I found time today to watch Jennifer Louden chat around “What is the story you’re telling your creative self?” She offers thought-provoking journaling prompts in all her works, including today’s, but this one had me shaking my head and wryly laughing.

Roughly paraphrased, she asked listeners to first identify one creative desire/thing you want to do. Knowing that, she asked us then to, when we make a choice that gets in the way of that desire, notice the story in our head. For maybe a week. And that’s it–she’s very particular about not “fixing” or kicking off self-improvement projects during observation times.

So far in 2017, I have been not-writing. Though as far as I can tell I do still desire to write here daily. And here’s why I laughed at myself–

I didn’t have to wait and observe. I’ve already noted the story reeling off as I’ve chosen to not-write at any given juncture–even before the break.

“I don’t have anything to say. My brain is empty.”

Which on its face makes no sense. It’s not like this blog is about anything in particular. Nor is my mind ever actually quiet. In fact, I continue to have snippets and threads that I could begin to stitch with.

But I haven’t been. And even recognizing the absurdity of the story, I haven’t been (a) writing or (b) finding a more convincing…or more accurate? story.

So if you thought I wasn’t here because I was having more fun elsewhere, that’s not true. Nor can I pin my absence on Other People inadvertently blocking my routines–though this one is my favorite excuse to myself. Now that I’ve followed the ‘what gives?!’ trail this far, I could be feeling empty because in the past few weeks I haven’t read anything that made me wrestle. (Capital keeps being set aside for a quieter time-!) But mostly I don’t know. Don’t know why I needed a vacation, don’t know why I haven’t come back.

Maybe telling this story aloud will be enough to set it behind me.

4 thoughts on “Empty-headed

    1. So where is the balance between work and rest when it comes to habits of work? Or is this merely the mental equivalent of the first week of swimming after the post-season lull–every muscle strains, but experience shows that the strain fades ever-faster?

  1. I think it’s more the latter. You were exercising a different part of your brain muscle but you gave it a vacation. Now it’s difficult to get back to the ‘pool’ so to speak. 🙂

  2. “I’ve tried taking breaks to focus on work and save money, but I have to keep creative momentum going or I lose it. It’s not like a heavyweight fighter can take six months off between fights. They have to stay in shape to be successful.” –musician Michael Booher, quoted in “Musician Employment Service of Austin,” _The Austin Chronicle_, January 27, 2017 issue.

    So the analogy is sound. Creating requires training-practice, like sport. Sigh!

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