I keep writing and then erasing. Writing and then erasing again. I can’t decide what to say–what tone I want to take, what feeling I want to express. This has been a heavy and happy and sad time for me and my family. I am surprised by the spectrum of emotions that I can have in the course of a day (or an hour, or a minute).

I don’t feel like writing very much. i knew I wouldn’t feel like it even before I had the baby but it’s worse than I anticipated. It’s like my writing energy has been zapped away and even when I have time, I can’t make myself sit down and create.

And I still have some small revisions to do.

And just before this baby came and all the other things that have been happening, writing had been my lifeline. It kept me sane and it felt like I had boundless energy to do it. Now . . . I feel empty.

What do you do when you feel empty?

Even when you know writing, pushing through the emptiness, will get you through?

What makes your MC feel empty? What gets them through?

Why is life so hard?

And so good?

And so horrible?

And so funny?

And so confusing?

I think writing a memoir is a good idea. I also think writing our lives is a good idea. I think we should always write our lives. It does come out in our fiction–the questions, the pain, the joys, etc.–but I don’t think that’s enough. We need to write our histories. We need to write down the things that keep us up at night, the things that make us cry, the things make us laugh our faces off. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to our children and we owe it to all people who need stories. True stories. Real stories. Our stories.


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6 responses to “Stories

  1. Kim

    I felt the same, like my writing energy had been sapped away, after both of my last two pregnancies. I wish I’d done what you’re doing, writing and erasing. I think I would’ve got my energy back faster, even though it’s hard to write when you feel that emptiness and you aren’t sure which choices to make. I’m coming out of that empty feeling, and it feels so good. I’m sure you’ll come out of it, too. I’m sorry it’s hard right now.

  2. CLW

    It’s not just having Sam. Actually, I think it’s all the other stuff.

    I pride myself in being able to write no matter what. But lately, since there’s been no place for me to take my family to, I find my creativity going to answering these questions: Where do I take my kids? Where do I put my mother? Where will I go? Should I take everything to a storage unit now? Should I wait? What about the conference? Will we be homeless when the conference starts? All living in different places?

    There is no creative energy when certain things happen. So take this time to just breathe, Ann Dee. That’s what I would do. Enjoy the first 6-8 weeks and visit your mom and let us watch the boys.

  3. Having my cancer recur and going through chemo again has done the same thing to me. I cannot write stories. Can’t make myself and have no desire to do so. Can barely write a few emails. Is this one of those times when we all need to say…this too shall pass?

  4. benschwensch

    I agree, “debandjane”—I just went through another cancer thing after 25 years clean; finished radiation in January. I’m still struggling to make myself write. Blogs are good. I’ve been doing a lot of those. I think it’s the short pieces, the (hopefully) helping other writers with the more mundane aspects of writing—and NOT having to draw exclusively on my “imagination,” which is a little spent. It’ll come back. It will have to.

  5. In WRITING LIFE STORIES, Bill Roorbach’s first chapter is titled Getting Started and his first question is “Why is it so hard to sit down and write?”
    The quote by William Styron answers the question beautifully: “I certainly don’t (enjoy writing). I get a fine warm feeling when I’m doing well, but that pleasure is pretty much negated by the pain of getting started each day. Let’s face it, writing is hell.”
    My suggestion in my plain language is for you to begin a diary. Fill it with whatever strikes you as needing to be said. Complain all you want. List your anger. Underline or use capitals if it feels right. Do whatever fits your mood at that moment. You might want to hide it. Or laugh at it. Or even cry a little—a lot? What! Ever!
    And when you feel like reading, grab Bill’s book. I’m enjoying it. But save your writing—it just might be the beginning of your memoir.

  6. i am supposed to be packing for girls camp and going to walmart to get all the stuff i need at 11pm but instead i realized i am way behind on reading this blog and i am realizing how much i’ve missed. i’m sorry. i love you and carol and i’m sorry things are so hard and that you feel empty. carol’s right sometimes you just have to take time to breathe. and cuddle that beautiful baby. the writing will come back. let’s run some more together. i loved that.


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