Dear You: When You're Not Inspired


Dear You,

I know. Sometimes, the well just seems to be sucked completely dry. Like the Sahara Desert, or like the exact opposite of you 5 minutes into a hot yoga class (or any yoga class, really). Sometimes it seems like the well’s never going to have even a tiny drop in it ever again, even though this has happened before and it always fills back up…eventually.

You know that this happens, that it’s just part of the process, that sometimes that gap just dips lower than you ever expected from time to time. You know this, and yet, some little voice in the back of your mind is whispering but what if this time is the last time? What if this time it lasts forever?

So what are you going to do?

Are you going to just give in and stop even checking the well periodically? Every day, at least? Are you going to wander off, slink away, try to forget the well even existed?

That sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

Except you know you’ll never be able to truly leave the well, or forget it. You know if you walk away now, you’ll always wonder. And you know that the longer you try to leave, or the farther you go, the harder it’ll be if and when you come back. You know, even though it sucks in the moment, that the best course is to stay close and keep trying. Day after day after day.

So you faithfully keep it up, every day. You squeeze out the bare minimum, see if you can get the tiniest of drops. Then you move on with your day. You try other things, other creative practices, to see if that sort of parallel activity triggers something. You try to find just the right soundtrack to help your thoughts flow smoothest. You look around your space, trying to figure out what you should move or take out or add that might get things going again. You find new podcasts to listen to, blogs to read, books to skim, anything that might spark anything.

You keep putting in the work. The bare minimum. You move around. You get fresh air. You drink tea. You try new recipes, wonder if by improving your diet, maybe you’ll improve your creativity. You try to get enough sleep. You read different books. You try journaling. You come up with new goals, new benchmarks, new ways to keep yourself on track. You even give meditating a shot.

You take a different route when you walk your dog, hoping it’ll get you thinking in new ways. You try to keep your phone in your pocket. You stop yourself from mindlessly checking Instagram and Pinterest — or try to, at least. You find yourself seeking out list after list of prompts “guaranteed” to get you writing when you’re stuck. You read everything you can find about what other writers, writers you love and admire, writers you’ve never heard of, writers you haven’t really read but want to, what all of them do to beat “writer’s block.” You think about how many (but not all) of them seem to agree that what amateurs call “writer’s block” is really just laziness or lack of discipline. You wonder if you have what it takes to go from amateur to professional.

You keep writing. Every day. You take a deep breath and turn to a fresh page or open a new document and close your eyes and get something out. Most of it isn’t good. Most of it is pretty bad, and you know that. Every day, you turn the filled page or close the document and move on. You trust the process and keep the faith.