Taking My Own Advice for Exiting a Funk
Ten Minutes at a Time
I should be writing. Not on Medium. Not on Facebook (for Pete’s sake.) I should be writing a novel. Not some existential ‘should’ either. I real-world should be writing a novel — I’ve already been paid for the thing.
But my country is falling apart. And someone I love is struggling in a way I can barely comprehend. And my daughter just moved to a place where an earthquake/tsunami one-two punch is definitely going to happen. Eventually. And it’s soccer season AND basketball season, and my other daughter’s got both going on. And our rent’s gone up and I need to figure out what we’re going to do about that. Also, I’m still fat and my sister’s doing keto, so, you know.
My brain’s aswirl and I’m not writing. I didn’t yesterday or the day before. I thought about my book. I hand wrote some notes. I re-read the first chapter. But I didn’t write new words. I didn’t make progress, really.
No. I didn’t write yesterday. I crocheted. Because of course that makes sense, right? I crocheted so much my fingers ache today.
At least it’s pretty, right? At least it’s lovely. But yeah, I need to write. Deadline is looming after all.
The only thing that will help is to take my own advice. Spend ten minutes a day writing forward. Ten minutes, writing new words. Eventually I’ll either hit a groove when I reach a scene that inspires me, or some of the other things will let up. And I’ll write more.
Waiting for inspiration to hit has never done me any good. In my experience, the muse is way more impressed by work than she is by adoration that takes the form of not writing while I wait for her to get her act in gear.
Today, right now, as soon as I post this, I’m lighting my yellow candle and breathing in creativity — and then I’m writing for ten minutes. Want to join me?
Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She lives in Reno with her husband, three superstar kids, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation and the upcoming novel The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.