Why Writing is Hard When Your Life’s in Transition

Just gonna nap for a few, K?

Just gonna nap for a few, K?

For the past two-ish weeks, I’ve woken up with the intention of writing something new here, only to be immediately overwhelmed by vague anxiety whose source I couldn’t quite place. Life itself, though busy, is going relatively well, so there weren’t any obvious dark patches I could point to and say, “Aha, that’s why you’re consumed by having NOTHING to say.” My writing routine hasn’t changed either—I continue to go through the same motions, my fingers proverbially crossed, with the hope that if I just keep following my own footsteps, words that are not awful will eventually come. Spoiler alert: my attempts have been futile, leaving me with every writer’s worst nightmare—our, ahem, driest dream—the blank page with nothing but a flashing cursor to show for itself.

I tried not to dwell on it, which was cute for a day or so, until trying to be someone I’m not (someone who doesn’t overthink everything) became too tedious. Concern from family and friends didn’t help, with my mother asking why I’ve “gone dark online” in the manner of someone finding a suicide note. With my period of denial since complete, I’ve hypothesized very unscientifically about why I couldn’t, or, frankly, still can’t, get it up for you guys.

There’s the busy card, which is valid, but it’s the special brand of busy—one ushered in by some major life transitions—that matters here. Moving, searching for a consistent job (read: having to actually visualize what I want my capital-C career to look like), trying on the whole self-love thing for size (and, you know, regardless of my size), reevaluating some old relationships and starting new ones. So much seems to be ending or beginning, with little straddling that more comfortable space in between.

The result? A lot of self-reflecting that’s not simply on the page, but which requires IRL decisions, too. That reality has created a not-so-cozy coat of pressure, and the constant sense that I might be doing something wrong. I simply can’t come to a lot of conclusions about my life, or life in general, right now—I’m tiptoeing at the end of a diving board with little to no knowledge about what awaits me at the bottom. This weird pill of uncertainty, excitement, and fear is one of the slowest to digest, and seems to leave little energy or brain-space for any imaginative pairing of words and ideas.

There’s less safety in the new, and, with it, a sudden preference for self-protection over endless personal divulgence. For now, what I’m thinking and feeling feels more at home resting in my head, where it can untangle itself on it’s own terms as it adapts to new people and places. It’s messy up there and that mess feels pretty shy—less than confident in any of its conclusions and hoping to ride them all out a bit first (to simply live) before imparting any attempts at sense or wisdom to a wider audience.

This realization hasn’t made it feel any less unusual—it’s as if I’ve been walking around for two weeks without pants. I miss waking up with too much to say, and feeling so capable with a few words or a phrase. But I also sense that it’s a really great thing for me, this not being able to reframe my reality or find something like deeper meaning in the most mundane moments. I just can’t do that right now—it’s not a “control” I currently have, and, as my ugh-they’re-right parents have often told me, c’est la vie, so I better get used to it.

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