Friday, December 14, 2012

A Confession

The last time I really enjoyed writing was in January when I did the month of poetry. Since then every word has had to be painfully extracted. Even these sentences are staggering from my fingers. There is no flow. I feel like I have developed a stutter, like I just can't get the words out. I feel like I have fallen out of love with writing. No, I feel like writing has fallen out of love with me.

I have whole novels that I am carrying around in my head, novels I feel convinced could be beautiful books, but the lines drop down on the page and clatter. I have no voices. No one is whispering in my ear. Sometimes I push through and write anyway, but still the voice doesn't come. Sometimes I wait but the waiting is hard and painful...what if I wait forever? Shouldn't I just sit down and get it done? I sit down, but it doesn't get done.

I have written words – thirty thousand of them in fact – spread among two novels this year. One complete, but wrong, but broken, and I look at it, poor broken thing and can't even begin to fix it. I am making little lives and then abandoning them half done, a neglectful god.

Oh yes, I know. I hear you. I have a two year old. But I have two year olds before, and pregnancies and breastfeeding and night weaning and tiredness and competing priorities and distraction and yet the voices never left me before.

I remind myself that writer's block can be a form of depression. I go to see a psychologist just in case. After three visits I am fairly sure I am not actually depressed. Tired sometimes. Struggling a little, could end up there if I don't implement strategies. But I am pretty sure I'm not chemically, clinically sad.

I just can't write.

The psychologist says, what would happen if you took time off writing? And I think, but then I am just a mother. Then I am just a really crappy housewife. Ah, she says. Ah, you say. Ah, I think. How telling. But I don't want to take time off, not really. What I want is the voices back. I miss them.

Even this blog lies empty.


  1. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Last night I was counselling someone very close to me who was distraught at her lack of achievement, her inability to do what she wants to, the loss of creativity...I can only say to you what I said to her - that life is not always something you can control, it's something you live, and if the big things aren't working, take real comfort from smaller things and don't mount a campaign of remorse and guilt against yourself. Your counsellor is right - what if you took time off writing and did some living - and then you'll have fuel for when that spark does (as I promise it will) reignite. xA

  2. I know what you mean about 'just a mother' without writing. Very much so. Hugs, Penni.

  3. Frangipani10:15 PM

    uLBI'm so glad you've blogged again. Are you going to do the poetry challenge next year? Thinking of you lots

  4. I have had times like this dear Penni. They pass. Think of them as your fallow period. Read instead and enjoy long walks with your children. Those voices will come when you are not trying too hard to hear them. Xxx

  5. I have felt the same way all year. I don't know why; the words just stopped and I haven't felt able to make anything work. I think maybe I need to find ways to make it fun again.

    I hope you find your voice again soon, you of the lovely words.

  6. Hoping for the best for you and the Russonsens. That voice is gonna come back for sure.

  7. Maria1:03 AM

    Hi Penni, it's been a long time since we were in touch. For what it's worth, I have written masses of music this year and now I have no more energy and no more notes or voices. I am exhausted, depressed and anxious. I don't want to write another piece for a while, I want a break. You did the right thing by checking it out. I am sure your voices will come back. Give yourself a break, you probably just need some rest! Merry Christmas to you and yours. Maria xx

  8. It's in the stars. Me. My friends. Speak up and the people feeling the same way will come and you'll be surprised. I was. And I thought I was going mad. But I'm not. I am just going... moving... pushing through. We all are, really, I've decided. Keep going. It's swings and roundabouts, hon. That's what I hold onto.

  9. I love the way you write Penni. Your other voices might be on holidays but I hear your voice your blog, same as it always was. It's a voice that I find poignant and relaxing and comforting to read. Even writing about things being off or wrong somehow, you still manage to put together words and phrases that are beautiful; your lovely voice.