes me longer to lose, so be it. I’d rather have that time to relax and open myself back up to writing. Thanks, Cherrie.

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  28. Where are you? If you are in the Bay Area or NYC there are always creative events going on, e.g., artists in residence at museums and galleries. That always refreshes me when I’m in a creative funk. Or just go to an open space with your girl and watch her watch the wonders of nature.

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    1. I’m in the middle of the desert, surrounded by casinos. Not exactly inspiring. However, there are fantastic National Parks (Zion, Bryce) to the north and as soon as she stops running off at whim, we’re hiking.

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      1. Casinos no good but the desert is awesome for contemplation. When you are alone with nature out in the desert, creativity sparks –well the colors and what seems to some like nothingness, soothes and renews me. I’m talking Utah and Joshua Tree. I know you must have some of that in your desert!

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      2. It’s about an 1 1/2 hr drive, so it takes a bit of planning. I used to take my son all the time when he was little & he loved it, but my daughter is the escape artist & there are far too many drop-offs to let her wander far. I’d have to purchase one of those kid backpack leashes.

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  29. It is my experience that writing begets writing so you’re well on the way to veritable volumes of verbosity. However, if pain persists, South African born Australian Bryce Courtenay (The Power of One) passed away in Canberra just before Christmas and in one of his last interviews, in answer to what accounted for his long list of bestsellers, answered, “bum-glue”. Considering the deathbed element in this quotation I’m inclined to trust his sagacity.

    This advice carries an added benefit to dieters – if you’re sitting on it, who’s to know?

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  30. Pingback: Figuring Out | Thinkingg Out Loud

  31. I feel you! Am at the point where am also struggling to drop down a few dress sizes, and am cranky as hell. I wake up at 5am to beat the body into shape (I can never find the energy to do so in the evening) and it’s a vicious cycle because by the time I settle down to scribble at night, am nodding off over my notepad:-). But hey, let’s keep trying!

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  32. And you still managed to write this delightfully eloquent post?

    It’s people like you that give people like me a bad name. And I encourage you to stop it, please. I like basking in my lazy blubber without this sort of shit making me feel guilty. I should be free to actively pursue a perfect portrait of laziness if I so desire, without your self-deprecating hullaballoo reminding me that this is the case.

    You’re a lawyer, aren’t you? Or an investment banker? Working 80 hours a week, raising a kid, baking delicious smelling cookies without a properly working oven, and writing works of fiction that would put Eugenides to shame in the hair fractured gaps that comprise your spare time? Yeah, well, like, whatever. Poop head.

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  33. This is my first visit… and i must say I do like the way you write… and it is nice to know that the voices in my head do not sound to much different from everyone elses. I hope you find your muse I will be following and would love to read more. I have to challenge myself from time to time to get out of a slump… maybe something different.

    Find something new that can give you that “I just fell in love again feeling” that makes you want to explore and do more… just a thought…

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  34. I have felt your pain…and you put it so eloquently above. I am a writer and a musician and there are days, hell weeks….no months (!) when the spark leaves you. Work can suck the life from you and leave you a shell. Even during those precious weekends when all you want to do is create – there’s nothing left in the gas tank.
    However, from experience, if its inside you – the spark always comes back when you least expect it – from the smallest of inspirations.

    Like you I battle constantly with how I can cut back my job to make time for what I believe I was really meant to do and give myself that mental space. I have to believe that there is a solution and that I will find it.

    Unfortunately, sometimes all you can do is cling to the carousel until the good part comes round again.

    I’m rooting for you!

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    1. You nailed it, Panda. Especially with your weekend comment. I keep thinking that it’s the weekends when I can make it matter, but it’s actually in the small, seemingly insignificant bits of time throughout the week. We can’t wait for the time to be given to us. We have to steal it and run.

      Like

  35. Your life sounds exhausting — who could have additional time or energy? I write for a living and blog and have two NF book ideas an agent has been waiting months for my proposals on. Sigh. I don’t even have kids or a nasty corporate job, but I am also trying to shed a lot of weight. One element people forget is that we have only so much willpower and self-discipline — and dieting/changing lifelong eating (and drinking) habits sucks up a lot of it. Add in a FT job and a kid and exercise…How about just getting some sleep?!

    It is overwhelming trying to do several things well at the same time. The challenge is what to let go of, and for how long.

    Like

    1. Exactly. What to let go of and for how long is the key.
      Have you read The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal? She discusses at great length the limits of our willpower and how we have to exercise it like a muscle to help prevent burn-out. It’s an excellent book. Obviously one I need to re-read.

