Have You Filled Your Tank Lately?

Posted October 20, 2018

The other day, a group of writer friends and I were talking. It seems for weeks now, none of us have felt very motivated. We’re not behaving like our usual prolific, proactive, hard-working selves. That’s not to say we’re missing deadlines or shrugging off obligations – Heaven forbid – but we haven’t felt especially ambitious or creative. One writer said she heard it might have to do with astrological changes, another wondered if recent political tensions have zapped our energy, another said she is sensing a general melancholy in the world that might be touching all of us.

“All I want to do is sit around and read,” I admitted, knowing full well that's not an option, but wishing for it anyway. All my friends nodded. “Yes! Me too,” they said.

Then one guy who’d been kind of quiet piped up. “I don’t think it’s necessarily bad that we’re all moving at a slower place right now,” he said. “I think maybe we’re just filling our tanks. You gotta do that sometimes so you can keep going.”

Of course, filling our tanks! That’s what we’re doing. We’ve all been working so hard for so long, and many days we’re not even sure where it’s getting us. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and artists are still struggling to figure out how to make a living. Still.

We’ve traveled a lot of miles on our respective journeys and probably been driving on fumes far longer than we should have. Maybe it’s just time to refill our tanks.

“I don’t see anything wrong with reading all day,” my friend continued. “I mean, we’re writers, we take inspiration from reading. Reading good work can be motivating.”

Oh, thank you for saying that, I thought. He was right of course. There’s a time to create and a time to appreciate the creations of others, the beauty they bring to the world. There’s a time to just sit back and notice what other people can teach us and let other artists remind us why this work matters. There’s a time to let other people do the driving.

I know these writers and I know myself. We’ll be back up to full speed soon, speeding down our individual highways at 100 miles an hour. But sometimes you gotta hit the brakes and pull off at a rest area. Maybe keep a good book in the car, in case you wind up doing just that.

If you like this post, please share

 


Complaining Is Getting Me Nowhere

Posted October 13, 2018
I recently finished reading Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza. It took me a few months…

The Art of Loneliness

Posted October 6, 2018
I’ve been feeling lonely lately, ever since I got back from six weeks in Ireland with my husband. Not that…

It Just Feels Right

Posted September 29, 2018
I’ve spent the past three weeks spinning my wheels. There were three projects I wanted to start. Each of them…

How Do You Identify?

Posted September 22, 2018
Recently, I heard a new author speak about his book. He casually mentioned he was a Black/Latino writer. As he…

Go Beyond Yourself

Posted September 15, 2018
I was listening to an On Being podcast in which poet David Whyte was recalling a story of a dinner…

Why Not?

Posted September 1, 2018
The other day, a friend told a story of a mentor who once said to her “Why not?” when she…

Magic in the Mess

Posted August 25, 2018
Back-to-school ads brought a childhood memory to mind. In eighth grade, I was disappointed to get a certain English teacher.…