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Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Struggle is Real Week 7: Refilling the Well



Nicole, why didn’t you put your toys away when I asked you to?”

“I meant to, Grandma, but…”

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions, young lady.”


I had a lot of conversations like that with my Grandma growing up.  If you were raised Catholic or had an Irish grandma, you may have heard similar phrases.  The sky was always falling.  Everything was doom and gloom.  Everything led to hell and everyone, it seemed, was headed there “in a handbasket”.

Even those of us who failed to put away our toys. 

I never fully understood that phrase, but the words did leave me with the lasting image of a foggy night and a dark winding road leading up to towering iron gates where a flashing neon sign featured a character that looked suspiciously like the creature on the Underwood Potted Meat label. 

This past week those words have echoed in my brain.  Good intentions. Road to hell.  

Well I don’t think not hitting my writing goals for the fourth straight week in a row will lead to hell (Grandma, I’m sure, would disagree).  But when I realized that my own thinking was becoming clouded with doom and gloom and negativity I wondered if those things weren’t impacting my writing.  The words are there, but the most important part—the butt in chair part—was not. 

I actually had a scene come at me—as they tend to do when we least expect it—full force a week or so back that I could not wait to sit down and write.  Yet I still haven’t done it.  No reason why other than me just not taking the time.  Yes I am still as busy as ever.  Yes I am still focusing on work.  But why didn’t I do it? 

Then I remembered a phrase a dear friend used to use.  “Fill that well up again”.  She was talking about writing and trying to write when “the well has run dry.” Sometimes, she would say, we need to do non writing things --watch movies, read, take a walk--to motivate ourselves to want to write again.

 Could that be it?  All the issues I’ve had these past few weeks, could it just be that in spite of the muse being alive and well and tossing ideas at me, the writing well needs a bit of ... water?

So I have been doing a lot of reading.  Not on my phone, the old fashioned kind of reading with an actual book. Not just to inspire my muse, but to inspire me to want to write again.  Last night’s rare balmy February temperatures found me tucked into bed with the window cracked open, happily reading by the glow of a booklight like I did when I was a kid.  And today I am feeling much closer to my characters and more motivated.  

And even though Mother Nature has taken away the warm breezes and sent us reminders (by way of damp, chilly rain) that it’s still winter, I am really looking forward to reading again tonight. 

If you are still with me this far in, I appreciate your time.  And I apologize for the late blog.  I just couldn’t find a way to say—yet again—that I failed to meet my goals. 

But on the outside chance you are struggling, too, here I am to remind you that it’s not just you, and it’s not just me.  Making the time and finding the time are two different things.  And sometimes we sabotage ourselves.  And sometimes we fall short of the goals we set for ourselves time and time gain.  

1 comment:

Sarita Leone said...

I love this, Nicole. The image of your Grandma staring at scattered toys makes me smile. And the humanity of refilling the well...I absolutely believe it's necessary to show ourselves that grace. I've bumped into a writing wall many times, and I've learned that the best thing I can do is to just walk away. Fill my heart and mind with other things. I think it makes the muse jealous, LOL, when I ignore her ignoring me! I'm sure that once your well is refilled, you'll write that scene. And I'm absolutely looking forward to reading it when it hits the bookshelves!

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