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Writer’s Flood Paralysis and the Blogging Shame Spiral (a.k.a. excuses)

apple blossoms
Nice apple-blossom photo = shameless attempt to pretty up this post.

What the Sam Hill… I haven’t posted since April 22nd??

Lots of bloggers complain about writer’s block and lack of inspiration. (Fortunately, lots of other bloggers offer solutions for both.) I can imagine getting blocked, if you’re a niche blogger. Some days you just might not have that kicky recipe or new fitness tip or fashionably retro decorating idea that you want to share with the world.

Dilovely, on the other hand, blogs about any damn fool thing she feels like, so there’s no chance of writer’s block. Instead, her ideas for stuff to write about pile up like laundry until she hardly knows where to begin. (She currently has no fewer than twenty-four draft posts already started, and that doesn’t count the extensive list entitled “Blog ideas” on her phone.)

For the purposes of this post, I’ve dubbed the phenomenon “Writer’s Flood”. I hereby admit that it often has a paralyzing effect on me. I might only have a few minutes to write on any given day, and with so many topics banging around in my head, pestering to be written about, I end up avoiding my Dashboard altogether instead of sitting down and just getting some words out – even though I know the latter would ALWAYS make me feel better.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve been known to do the same with laundry. (You know, just sometimes.)

That’s when you see ten-to-fifteen-day gaps, followed by flighty, materialistic posts with excuses in them. The longer the gap, the more self-reproach comes into play, the harder it is to jump back in.

If you find that the following Gripes actually seem a bit like excuses… Well… touché.

Gripes (have to come first because who wants to put the kvetching at the end?):

  • April was a month characterized by illness at our house (I know we’re not alone here). Sean and I both got knocked out by a crazy bug that made me sicker than I’ve been in… I honestly don’t know how long. Maybe ever.
    • Felt like strep throat but wasn’t.
    • Took my voice away for two full days.
    • Missed three days of school in a row (unprecedented, at least for sickness), because just as my voice was coming back, I got double pinkeye (mmm, sexy).
    • Copious amounts of congestion, plus coughing that I thought would at least leave me with chiseled abs, but didn’t.
    • Oh, and there was a really bad neck-kink in there that kept me from turning my head to the left for a couple days.
    • Meanwhile, Baby AB got an ear infection, and E got a localized rash we’re still trying to figure out.
    • Then we thought we were out of the woods and Sean suddenly backtracked with a sinus infection.
    • If what WHO says about global antimicrobial resistance is true, then we are in serious trouble, because between the four of us, our family has been on antibiotics no less than six times this past season. Or was it seven?
  • Remember when I was kinda freaking out because I have so much to do in a strict timeline, necessitating my becoming the Duchess of Organization? Well, becoming the D of O whilst blowing bucketfuls of crap out of your head through your nose (mmm, sexy) is actually really difficult. So I’m still trying to get on track there.
  • Likewise: working on that strong and bendy issue I mentioned. Sigh.
  • There is also a phenomenon, when you’re a teacher, where you’re really wanting to cover lots of material and be really efficient (as befits a Duchess of Organization), and certain students… it’s like they sense it. And are instinct-bound to thwart it. A bunch of those kids + spring fever = endless classroom management. That’s my job right now.
  • And even the spring fever is only quasi-exhiliarating, because it is now MAY and frankly, it’s still mostly dead chilly out.

Hypes (because I want you to know I do possess some fraction of a positive attitude):

  • Although there are no leaves on our trees yet, at least our grass is green, and we have daffodils.
  • Even better, my Hubbibi has found his inner gardener all of a sudden (he comes by it honestly – his mom is a wonder with plants) and our front yard and gardens have never looked so immaculate in seven years.
  • We got to see a very well-done community production of the musical Rent last weekend, and oh, it still ROCKS. (Yes, I was a Renthead once upon a time, and it’s possible I still qualify because ALL the lyrics were easily called up from my brain-files.)
  • Sean finally put up the bird feeder my parents gave us (a shamefully long time ago), and now we are wishing we’d had it up all this time. Seriously, we are SO POPULAR all of a sudden (among little feathery and furry things), and we had no idea how much of a pleasure it would be to watch the birdies. It is just a lovely, simple, peaceful thing to do. The kids love it too – AB gets all excited when she sees a goldfinch (calls it a “goldfish”), and the other day, E correctly identified a house finch (as Uncle Ben taught him). If you don’t have a bird feeder, y’all should totally get one.
  • Our kids, despite all the illness, are incredibly entertaining. E’s behaviour is gradually improving (knock wood), not that I could really say why… but it’s quite a relief to have more cooperation and fewer meltdowns. And AB is just hilarious. She’s a talker, like her brother, and still babyish enough that everything she says sounds cute. Even when she’s mad and/or aggravating and/or trying to use her imperiousness to boss us around, she’s an adorable munchkin. It’s her lot in life right now.
  • And… I’m gonna put this in, even though I hesitate, because it was a highlight for sure: Friday before last, I had an amazing conversation with someone I’d just met.

Let me explain.

I’d sort of already met her, via email only, thanks to my midwife… and it wasn’t really the conversation that was amazing, it was how it felt. This person happened to be supply teaching at my school that day, and she recognized me and introduced herself – kind of in code, because it would be odd to say, “Hi, I’m that other mom you sorta know who also had a stillborn baby at 35 weeks’ gestation.”

We chatted for the rest of the lunch period – 20 minutes or so – about our kids (all of them) but also lots of other things. I felt immediately connected to her. It wasn’t an intimate conversation, and yet it was. I can’t even describe how simultaneously calming and invigorating it was to talk face-to-face with someone who intrinsically understands what it is… to be this. A normal person carrying around an invisible child, all the time. There was a point in the conversation where we both had tears in our eyes, with absolutely no explanation or reassurance or apology needed.

I know can talk to people about Sebastian; I have friends and family members who would want me to call if I needed a shoulder to cry on. I appreciate this fact immensely. The thing is, I don’t often need an official shoulder. I rarely blog about Sebastian now, as you know. I don’t grieve deeply every day. But I do think about him every day, many times. I do miss him and acknowledge him and remember him – but mostly just to myself, because as supportive as my peeps usually are, bringing up a dead child in conversation is hard for everyone involved. If I were to get teary-eyed in the middle of a chat, people would probably sympathize, but it would still be awkward (if only for me). Sometimes I’d rather keep him inside, just for me, than bring him out and make things weird.

That’s the great thing about blogging, I guess. If I inadvertently get somber in the midst of a flippant post about procrastination, and you’re still reading and it’s suddenly awkward… tant pis. I’ll never know.

(If you are still reading, thank you.)

And that’s my story for now. Cheers to getting the words out already.

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