I’ve been absent from this blog for months now. Before that, my posts had become very sporadic. In fact, when I looked back at my last post, I was embarrassed by the amount of time that has lapsed. And then, as I’m so prone to, I felt guilt. I’m not even sure what I felt guilt about…a project left incomplete? Leaving my faithful readers (OK, reader, my sister) in a lurch with a cliff-hanger ending? (Trust me, my sister and I talk on the phone “like a billion times a day” according to my kids, no cliff-hangers there. Not that there ever was one.) Either way, neither the embarrassment nor the guilt was productive so I dismissed them. Well, kind of.
Just write, I told myself. But the words didn’t flow. You don’t have to click “publish”, just write. Anything. Anywhere. Use your journal, for the love of gravy! I admonished myself, regularly. Still, the words didn’t flow.
And, as the words began to dry up, so did a part of me.
After a month or so, I decided I was just taking some “time off.” Life was busy with homeschooling (even though I have only one student this year and I’d laid out her lesson plans well in advance), a new client/contract that takes me out of the house for 3 hours a day (for the first time in 18 years), a change in the household routines with my oldest now in college but still at home, etc. I just needed some time off, I concluded. Time off from this blog. Time off from my TM Facebook page (not to mention most of the cyber-world). Time off from external demands like coffee dates with friends, blog-reading, etc.
You can do this, the small voice inside encouraged. Look at all you’ve been learning as a mom, a wife and, more importantly, as a woman in the last 6 months. Just share that. Write about that. Just write.
And still, the words didn’t flow.
Sacrifices, I reasoned, needed to be made with the shifts in routines and schedules, and my writing would have to wait. Time passed and my “page views” slowed from consistent visits to an anemic trickle to a dried creek bed in a season of drought. It’s OK, this is just temporary. I’m just taking some time away. Readers will be there when I return. It’s best to take this time away. Just trust. As the weeks rolled into months, my “time off” had extended into “time away”, I decided. By relabeling it, I was making a conscious choice to stay away for an extended period of time. All while trying to muster up my best “Let’s go, team!” cheer deep down inside.
And, still the words didn’t flow.
This blog, my journal, any blank page seemed to become the proverbial “elephant in the room” crossbred with the “monster in the closet.” Deep down inside, I couldn’t avoid the fact that I wasn’t writing and wanted to write, yet the longer I stayed away the larger the boogie man, A.K.A. “Writer’s Block”, seemed to grow. Or, at least I thought that’s what was happening during my “time away”, until I was driving through a shortcut on my way home the other day.
My shortcut is a narrow winding road that takes me though a park and wide open fields. The snow that had started to fall the night before was beginning to taper. The large fields were covered in a blanket of white. My eyes darted around in hopes of capturing sight of a coyote. Aloud I reminded myself, “Just take your time. There’s no rush.” And then, it hit me. I’ve been taking neither “time off” nor “time away” from this blog, or coffee dates, or blog-reading, or anything else; I’ve simply been taking time. Time to grow and adjust and adapt. Time needed during a period of tremendous change in my life. Time needed to make it through a bumpy transition as smoothly as possible. Time for me. Time for my family. Just time, without qualifiers or limits or boogie-men.
Does this epiphany mark my regular return to this blog? Honestly, I’m not sure. I just know that I’m feeling more sure-footed recently than I have in many months. And today, the words seemed to flow once again, which feels pretty darn good.
Do you give yourself “time off”, “time away”, or “just time” when you need room to grow?
(P.S. If you are here, reading this, I thank you.)