Friday, December 21, 2012

On writing avoidance - part 1

Having just taken up my blog in earnest again, I am hoping to build a good habit and be here every day. Which is, of course, what I should be doing with my writing, too. Once upon a time, I wrote every single day (or nearly so). I blogged that often, too. Hell, sometimes I blogged multiple times a day, if the spirit moved me. And then, sometime last year, I stopped. Stopped writing daily. Stopped blogging anything approaching regularly.

It coincided with unpleasant life events, such as my divorce, which started in early April last year, and a flare of my rheumatoid arthritis, which came along in the early fall. It also coincided with terrific life events, including S's graduation from high school in June and departure for college in August of 2011 and my then-burgeoning relationship with my sweetheart, which has been a tremendous gift.

I've been wondering how much "credit" each or any of those events deserve for the fall-off in my writing. Some of my recent rumination leading up to my blog renewal has to do with some theories of creativity that I've read about, including the notion that some people can only write when they are depressed, but not when they're happy. (The theory is one of many found in the discredited-but-still-good book Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer, who seems to have his thrown his career away by fabricating Bob Dylan quotes for the book.)

See, for the past several years leading up to my divorce decision last spring, I'd been unhappy in my marriage, and in recent years I was definitely upset by my ex-husband's battle with lymphoma (fortunately, he is still cancer-free - he's a great guy, even if I didn't want to stay married to him). One of my ways of dealing with those stresses and unhappinesses was to throw myself into my writing, be it poetry, picture books, novels or blogs. Since I don't have another full-time job, I essentially created one for myself to hide in. And I was good at it.

But once the divorce decision was made last spring, I felt like a weight had been lifted. And when, later in the year, I ended up finding the love of my life, well . . . let's just say, I really found happiness. Maybe it's a coincidence that my writing fell off, but in light of that theory in Lehrer's book, I have been wondering lately if that might play into it. Did I write as a way of avoidance? Well, yes. But was it the only reason? I don't really think so.

I have come to the conclusion that Lehrer might have been onto something with the theory that some people write better when depressed than when happy. But what I really think is that with all the changes that took place last year - my husband moving out, S moving to Charleston to attend college, M getting her license, me having a new significant other, etc. - I fell out of the habit. I adopted a new routine, and a new schedule, and I realized only recently that I never made a concerted effort to carve out writing time and space in my new (happier, shinier) life.

So today marks a big step for me. Two days in a row here at my blog, yammering at you about stuff you may or may not be interested in. Because when I was writing regularly, I was blogging regularly. And blogging is writing, after all. So I'm starting with the blogging, in hopes that I can make the REAL writing follow. So consider yourselves warned: there's more yammering to come.
I'd really love to know, though, whether you've experienced something similar to my situation in your own creative life, and what worked (or works) for you in getting started up again. Kiva - loans that change lives

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