The wonder-filled life of a single older-ish mom.

Back in the Sandbox

With summer officially over, I face the fact that—just like last summer—I gave my writing the silent treatment. I posted no blogs, which is doom and gloom because the publishing industry experts all say that if you want get your book published you’ve got to have a lot of followers and you don’t get followers if you don’t put stuff out there for people to find. And follow.

So I default to flogging myself with brutal mental beatings, chastising my lack of commitment and creativity. Then, sufficiently battered, I switch to allowing excuses to whine their way in—”but I’ve had a lot of clients,” blahdee blahbitty blah.

But if I’m honest with myself, I’ll fess up that I’ve felt stuck, voiceless, and when I’ve tried to write the words feel stiff. I start thinking about the followers, and can’t imagine I have anything of value to add to the din of voices out there vying for cyber attention. So I hide and don’t write, and I forget that this doesn’t need to be such serious business. I forget that my intention when I began Rawe-Struck was to be raw, and full of wonder, and that if even just one person felt a “me too!” connection with what I put out there, that would be enough.

I forget how playing with words lights me up. And I stop playing when I become self-concious about who’s watching.

I think about what I would tell Nina if she strayed from a practice she loved doing. The answer comes simply and clearly, “Just begin again.” I would advise her not to waste anymore time paralyzing herself with self-woven restraints of guilt or worry about what other people think. I would tell her to jump in and rediscover the joy of why she wanted to do that thing in the first place. Just begin again.

I would tell her that sometimes we lose sight of our path, and spend day after day poking about in the weeds. And a lot of fast-talking should-experts live in those weeds. We scurry around in circles with them for awhile, and figure we’ll get back on path someday.

I might tell her about this time right now, when I forgot about why I loved writing, and that my “someday” became a season. And that I realized that was ok. I’ll tell her I had the courage to return and this time—because I thought of how I would talk to myself if I were talking to her—I said, “Welcome back!” instead of “It’s about time, loser.”

I’ll tell her I even said to myself, “You’re right on time, sweet-cheeks. Now get back in that sandbox of words and play!”


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10 thoughts on “Back in the Sandbox

  1. Just beautiful. We all have our things that it’s hard to re-start. But so worth it when we do. You are an amazing writer, and that book must come out. We need it 😉 One thing I learned from my co-author about that doubting voice we all have. He taught me that when that distructive doubter voice creeps up, you imagine him on your shoulder and say, “oh you again, aren’t you cute. Well you can sit there, but I’m going to write anyway.”

  2. Thank you, Karin…my forever roommate in the dorm of lifelong learning, maltballs included. I love your perspective, and still shake my head that it’s taken this long to learn that I have more power than that crazy critic on my shoulder. But now I’ll add the “aren’t you cute” line. And, I’ve started another blog based on one of yours from Lets Grow Leaders about explicit vs. implicit language when it comes to what we expect … with others, with ourselves. Thank you for the sparks, as always.

  3. Mary Boyd on said:

    Lovely. Keep playing, and stay illuminated!


  4. Sue Beckley on said:

    Keep writing dear Amy! You are good!
    Aunt Suze

  5. I’m in awe at your constant sense of wonder and am your eternal “me too!” follower, Bella. Here’s a big hug, and a bigger, “Welcome Back!” XooX

  6. Great post
    Truly from the heart. I admire that

  7. That really is a great learning ….inspiring ….Trust yourself 🙂

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