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Aftermath

January 7, 2022

For someone who is completely un-athletic, I sure participate in a lot of marathons and sprints!! Mind you, these are all the literary kind, but why quibble? Believe me, I get just as (long) winded when I’m writing as I would ever get running 5Ks! 

What usually happens in these endeavors is, I hop aboard someone else’s Big Idea Express. Then, once I’ve convinced myself that it’s too late to back out, I experience a high level of anxiety and stress. Why did I sign on for this? Why am I even pretending to be a humor writer/blogger/person of any talent whatsoever? But then, I get “in the groove,” as the young people say, and (usually) end up doing well (AKA finishing).

There follows the aftermath, a cool-down period of days or weeks when I barely touch pen to paper. This is one of those times, and unfortunately it comes just as 2022 dawns. Instead of working on a new project, taking a class or attending a workshop, I’ve spent the first three days of the new year idling. Being the all-or-nothing gal that I am, I have gone from coming up with 35 comedy pitches and seven humor pieces, and 30 blog posts in 30 days, to zero output. I’m not even writing limericks or knock-knock jokes, and this, my first blog entry of ’22, is shaping up to be nothing special.

True sports people (that is the term, no?) don’t let this fallow time bother them. They realize muscles need to rest and recover. They don’t automatically assume they have lost all ability, just because they aren’t still clocking world-record times and distances. But for a self-doubter, every minute not spent producing SOMETHING, is proof positive that nothing will ever be produced again. I mean, a few weeks ago I was cranking out “The Real Housewives of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”, “Can You Chip in $5 to Save the Planet by MIDNIGHT Tonight?” and “Eulogy for the Expired Coupons on My Kitchen Bulletin Board” (all of which, ahem, were subsequently published on humor websites), and fancying myself the next New Yorker contributor. Today, it feels like my funny bone was surgically removed, and my only New Yorker contribution was the $$ I doled out for a subscription to the magazine.

This time, I’d love to enjoy my aftermath, even a bit. It would be awesome to rest my poor brain once in a while, without guilt. Deep down I know that is the key to future productivity (taking a break). But still I panic, sure that the Writer’s Block to end all blocks is on my horizon. That has never happened, and I need to stop assuming it will.

My sister C sent me a really cute door hanger that reads “Do Not Disturb: Writer at Work,” and now adorns the door of my home office. I think I may need a second one that proclaims “Do Not Disturb: Writer Doing Absolutely Nothing. She May Even Be Napping.”

 

Shhhh.

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    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: www.eliseseyfried.com or email me at eliseseyf@gmail.com.

     

     

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