      Like

  36. PensAleas

    Sometimes just reading classic novels, listening to the music you love, watching good movies, and enormous amounts of patience help you write something at the most unexpected of times, everyone has lack of inspiration now and then, the important thing is to never give up, eventually she meets you again.

    Like

  37. hallowedbier

    In my case, it’s a career choice that has affected whatever creativity I had managed to cultivate. Spending around eleven hours in going to the university, taking my classes and reaching back home and then at the very least three more to work through the lectures sends me to sleep.

    Like

  38. Creativity funks are awful…
    Every once in a while I get to travel, and that really helps. I noticed a lot of other readers suggested that you escape for a day, which seems like a good idea. Self reflection in a fresh, beautiful environment is definitely inspiring.

    This was the first post from you that I’ve read so far, and I really connected with it. I just hope that your mind becomes reinvigorated so I can continue to enjoy your writing. Good Luck!

    Like

  39. I’ve totally had this problem- and have it often, but I’m slowly learning ways to call back the muse when she’s giving me the silent treatment. I am very lucky to be in the company of a few published writers at this time in my life and they gave be a different perspective on the idea of the muse. They say she is always there rather than it being a matter of blessing a few in a dramatic epiphany. But, we have to show up to find her and re-train ourselves to hear her. Essentially, write every day on a schedule even if it’s just crafting one good sentence. It’s really hard for the first week and if you’re like me, you’ll hate everything you write for a while. Then all of a sudden it comes back, but it takes as much discipline as working out (I also just had to lose a bunch of weight, and got to know Jillian through my t.v. and it hurt!) Also, check out the new Poets and Writers magazine for this month, they have a great article on parenting and writing. Love the blog.Good luck and take care.

    -Meri

    Like

    1. Thanks, Meri. I will definitely check out the article. I appreciate all of the solid advice everyone gives. A repetitive theme is: stick your backside in a chair and write. Just write. It’s a lot like exercise, yes? Get out the door, even when you don’t feel like it, and do something because every little bit you do helps carve a new path. Show up, do the work, and you’ll see the change. It may take time, but you will see it.

      Like

  40. So, maybe this comment is a little far down for anyone to read, but I would just like to say to you, expect your muse to return. She will. My life has an unfortunate habit of getting in my way. (for example I took 13 months to write 7 professional exams – all my spare time devoted to studying). And it was exhausting. But you know what? My stories, my ideas, my muse, they were all there for me to return to when I was ready. When I had the time to let my ideas breathe. I kept notes if I had an idea while I was busy, but in the end, my brain was working on them. So when I did sit down to write, they were ready to go. So, do yourself a favour, and take the pressure and the guilt off yourself. A creative spirit never dies, but it does go into hiding when it needs to replenish.

    Like

    1. Thank you. Something I noticed is that when I tell myself, “I have to write,” my voice is silenced. When I tell myself, “I want to write,” the world opens. I have to stop thinking that I *must* do it and simply let it flow.

      Like

  41. You have written a nice pantomime article here that really depicts what takes our desire to value and create in life away. To laugh at the obscure oppressions that visit us daily is to concur in life… Hey, your trailer is like mine! I wish mine was in an open field instead of a trailer park lost somewhere in the lost middle class of Los Angeles… Beat the Hay, Find the Needle, Pop the Ballon and be Free! Love This.

    Like

  42. I had full intentions of writing a wonderful, thought provoking comment, but was so distracted by your Mr. Good Body picture (in a good way) I had to instantly Google him and completely forgot what I wanted to say. I do know I want to say this…THANK YOU for posting that picture. When I was in elementary school in upstate NY if it was raining or snowing and we couldn’t go outside for recess our teacher would play episodes of Mr. Good Body or The Price is Right (now that I think about it, it is very weird to show the price is right to a group of 5 year olds). Thank you for the trip down memory lane!

    Like

  43. Yeehah! Nothing quite like getting freshly pressed for writing about how you can’t write anymore! Congratulations. I hope it cures what’s ailing you.
    When I commented earlier, I must have done something odd, because I get an update every time you get a new comment- I’m trying not to turn green with envy.
    PS if you get this comment twice, it’s just me failing to understand how computers work.

    Like

    1. What? Bizarre.
      By the way, congrats on your freshly pressed, too. I was so happy to see that particular documentary win the Oscar last night. You made me feel like I was somehow in on the secret, even though I wasn’t.

