Hi everyone! I’m co-hosting Finish the Sentence Friday this week, along with Kristi Campbell, Kerri Ames, Kelly McKenzie, and Anna Fitfunner. I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but I’ve been MIA for the last few weeks. Since January 28th, I’ve only posted one blog, and that was a late post I wrote for Kerri, about PACS1. I don’t really feel I can claim credit for writing it, since most of the text was written in Kerrie’s words. I’m a bit anxious about this post, because I’ve been out of practice and in a writing funk. It’s true what they say, writing is a discipline and you must practice it daily.
I’ve locked myself in the office (which has recently been purged – more on that in the future) and lit my favorite candle. Kid Rock’s new album is softly (kind of an oxymoron, no?) playing in the background. I’m hoping to conjure up some mojo, to write about the cost of…
AN HOUR LATER:
I got nothing. How sad is that? Zilch, nada. This is particularly embarrassing because guess who came up with this week’s sentence? Yes, yours truly! What was I thinking? Is there anything more uncomfortable to talk/write about than money? I could go on about how expensive it is to raise kids, but you already know that. I could further explain that multiplying that number by four kids produces an exorbitant number, but one could point out that it was my choice to have four kids. Then I thought about the cost of having a special needs child, but it felt like whining and that’s not my thing. And the number would shock you –we’ve been down way too many autism rabbit holes.
Travel, road trips in particular, can be quite costly. Yet as expensive as it can be, I consider it to be money well spent. So that particular topic wouldn’t work for this sentence. In anticipation of this summer’s road trip, we’ve been cutting back and staying home to save money. Believe it or not, staying home comes at an expense – food, entertainment and internet shopping that’s done in moments of boredom. Still, not enough for an essay.
I could address the expenditures of home improvement or health care, but really, that’s playing with fire. I may not have done a lot of writing in the last few weeks, but I’ve still been reading. I’ve witnessed more than one blogger write something that they believed was an innocuous personal opinion or recommendation, and consequently was burned at the stake by readers. No thank you.
I believe that my lack of writing is tied to my winter funk. I don’t do well in cold weather or with gray skies. And taking care of the children – all of whom have had the flu over the past month, was hard. I’m tired and maybe a bit sad. I long for sunshine, warm weather and adventures. Too much time cooped up in the house gets the wheels in my brain turning. And anyone who knows me will agree that too much thinking is not good for me. To shake myself out of my Seasonal Affect Disorder, I’ve contemplated some grand self-improvement plans. Well guess what? Self-improvement costs a hell of a lot of coin! And let’s face it, if I wrote about how much it costs for me to beat the winter blues, well that would just be narcissistic.
What to write, what to write…
THE NEXT DAY:
I’m still unable to zero in on a topic, and I apologize to those of you who are also struggling with this week’s sentence. I’m not sure if it’s the sentence or ME. This may be reaching, but what about this: “I can’t believe how much it costs to not write.” Obviously, I’m not talking cold hard cash, because let’s face it, my writing certainly does not produce an epic income stream – far from it. But writing does provide me with an outlet and some cheap therapy. I don’t share a lot of what I write. Lucky you, because a fair amount of what I write is crap, a way of venting or blowing off stream. Or it’s too personal. And that’s what I think might be at play here. The personal factor. It’s no secret to us bloggers that when we get personal, raw, and real, we get the most attention (whether we are seeking it or not). I have struggled with this quite a bit. I’m so afraid to really open up, for fear of judgment, backlash, or plain old pity, so I avoid it. But recently I did take a leap of faith and bleed on the page by writing two very personal essays, one of which was published and one of which is still in limbo.
I’ve been wondering if the emotional toll it took to write and share those essays has affected my writing. Does that make sense? Combine that trepidation with the flu (me), a house full of sick kids, and weeks of cold temps and gray skies, and well, you have the perfect storm to not write. I had to cancel my Listen to Your Mother audition, because I had a 102 degree fever. I also missed the #1000Speeak for Compassion link up. I couldn’t come up with one example of compassion to write about! I actually feel shame over that one, because my life is full of compassion. I read beautiful posts written by my friends and felt unworthy.
I also read snarky, cruel comments from readers about a litany of topics and felt sick to my stomach and wondered, what’s the point?
Rather than write and take risks, I read. I read a ton, and listened to quite a few audio books. In the last two months I’ve consumed 24 books and it was heaven. And only two of them were for reviews, which was even more liberating. I started to wonder if I should try writing fiction again, but that’s all I did, was wonder. Every time I sat down at the computer, I froze.
I recently watched the podcast (is that what you call it?) of Anne Lamott and Kelly Corrigan and had an aha moment. Oh Anne Lamott, you are the queen of my aha moments. As she did in Bird by Bird (one of my all-time favorite reads), she extolled the importance of doing the work and writing crappy first drafts. Just write, just write, just write. It’s so simple. The more we write, the better we get. I know this! This has been the longest stretch I’ve gone without writing in years. Even when I’m on the road, I write. Writing makes me happy and all I have to do to remember is type, even if it is a crappy first draft. When I get in the “zone,” I experience something similar to a runner’s high. It’s exercise for my soul. The cost of not writing, even as immeasurable as it is, is too great.
Keep calm and write on!
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence, “I can’t believe how much it costs to…” I’m cohosting this week, along with my friends Kristi, Kelly and Anna. Please click on the links below to read their posts.
Kristi of Finding Ninee
Kerri of Diagnosed and Still Oaky
Kelly of Just Typikel
Anna of Fitfunner