I’m going through a lull. A lull where I’m not as creative, where when I want to write the ideas don’t come to me. A couple weeks ago, I had a bazillion ideas for blog posts for here, for Civil War Fangirl, for historygeekweb, and for A Book A Week. Now? The ideas are still there but getting them from mind to the blog is a challenge. My focus is gone, my mind is fuzzy. Mind you, it’s not as bad as it has been and the fact I’m writing this now means I must be coming out of this slum I’m in.
At least I hope I am.
Blame it on anxiety, depression and ADD (although ADD also helps me be a creative person except when I get creative and the ADD kicks in, it causes me to hyper focus and I forget about other things, like the adult things I have to do in life. The simple task of putting away laundry can take me a few days. That’s a whole other story though). Blame it on lack of sleep. Blame is on the humid weather we had last week.
Or maybe…this is just me…
I’ve been through this before. It’s a cycle with me. I know I’ll come out of it eventually. The thing is, each time this happens, I’m starting to embrace it more as me. I’ve come to realize that those creative periods I go through, need to be embraced. And I can’t kick myself when I go into a lull. I have to see the lull as a time to rest.
Because guess what?
I probably do need to rest. I need a break.
And you know what?
That is okay.
At one point a week and a half ago, it was after midnight and I was staring at McClellan’s screen (McClellan is what I call my laptop. It’s after General George B. McClellan of the Civil War. If you’re into the Civil War, you’ll get it. My MacBook has a severe case of “the slows” and I’m contemplating replacing it with a General Grant soon. More Civil War humor). I forced myself to write two pages. And it wasn’t any good.
My thought when I read it back to myself was what Pickett said to General Lee after the ill-fated Picket’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg:
“I have no division…”
I had lost my creative flow, and here I was likening it to a famous Civil War battle. Leave it to me, the Civil War Fangirl, to do just that.
I went to bed feeling horrible, I woke up feeling horrible, still feeling like I had no division, and realized that I can’t force myself to write two pages a day if the ideas aren’t there. It’s not fair on myself because I won’t be happy with what I’ve done. Of course, that was when the downward cycle began. Suddenly, it was people are going to be disappointed in me, I’ve been doing so much writing lately and all of a sudden, nothing! I have to do this, I have to do that…
…except I have no damned division…
I took a break. I had to. And up until a few days ago, I was really kicking myself for being in this lull still.
But hey, I’ve managed to write this entry and I don’t know if it makes sense, but I wrote. And I feel better having written this down. I even managed to get the Civil War in there somehow.
The other thing I’ve learned in this lull? That I am not the type of writer that can force the ideas. I can’t say “two pages a day” because my writing suffers and suddenly, I start not enjoying it. The last thing I want is to lose my passion for writing.
I feel this lull has taught me a valuable lesson and that’s the silver lining in all of this.
I slowly feel as thought I’m gaining my division back, that I can hear General Reynold’s voice in my mind saying “Forward! For God’s sake, forward!”. That’s the other thing: going forward. It’s like General Chamberlain on Little Round Top. He couldn’t go back, he could only fix bayonets and go forward.
I’ve come to realize that being my authentic self means I will go through periods where I’m not creative, and that’s okay. That when I am creative, I’ll embrace it and write. And on days I’m not? There’s a silver lining in that too. Those are the days I need to grab a good book, play some Tetris, go for a walk, or binge watch “Hell On Wheels” (Cullen Bohannon can usually help turn even the worst day around).
To me, that is still going forward. Being negative about being in a lull and putting myself down is NOT good. And it is certainly not going forward.
Don’t kick yourself too hard when you go into some sort of lull. Really look at why you may be in that lull. You may just need a day or two.
And hey, that’s okay. Take the time you need.
Live an authentic day.