      Like

  44. Pingback: I Know What You Mean – Stacks and Ranges

  45. I enjoyed reading your post; the fact that you made time to write about not writing is a good sign! I’ll share a couple of thoughts with you: if you purely want to lose weight, look at what/when/how much you’re eating. Exercising a lot is great for your fitness and health but it doesn’t correlate necessarily to weight loss. One writing workshop teacher emphasized that you don’t need to carve out a large chunk of time to write. Even a few minutes everyday can feed the muse. A well-written tweet?

    Like

  46. pkemp924

    It happens to me all the time. By the time I get home I’m so stressed from the constant stream of interuptions I deal with at work, that all I want to do is hide.

    In my case, I’m not so much losing the creative spark as I am losing interest in doing writing as a whole and filling that spot with a new thing. I blame the ADHD for that, and its always been that way as long as I can remember.

    I’ll come back to it eventually, I always do. On again off again, it’s the ebb and flow of my creative tide.

    Like

  47. Reading this has instilled hope in me that one day, I will overcome my recent spell of diminished creative desire as well. Perhaps it is the dark winter days or my own corporate job routine causing the funk but either way, knowing that I’m not alone in this is curiously inspiring.

    Thank you for the beautiful post and best of luck!

    Like

  48. Absolutely! I just got out of a winter blues period, and, now, I feel like all that didn’t care about is everything that I should care about more. In other words, that hibernation period might have been necessary for me to grow in some way. Just like science says, energy cannot be created nor destroyed, just transferred. That’s how I like to see it; I am giving that spark a chance to help someone else out for a while. But, when it returns, I am oh so happy and all the more appreciative that I can experience it again. I hope this helps. Great post, by the way.

    Like

    1. I like your energy transference idea as it pertains to creativity. I use the same idea when talking about weight loss. If I drop weight, someone else gains, and vice versa. You might just be on to something… At least, it makes me feel a bit better about the process. Thanks!

      Like

  49. Wow, well I think you just blogging is a great way to get your creative juices flowing! Also have you read 4hr body? A great book to get you in shape quick, excellent diet and workout advice, less is more principle! Looking forward to your next post

    Like

  50. I can relate to this because I’ve been not having the creative spark to write since I recently decided to devote all my time with working since I finally got a job. When I get home I’m happy to be making money at a great place and finally getting a paycheck, but all I want to do is cook dinner, eat, and sleep a lot. I don’t know any suggestions to help, I feel for you!

    Like

  51. I can completely relate to this post – hence why as of this week I’ve kicked off my new healthy cooking blog. I felt the same way months ago and got ADDICTED to cooking and creating recipes. Search the web, and other blogs – you’ll be surprised that your creativity in writing can be used in other mediums.

    Like

  52. Congrats on being FPed! I can relate – and i don’t have an answer… i focus on one thing at the time – for a week or so it’s working out manically, then for couple of days it’s house work, then writing… i have no idea how to combine those though:/

    Like

  53. Pingback: Friday Favorites – Best Blog Articles of the Week | The Culture Monk

  54. It sounds like you truly DO just need to adjust your priorities. In your struggle for “perfection”… you’ve left “passion” outside in the rain.

    I’m a photographer. A very PASSIONATE and creative photographer… and most often, when those predictable slumps in creative energy show up… it’s invariably because I’ve let my “needs” and “ambition” overshadow my passion.

    Be happy!
    (omgoodness… WHO could be happy in a life without smoothies!?)

    Be passionate!
    (That passion is your spark)

    Do what makes you truly happy… and I’m fairly certain your weight, your finances, your beautiful daughter, your boss and most of all… your creativity… will all be righted.

    It’s an osmosis-thing. *wink*

    Like

  55. i’ve had this happen to me too, but eventually the muse just returns! hang in there! write other stuff for a while and enjoy the bad prose (if that’s what comes out(, it can be liberating😀

    Like

  56. hermittyme

    Maybe a new hobby could help, although it might not be obvious. I didn’t expect my new hobbies (sewing and ice skating, respectively) would have an impact on my progress in learning to drive, and also my piano playing. If you asked me to explain how, I doubt I’d be able to make much sense, only that somehow there was some kind of…a degree of parallel in my brain where between all these different things, something clicked, and each step of progress I achieved in my new hobbies enriched my other ones.

    I think a new hobby would enrich your life. It’s hot hard to think of one. You don’t even need to think. Just try one out. If you don’t enjoy it, try another one, and go on until you find something worth your time.

    Maybe this can help bost your creative engine

    Like

    1. I think you’re right. I used to play guitar quite a bit, but my practice went south when it was difficult to play 9 months preggers. After that, I simply became too busy and then I had to sell my guitar. I’d love to have it back again. Maybe that’s what is missing? My lovely guitar?

