The Road to Recovery

A writer writes.  When a writer is too ill, too tired, too overwhelmed by life to write, then that creates a gulf that makes it ever more difficult to get back to the art and craft of writing.  Not only do you have to overcome whatever kept you from writing in the first place, you have to find a way to get back to the place you were when you stopped writing.

It’s not an easy road to travel, but it’s one we (almost) all will inevitably travel.  Some of us will travel it many times throughout our writing career.  I know I have.

One of the most frustrating things for me is to see how the quality of my writing has gone down.  I’m out of practice.  It’s harder to force myself to sit down and write, because I’ve broken the habit.  It’s harder to turn thoughts into coherent words, because the words don’t come quite so readily as they used to do.  It’s a struggle.  It can be quite painful.  And, seeing that the writer is usually coming off a rather low point to begin with, it can be difficult to endure the pain.

Many writers are tempted to wait.  If they wait long enough, they figure, the timing will be right and the words will come.

I’ve done that.  Even when the words are urgent and the need to write is strong, the poor quality, the poor habits, and the struggle and pain are still there, waiting for you to come back to them.

I recommend sitting down and writing.  Even if it’s not as good, not as passionate, not as ready.  Even if it feels like you’re wringing words out of a dirty rag.  Sit down and write.  You can always toss it.  You can always revise it.  But at least you’ve started.

This, too, is part of your recovery.  If you’ve ever broken a limb, then you know the pain of healing hurts.  But the pain of healing the bone alone doesn’t restore you.  In the physical world, it’s called rehab, or rehabilitation.  This, too, is part of your healing and restoration process.  This, too, is part of your recovery.  And it hurts.  If you run from it, you could lose what you had forever.  If you endure it, you can become stronger than you were before.

I endure.

P.S.  I have finished the final course of my graduate degree.  While I suppose it’s not official until I go through the graduation ceremony and have the degree in hand, I now have a Master’s of Science in Written Communications.

I’d planned for this moment, but now that I’m here and after my long period of illness/exhaustion, I don’t have the momentum I expected.  I feel adrift.  I’m not sure what comes next.

Any ideas?

About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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4 Responses to The Road to Recovery

  1. acflory says:

    Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS! Earning a Masters is no small achievement. What am I saying? Earning any degree is an achievement. So well done you. 🙂 And congratulations for putting into words the process I have been struggling with as well. I effectively took the last few months off to concentrate on the marketing side of things, and I too have fallen out of the habit of writing. I’ve missed that incredible rush of creativity when the words seem to just gush from some hidden source. Sadly every time I’ve sat down to recapture that feeling I’ve come away feeling hollow.

    I know you have your own coping methods but I’ve learned that for me, the process of getting back into begins with setting a daily time ‘limit’. When things are really bad I tell myself I only have to do one hour, and that hour can be spent re-reading the story that came before [to refresh my mind] or doing a bit of light editing, or even working on one of my maps. Most days that hour stretches into two or three, and that makes me happy. And more inclined to face the same hurdles again the next day.

    Slowly, slowly Stephanie. The words and the inspiration will come.

    • Thank you. It’s been a long six years to get to this point. Six years of college for first one degree and then another without a break. I’m definitely ready for some downtime!

      There’s lots of ways to fall out of the habit of writing, and as necessary as those are, it’s equal necessary to “get back in the game.” Never an easy process.

      I’m kind of sad that I missed your launch, but know that I will be getting your newly published book. Congratulations!!!! I look forward to reading your lovingly crafted story!

      Yeah, I do that, too. Right now, I’m working on a short story that I want to expand and solidfy, and instead of going back to what’s already written, I’m going all the way back to the conception stage to figure out what I’m really trying to say. It’s slower than just editing the piece, but it’s going to be worth it when it’s finished!

      Good luck!

      • acflory says:

        Thank you for the kind words re Vokhtah. I do appreciate them. And you can be sure I’m eager to read your back-to-the-drawing-board story as well. That’s the one, good thing about a long hiatus, it really does let you see things with fresh eyes. Knowing you, I think you’re going to come up with something really spectacular. 🙂

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