Stalled Pen

Just read Twistingthreads‘ post, “Deadlocked.” I sometimes find a piece of myself in the thoughts this blogger records. This particular post hit on my frustrations precisely, but for different reasons. I haven’t been writing fiction for weeks. I haven’t any real inclination to work on my story. This is insanely uncommon for me.

My husband lost his job a few weeks ago. We married while still in school. Even while maintaining a 4.0 GPA, this amazing guy worked to support us. He’s supported our family ever since. (And I’m going to stop there before this post becomes “Ode to My Husband, A Veritable Superman.”) So you see what’s at the crux of my Writer’s Block. Everything else (like the irritation I feel at myself for conforming to everyone and their dog’s blog advice for writing, to the point that my work is taking on the sheen of a Stepford wife) would fix itself but for this one issue.

So, what am I doing these days? At first, he and I were tag teaming filling out online applications. Now he’s got about fifteen hundred recruiters handling that side of things for him. (Okay, maybe that’s a hyperbolic estimate. It just feels like that.) When he was laid off, he asked if I could end the school year early. (We home educate, and I had 11 more days to go, according to my self-imposed schedule.) I knew he needed me, so we closed up shop. For the first week, I had records and textbooks and school shelves to clean out and pack up. Now that’s done, and I feel empty.

We had plans for the summer that have been either canceled or put on hold, one of which was my plan to send out a horde of queries to a list of agents I’ve been compiling. I’m in enough emotional turmoil that I don’t need to add the feelings of rejection about my manuscript to that, or, for that matter, my reactions to the initial correspondences that might lead to acceptance.

How do I describe what life is like right now… It’s like I’m in a vacuum experiencing overload. Some days I’m on a high, cleaning house like a maniac, completing the projects I couldn’t seem to get around to before, having long-overdue get-togethers with friends and family, finding ways to use all the canned goods that were shoved to the back of my pantry I bought and forgot about. Then there are the days I go fuzzy in the head and watch Korean drama until I can’t stand it and start manipulating the video to see if I can skip to where the guy is going to yank her by the arm into an embrace that looks about as comforting as hugging a dead fish.

I’ve not given up hope or anything here—about writing or about the job hunt. At present, I don’t know how to feel, or what to feel. It’s a dip in the road. I’m down in the valley, and can’t see the big picture yet. One day, I know I’ll look back and see the road behind me. The dip will hardly be visible, and I’ll be able to see why the direction we took was the right one. I have faith that God is seeing us through this transition. I have many, many proofs by the way some form of encouragement comes just when I need it most—and exactly the way I needed to know it. We have loving, concerned friends and strong family ties, not only physical but spiritual family ties. God is stretching out His hands to us through these avenues daily. Because of this, He’s answering a question I haven’t been able to voice these past few weeks. He’s letting me know that we didn’t do anything wrong. We weren’t being irresponsible or undependable. We were doing just what we were supposed to be doing, and these things are bound to happen in this economy.

I know it’s all going to work out. Right now, it’s taking everything I have just to be still and know God’s in charge. For some reason, that has stilled my pen, too.

Author: Rilla Z

I'm a scribbler. I'm genuine. My topics of interest are: this world, the worlds inside my head, and the world to come. Oh, and cups of tea. Yes, I write about my cups of tea.

10 thoughts on “Stalled Pen”

  1. I read twistingthreads’ post last night on my phone, and need to go back there now that I’m on computer and leave a little comment too. This blog-block stalled-pen deadlock seems to be going around. I’ve been particularly ultra non-productive on my blog lately, and have barely managed to get a little rewriting done on the fiction side. At least I’ve managed to be productive occasionally in other ways, perhaps kinda like your experience with cleaning house and such. I’ve been in the mood to be outside more frequently, so I get little yard projects done. This, of course, is a good thing. At least I’m not lying in bed day and night drowning in depression.

    I like the way you’re looking at it. Life is a cycle (huh, maybe that’s where they get that term, “life cycle”), both on a macro and micro scale, so I’m figuring for now I’ll just go with the flow and in a week or month or two, I’ll probably feel like writing more again. I know that’s no way to be a professional writer. But at least I can feel gratitude for what I’ve got all around, and that’s no small thing.

    Best of luck with your family job hunt and related matters. Let’s hang in there and see what happens. Maybe it’ll make a good blog post someday.


    1. I love what you said about feeling gratitude for what you’ve got. I can’t agree more. Yeah, for a writer the beauty of a struggle is in knowing it’ll make for good material later. 🙂 Thanks, Joe!


  2. Rilla –

    So glad to see a post from you! My husband and I went through a similar situation. It was so hard waiting and hoping for “that call,” that would bring a close to the job hunt and tight money situation.

    If you don’t mind I’ll keep you and your husband in my prayers! It sounds like you have a great attitude (although I know there are good and bad days) and know that this is just another season.




  3. I hope everything will soon fall into place again. Despite what some agents/editors would say, sometimes life takes priority over writing. We all have to do what we believe is right for us. And it sounds like you are doing that. Stay positive!


  4. I suspect our commonality is perfectionism. When we can’t do everything we want to do, we beat ourselves up, and we always think we should have more control than we do. It’s excellent that you’re cutting yourself some well deserved slack; when the world one knows feels as if it’s in a state of precarious flux the last thing one needs is their own self-condemnation. Keep your faith; I’m sure you’re both capable and will find the road through the mire. I’m sure the words will come once you have enough calm to focus your thoughts.

    Thanks for the mention, too!


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