There is a leaden feeling that overtakes me as I think about the last couple of weeks, during which my blog has been absent of posts. I see people, over this period, noticing, as they check my blog, that there’s nothing there, and then maybe coming back every few days, and once again seeing nothing. Finally, of course, I see them giving up, and moving on to the billions of other websites that are out there.
It is not that the words aren’t there. It is that the drive isn’t there.
For reasons that I won’t get into, this is a tough time in my life. As I said, the specifics really don’t matter, because everyone has specifics when times are tough, but the general result, for everyone is the same: the times are tough.
It is a wearing thing, going through tough times. Things that were sources of strength and energy—in my case, writing and playing the guitar—become things that collect dust. This then leads to feeling worse about the fact that I haven’t done these things. Which makes me feel worse, which makes me not write or play guitar, which makes me feel even worse, and away I go, down the rabbit hole.
In the past, I’ve written about what it is to write when the desire isn’t there. It’s been a while, though, since I’ve known what it is to write when the energy isn’t there. There’s a general feeling of enervation, of not even being able to take much satisfaction in the things that I produce. It is, right now, more than ever, simply something that I do.
Which is why I do it.
Right now, this doesn’t just feel like typing out one word after another. It instead feels like mowing the lawn on a day that I have absolutely no desire to mow the lawn, nor the energy to do so, a day where I’d rather stay in bed and sleep. It is fighting against the feeling of having nothing to write about, having no desire to write, and above all, lacking the energy and the ability to feel even the slightest sense of satisfaction over having written anything.
It’s definitely a time in which the stick is far more effective than the carrot. No, there will not be satisfaction when I’m done writing this…but there will at least not be the miserable feeling of not having written anything. No, there will not be satisfaction when I play the guitar, but there will at least not be the miserable feeling of not having played anything.
So perhaps there was actually something good in not posting anything for the last few weeks, however dubious that good thing was. In that time, I came to see that it is an absolutely miserable feeling to not post something for a while, and to not play my guitar. With that said, I know that these posts will, for a time, be nothing more than a series of words that I post, words in which someone will read the first paragraph, and probably say “that’s quite enough, thank you very much.”
But at least the words will be there. At least the chords will be there. It may not make me particularly happy, and it may not fill me with a deep feeling of satisfaction.
It also may cause my friend Joe to call me up and say “are you okay,” something that he often does when I write blog posts such as this one. To Joe, I say: yeah, I’m okay. There’s a difference between being on the ledge and simply sitting in a room, looking out the window and saying “aw, geez…I gotta mow the lawn.”
Yep, I gotta mow the lawn. Might not be the most satisfying or gratifying endeavor, but at least next week the yard won’t be overgrown.