That’s how I felt about writing today.
As I opened my laptop this evening to write something – anything – I realized that my heart just wasn’t in it.
I’m still struggling with yesterday’s news, and the struggle has seriously impaired my enthusiasm for writing.
Tragedy has a way of stealing the joy from every area of your daily life, to the point that you don’t want to do much of anything for a while.
It tends to lock you in place, and threatens to hold you there.
You lose focus, and begin to dwell on the loss, the sadness, the pointlessness of it all.
I did a bit of that today, and in the midst of my funk, I couldn’t find a good reason to write.
Then I thought about what helped me through yesterday.
Yesterday I wrote about the loss of my friend, and while it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever written, it was also an incredible catharsis. I’m one of those people who tend to bottle their grief – I stuff it down deep and soldier on, regardless of how painful the loss may be. As a result, I often find it difficult later to express my feelings about loss – and I end up never getting it out. I’m sure psychologists have a fancy syndrome named specifically for this behavior, but then I’ve never been overly impressed with psychologists.
All I know is that writing about my friend yesterday helped me to grieve his passing. It allowed me to order my thoughts, reflect, and (I sincerely hope) honor his memory in some small way.
In a situation like that, it can help to express yourself through your craft, even when practicing your craft is the last thing on your mind.
I know my friend would not want me to stop living, stop creating – stop enjoying life.
So I won’t.
Even when I feel completely drained, I’ll find ways to keep moving forward; ways to fill up the emptiness that life’s tragedies try to plant in me.
For me, writing is one way to fill that emptiness with something that may help someone else along the way.
Which makes it worth doing – even when my heart isn’t in it. Because what I write may help someone else come to terms with their loss, or dreams, or joy. Keeping my writing bottled up is just as unhealthy for me as bottling up my grief.
Letting the grief out makes room for joy to come back.
Letting your writing out may help bring that joy to someone else.
So let it out.
The ability to push through even when we don’t feel like it, even when we are beaten, is the thing that creates greatness. It is certainly a difficult thing to do. But if we do not do it, we are succumbing to inhuman forces: emotions or senses.
What separates us from the animals is that ability to overcome those emotions and senses, to fight them off and do what needs to be done.
Kudos to you for pushing through during this tough time.
Another thing that separates us from animals – moral support from friends. Thanks for the kind words, Ernie.