Guarding the family Jewels

Pulling Hair

Another week, another Watercooler Wednesday post.


I’ve heard them all before:

             Pressure makes diamonds.

        The heat refines the metal.

               Oaks grow strong in contrary winds. 

But if you’re like me and sometimes throw some gasoline on the fire, and a few elephants on your load, this post is for you. 

Last week was crazy. I won’t bore you with the details – it’s just that typical mix of things I had to do, things I wanted to do, and things I never should have said yes to. 

It was a rough week. 

I discerned just how rough yesterday when I finally had a day off. An entire day to focus on writing, reading, and the creative expression I crave. I went to a local cafe and sat down with a bowl of coffee; computer plugged in, wifi a-humming… and all I could do was sit and stare at the screen. For hours.

It was sickening. 

It’s been a long time since I felt emptied of words, but it happened yesterday. What a strange feeling to want to write, to have time to write, even energy to write, but to feel so empty inside, so drained, that the words just wouldn’t come. Connections were impossible to correlate; ideas blended together into a mush of well-tenderized manure. I wasn’t tired, I was just empty. If you could have seen me, you might have thought it was Afternoon of the Dead, the newest Romero flick. It was pretty bad. 

One reason it was so bad is that I don’t believe in writer’s block. I just don’t believe it exists. I can always find some dribble to eek out onto paper, but yesterday wasn’t doing. I hit some kind of creative wall, and I hit it with both eyes bugging. 

I had gotten myself so stressed out, caffeinated up, and overly committed, that when the time was there to write, I found I had nothing left to give. 

I don’t mean to gripe. I mean to warn you.

If you are a person who craves creative expression, as I do, you need to guard your time. Wolves and sheep alike will crowd in and threaten to crowd out everything creative; the good stuff in life will crowd out the great; and even the seemingly necessary will prove, in the end, just another wolf wearing sheep’s clothes. 

If creative expression is important to you, guard it like a she-bear  (Insert whatever crazy she-bitch animal analogy you’d like. I said she-bear because I’d like to have more hair. Rhyming?! Look Ma! I’m a writer again!).

What can you do to avoid a week like mine?

     Say no to the excessive time with friends.

            Say no to the extra hours at work.

      Say no to the extra hobbies.

          Say no to the good, so you can say yes to the great. 

If it’s important to you, you’ve got to put your foot down.

And if you are a man reading this, I direct you to the title of this post…

                            Guard it like that!

Published in: on June 11, 2008 at 4:05 am  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great post, Scott! And that’s a great reminder too. I’ve been there before; often. I might even be there now. I do need to guard my time and spend it carefully on the things I know I’m made for. Thanks! :o)

  2. Heh. I hear ya.

  3. Man–I know this feeling all too well. Thanks for the post and the reminder that when I feel like this, there are others who feel like that too. I am not alone

  4. Sometimes I feel like I can only write when other pressures are closing in on me. It shouldn’t be like that. I live saying no to the good so you can say yes to the great, that’s awesome!

  5. I went through a similar time a few months ago. I’d turn on my computer, knowing I had to blog, and I’d just stare at it. I had nothing to say. Not an opinion. Nothing. And you’re right, I had spent so much time not guarding my time, that my creative side just shut down. I had a few suggestions from friends, like prayer and virtual bubble wrap popping sessions, but truly, what I needed most was rest, and psalms. I’ve relied on adrenaline for so long to be the final push I need to get the job done, that when the adrenaline and creativity dried up, I had no reserves to draw on. I am doing better with my time now, actually right on the verge of crossing the line again, but I’m aware of it and guarding what limited time I have left. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Good for you that you realized it. I can’t tell you how many MONTHS went by before I figured out why all my creativity had vanished…

  7. Too many hobbies is bad–Jack of all trades = master of none!

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