Sometimes the Words Aren’t There

I’ve been having trouble writing. No difficulties with ideas as it seems there are dozens of things that grab me and hold me in the moment, making me think, “Ah, yes, I want to paint this in words.” But the moment I sit down to do something with an idea it either remains frustratingly close at hand, bowling me over with emotion, yet granting me not even the plainest of words to preserve it, or it flutters away entirely.

This may be even more frustrating than lacking ideas. I’m toppling over with things to say, and the outlet I use to say them is broken.

Erin Coughlin Hollowell wrote a post on this a few weeks ago, or at least about her own version of this feeling. She mentioned something that rings very true for me as well when she said “I need to be able to drop into that deep quiet where my poems come from. That deep quiet has been very elusive.”

That quiet has found its own island away from me and forgot to leave behind a plane ticket so I could follow. There’s been so much going on the last couple of months that even though I have wanted to write, sometimes even desperately, I just haven’t been able to put anything worthwhile to page. My head has been wrapped up in car troubles and financial troubles and job troubles and health troubles and very not in tune with pretty words. Unfortunately.

What is fortunate is the fact that many of those things seem to have either straightened themselves out or are well on their way toward doing so. I’ll keep trying to write and maybe I’ll find my words again soon.

Erin also linked to another post within her blog, a recent one by poet Ada Limón, and I think it is a fantastic read for any writer, but especially poets. It is worth a few minutes of your day to look it over. For now though, there is one particular quote I want to share from that post, and these are the words I will leave you with for today:

“I suddenly feel like there should be a permission slip for writers. Something you can sign for someone that says, “You don’t always have to write. You have permission to just be in the world and grieve and laugh and live and do your damn laundry.”


5 thoughts on “Sometimes the Words Aren’t There

    • Agreed! I did a bit of that this weekend, just jotting down thoughts and sometimes rewriting thoughts that seemed like they might actually go somewhere. Didn’t get me very far (yet), but it did allow for focused time that I was working on things!

  1. I am struggling with this too at the moment. I haven’t had any creative energy since November. I really think my brain is just too noisy at the moment to handle the “indulgence” of creative thought. With so many real world issues clamoring for my attention, the stories just dissipate out into the ether, and I find myself dreading opening any project to get some more words in. I’m hoping a forced absence from the writing will have the opposite effect of making me want to write. We’ll see!

    • You have been given a permission slip not to write and instead do your damn laundry… in the sense of the quote from my post. 😉 Perhaps you’re just filling the bucket with all sorts of fodder to feed into new stories and you don’t even know it yet!

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