I stared at my computer screen for 30 minutes yesterday willing some kind of creativity to flow out of me and into my novel.
Instead I got up and did the laundry.
I sat back down and stared for another 20 minutes–on and off while scrolling through social media. I prayed for the words to come…
And then I got up and dusted the furniture in the front room, rearranging to fit my new cabinet.
I sat back down and stared for another 10 minutes or so, then got up and broke in the yoga mat for a workout (something I really don’t enjoy) hoping that the endorphins would spark something.
You would think that school being closed, stay at home orders enacted and social isolation (thank you COVID-19) would give me the time I needed to work on my writing so I could actually get something done.
Instead, it has dried up a well that had just started flowing. It feels a little like life has been paused, which makes it difficult to find the motivation for things I *should* be doing. However, during this time I have learned a lot about myself and my writing that I didn’t quite understand before, but feel like I’m getting a handle on now (2 weeks down).
This is nothing new–going back to Campbell and the quest I started last month–all journeys must reach a crisis moment where the quester (anyone notice that quester is a part of sequestered? Is there a connection there? Not sure…think there should be…) feels defeated. That feels like an appropriate description for my creative juices during this time of uncertainty. And probably why until yesterday I hadn’t written a word on my novel (or blog, or even morning pages) even though I’ve had gobs and gobs of time.
I never realized how much inspiration and motivation I pulled into my writing just by being around humans–forget interacting with them, just being around them is often enough. I will go to Starbucks, or Panera and just sit for hours with my earbuds in–sometimes listening to music, but often listening to the life going on around me and it feeds my soul.
Two days ago I went with my roommate to pick up dinner we’d ordered and we drove past Panera–it was all closed up and the tables pushed to the side and completely deserted…and that hit me harder than a lot of other things during this time. It felt like a representation of my mind. Closed and cluttered with no real production happening.
Avoiding the purpose I know is mine.
What a depressing image. And it definitely felt a little like defeat.
However, as we all know for the quest to be successful, though, the quester (sequestered?) must rise above this crisis moment if they want to obtain the treasure they seek–in my case, a finished novel.
So I took a shower, put on some music, and just started typing. It wasn’t good, but I can go back and polish it later. The point is, I pushed through that defeated feeling–which is what it was, a feeling, not a reality–and got to 40,000 words yesterday.
Sometimes all we need is a little perspective shift to rise above the crises in our lives. That doesn’t mean everything will magically be better or OK, but it can lead to a more positive attitude when facing difficult and unforeseen circumstances, be it a widely spreading virus or kool-aid spilled on the hard drive that housed the only copy of your burgeoning novel (yes, that happened to me in 6th grade–still can’t talk about it…it’s just too raw!).
Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but by lack of purpose and direction.Viktor Frankl–Holocaust survivor
It’s not easy to choose positivity over the uncertainties, isolations, and hopelessness that life throws at us, but when we do, bad situations become temporary, and the end of the world becomes an inspiration to push forward–no matter what.
Want to read a little of what I wrote? Keep scrolling and then leave some feedback in the comments or on the FACEBOOK 🙂 Please note this is very RAW so I would love help in making it SHINE
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 20
“This is one of those times where I understand why people carried handkerchiefs, but quite frankly I’ve always found the practice a little disgusting, so if you want a tissue we can—“
“Don’t worry about it,” Andi let out a nervous laugh as she reached across the passenger’s seat to the glove box and pulled out a travel pack of tissue. “I think handkerchiefs are pretty gross too, but I keep prepared. It’s been a pretty emotional couple of years.”
“I’ll say,” Garrick sighed again, wishing he could rewind time and make the last year and half less stressful. Hell, if he could do that he would rewind it so that Andi and Greg never ended up together—though, that’s what Bryce had tried to do and it hadn’t turned out that well for their friendship. “This is a perfect Romans 8:28 kind of situation,” he said more to himself than to Andi.
“What?” She wrinkled her nose and studied him. Over the past year she’d done a lot of Bible reading, but her knowledge was severely limited in comparison to Garrick’s. She hadn’t grown up in church and Bible verses weren’t as imprinted for her as they were for him.
“Romans 8:28,” he said patiently. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” He pushed back a lock of her hair, smoothing out the worry lines on her forehead. “Everything you’ve been through sucks, Andi. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it hurts me that I couldn’t protect you from all of it. I was just thinking about how if we could turn back time we could just change all of it, but that’s not how life works—and that’s kind of questioning God’s role in all of it, isn’t it?”
Andi pulled back. “You think God let all this happen to me on purpose?”
Garrick clicked his tongue, and turned those words over in his mind before responding. “Not exactly. God is in control over everything, right?”
She nodded slowly, but the frown deepened.
“But, because he gave us humans free will, our actions still have consequences, both good and bad. Our choices don’t limit his control or power or authority, which I think is why the verse reads the way it does—all things for together for good—not that everything is good, or perfect, because we live in a world filled with sin and bad things are going to happen. Even to beautiful souls,” he rubbed his thumb along her cheek again, never breaking eye contact. “So it’s not that I think God ‘let’ this happen to you, but He will take it and work it out for good and for His purpose, since you accepted Him as your savior. Do I think life will suddenly be filled with nothing but sunshine and rainbows? Of course not, but I do think the more we seek Him in this, the more evident His hand will become.”
“So,” she swallowed. “You think instead of wishing none of this ever happened we should ask God to show us how he’s going to work it for good?”
Garrick’s mouth twisted into a half smile and he nodded. “Something like that. I came to terms with that recently myself.”
“Lorelai?” Andi nodded even as she asked.
“Yeah,” Garrick picked up Andi’s hand from here it rested in her lap. He turned it over so her palm faced upward and traced the lines with his index finger. “You may think the Lord has forgotten you, that He is far from you, but remember Andrea Cartier, he has engraved you on the palms of his hands. Nothing this world can throw at you will thwart the plans he has for you.”
A shiver ran down his spine as the words he spoke raced across his own circumstance, and he nodded his understanding to the Lord speaking to him in this moment with the woman he desperately loved.
“Thank you,” Andi whispered. “I don’t know how you do it, but sometimes you know exactly what to say—“
“Wasn’t me,” Garrick shook his head. “I needed to hear it as much as you did, Andi. He knew,” he nodded to the sky above, looking up.
Andi followed his gaze.
“Thank you,” she whispered, and this time, Garrick knew she wasn’t speaking to him.