      Like

  57. The inspiration is like a wave- it comes and it goes. It never is a steady flow. Otherwise you wouln’t appreciate it. So, as with every wave, the tide will come again😉

    Like

  58. Pingback: Freshly Riffed 22: Snoring And Whoring | A VERY STRANGE PLACE

  59. I love the Brazilian Butt Lift!! I did it for 6 months, and my body was sick, like, I had ABS.

    But, if I spend 30-90 minutes with Leandro telling me to ‘touch my body’ and all that other hilarious nonsense he says, I can’t stay up until 1am making art.

    Life is about balance, says blabbety blah so and so, and I have yet to find it, so my abs are gone. Boo hoo. But I have made a ton of junk, so in that I am happy. I just turn off the lights when I have to see myself in the nude. It makes showering difficult, and shaving dangerous, but until I find my balance, that’s just what I gotta do.

    Like

    1. I’m going to adopt your “turn off the lights” decision. I like it. A lot. Because the art of finding balance eludes me, too.

      btw I read “touch my body” in Leandro’s voice. He cracks me up.

      Like

  60. Pingback: What I’ve made instead of exercising | peepsew

  61. Looks like you have a following of like souls who can’t muster up writing every now and then. I am a part of this. I dream of waking at 5:00 am, coffee brewing, notebook and pen in hand, but never. . . I do not step foot out of my bed until 6:30. Exactly one hour to get to work.

    After work, I’m spent – as you are. Weekend mornings are reserved for writing, but it’s inconsistant so writing doesn’t flow as if you are doing it on a regular basis.

    I’ve got to find a way to keep the pump primed because when I don’t write, I’m not being true to who I am.

    Like

  62. Great article and so on target! I feel your pain because responsibilities (especially corporate) can steal your creative juices. I am a writer and personal trainer, and I think that you will be surprised at how much success you will have in your body if you allow yourself days of rest – which will become days of creative writing.

    Sometimes we create so much stress in our lives that our bodies can’t keep up. Yoga has given been a great tool for me to learn about slowing down and doing more by doing less.

    Best wishes for success – you’re going to be alright! I look forward to more of your writings.

    Like

  63. I used to be in a relationship with a painter-musician. In addition to maintaining a long-distance relationship (there never was a discussion of changing locations for us since our work are bound to our locations), nurturing our various individual students and proteges, past personal baggages, demands of our daily lives, was the impetus to create and create more. He needs to paint so he can have more exhibits and gain commercial cred, and perform more to earn money; i need to write for work, and learn more theatre and movement to ground my youth counselling. He reached a point where he cannot paint authentically, and I reached a point where I cannot dance anymore. Although his decision to terminate our relationship in an effort to streamline and be creative again was a painful and devastating point for me, I do understand his quest for freedom.

    Which drives the point: creativity springs when we feel unbound and free, willing to collaborate with the visible and invisible muses. I’m not suggesting for you to let go of your earth-bound responsibilities, but perhaps a reflection of how you can regain a sense of freedom and un-inhibition, again? Regain your lightness of being?

    Being out of that relationship, to be fair, gave me the time I needed to dance again. There’s more sorrow to my movements, though, but I am hopeful I can dance lightly again.

    Like

    1. Holy shit.

      As I was driving to work today, the thought that I needed to “regain my lightness of being” dominated my brain. Not kidding.

      What’s even more interesting is that just yesterday I completed this “letting go” meditation process (which I will likely need to repeat a few times) in order to release the old relationship weight I still carry. I know it might sound hokey, but at this point, I’m desperate. The weight is holding me back from being mind-blowingly incredible (or at least slightly better than I am now).

      Like

      1. Relationship weight is the heaviest, and the hardest to get rid off.

        My current recipe for regaining balance consist of weekly yoga and pilates classes, daily meditations (even just the one-minute, perk-me-up ones), and reiki sessions from a friend. Journaling helps as well. And sweating out, a lot. I still have moments where I feel numb and paralysed, but I am excited to being mind-blowingly incredible and balanced again. One sweaty, physical session at a time.

        I pray for you to regain your lightness of being as well.

        PS. Congratulations for being Freshly Pressed; I found your moving piece because of it.:)

        Like

  64. Pingback: Truly Open Once Again | michelle stodden

  65. Reblogged this on Michelle Stodden and commented:

    Reblog. Though I prefer to call it “recycling.”

    Here’s the kicker: I actually feel the complete opposite now than when I wrote this piece. I awake energized and I am thrilled to develop my creative projects every day. Finally! Yes.

    However, I don’t always feel the desire to create and I assume many other people don’t as well. Perhaps some of the suggestions in the comments will spark a fire.

    Like

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