197. motivation and writer’s block
This past Sunday at house church I got prayed for. At first I was just going to submit a simple prayer request and then be on my way but it became a more formal time of laying on of hands and being anointed. My prayer request was basically about my writing. I initially asked for a kind of validation of my writing by someone in the established writing world – basically what I was asking for was some kind of comment about my writing by someone who’s been published or someone who works for a publishing house or an editor or an agent…just someone who could tell me if I really have something to offer or if I’m just another vestigial appendage hanging off of the blogospherus maximus.
But Pastor Blake (don’t tell him I called him that) said “shine that, we’re not praying for that.” And what he meant was that I should write anyway, with or without anyone’s “professional” opinion. Instead, they prayed for encouragement and inspiration. And they prayed that I would find writing groups or mentors because what I really need is some guidance and advice. And it was super cool of them to pray for those things for me. And we’ve seen some pretty cool answered prayers in the past and I’m hoping that the prayers my friends lifted up on my behalf found favor with God because I really do need some motivation.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about how I’ve somehow ended up at a place in my life where I don’t really care about getting a girlfriend or finding a wife. And I wrote about how, in the past, this quest for love and relationship was the one thing that was near and dear to my heart, and it was the one unquenchable fire, the one passion that could lift and inspire me or crush and depress me. But now that I’m content as a single person, there’s nothing left to fuel my writing.
And now I feel unmotivated. But I have come to understand something that had perplexed me for quite some time.
This newfound understanding has to do with people who suffer from bipolar disorder. There are medications that they can take to balance out their serotonin levels and that allows them to function on a more even keel. However, there are many cases where patients stop taking their meds because, among other things, they miss the euphoric fits of mania as well as the dark, dank lows of depression. Better to feel something rather than nothing at all.
Until recently, I could never understand why someone would want to stop taking their meds, knowing it would leave them open to debilitating levels of depression. And I’m not on any such medication, but I think I can kind of understand why they stop. Because…because I’m having a hard time remembering the last time I was really, truly excited about something, and it’s also been something like four or five months since I’ve felt really bummed about anything. And maybe that sounds like a blissful, Zen-like paradise to some but for me it feels like…well, that’s the problem – it doesn’t feel like anything at all. And if this lack of emotion was the result of some kind of pill that I was taking, I’d probably stop taking it.
I don’t know, maybe I’m being overly dramatic about all of this. Maybe this is just another episode of plain ol’ writers block and all this talk about not feeling anything and serotonin levels is just me blowing smoke up my ass (“how the hell do you do that?”). All I know is, it’s been very hard to get myself to write anything lately. I mean, even now as I’m writing this, it’s like I have to purposefully will the words to the page as opposed to times when the juices are really flowing and words are falling from the sky faster than I can paste them to the page.
In the past when the words were elusive, I would just blow it off and not write. But to be honest, I feel like I have something of an audience now and I feel like I don’t want to disappoint. And I don’t know if that’s pride or if that’s some strange kind of accountability, but there it is. And I’m glad because in the end, even when it’s hard and when it feels unnatural and forced, I still like to write.
Just because I can.