Four days come and go. Two weeks pass. Then weeks turn into a month. One month of losing your habit. Your habit of writing weekly. The words will not flow. They will not flow like they usually do. You are worried. And relaxed is the last feeling you are welcoming these days.
You, my friend, have hit a writing slump.
I arrived from the Fount Workshop completely energized and inspired. Ready to share some of my favorite images that I had photographed to date and the story of why I chose to attend a workshop. And I did. I blogged some of my favorite posts those weeks after I attended. But, shortly after I became burnt out. In between those weeks, Baton Rouge and Louisiana experienced a series of unexpected events, which left me speechless and craving stillness.
Those events left with me with so many questions. Questions that I still do not know if I have answers too. As a blogger and a person who loves to write for fun, I was at a loss with how to address the current events surrounding Baton Rouge. How do you write and not discuss the loss that our community is feeling? And as a person who was not directly affected by the shootings or the flooding, how do you write and take into account the feelings of others? How do you appear sensitive at time a like this? Do you address the news or do you choose not to discuss anything?
I stayed silent.
Since week one of blogging and publishing posts, my mother has always held me accountable. If I go a few weeks with silence, she is the first to ask what is going on and when I will be back. I love that about her. She taught me that if you start something you must finish it, and even as I near the age of thirty she is still teaching me this lesson.
I was at a loss with figuring out how to explain why I couldn’t write. The shootings left me a little afraid initially. The mood in our city was different. It made you question the safety and security of our area. And the days following the flooding. Nothing can prepare you to see streets upon streets of damaged houses and the debris of a family’s life piled high beside the road. Nothing can prepare you to hear the stories of how quickly the waters rose and the thoughts behind saving lives during those days. Not too mention the clean-up process that was slowly starting to take place. It was a lot.
All of it left me quiet until a weeknight when I signed-up for a writing webinar. I needed to get inspired for writing. So, I signed-up for a three hour writing intensive that did just the trick. I learned something that night. That somedays you need to write the crappy words. You need to lay it out there. And dedicate time and show up. When you know you need to do something, but don’t want to do it… Odds are you probably need to do it anyway. If I wanted to write, I had to figure out how to address the summer I experienced in Baton Rouge.
I met the victims the same way you did.
Late Sunday night. On the local news and covered throughout the internet through social media and national websites. By Monday morning, I knew their families, heard their last words, and their plans. I do not have family in law enforcement. I did not know these police officers personally. But I could not escape reading about all of it. I could not escape getting to know these individuals and their stories and what had taken place in my city.
The following Sunday was the first time I felt afraid sitting in a church pew.
It had been exactly one week since the shootings, and I was sitting in my church for a prayer service. In my years, I have never been cautious to be in the presence of a church. Until that Sunday night. Until I was sitting in a prayer service honoring the victims and families throughout our nation who experienced loss due to violence, and I could not stop looking over my shoulder. Every time I heard the door creek. Every time I heard footsteps behind me. Every time I felt someone slide into the church pew next to me. It was a strange feeling to not feel safe in church.
I did not want to write that. I did not want to admit that the events that had taken place those days scared me.
And the days during the flooding. They were long. I sat glued to the local news station as they announced evacuations and displayed more pictures of neighborhoods completely covered in water. As soon as the water receded, it was humbling to watch our community come together and help those in need. Every person in our area knew at least one person that was affected by the rising waters. It was humbling to see a community that was shocked just weeks prior by the shootings, come together and help families in need.
I am sure I will hit a writing slump again. One of the lessons I have learned as a blogger is that writing slumps will come and go as they please. I am starting to get used to how my writing works during those days and getting less frustrated. I understand now that slumps are just a part of the process. My hope is that I will never be afraid to put down the words that come to me. The words that appear on my heart. My hope is that even during the moments where I am afraid that I will remember words are a gift. My hope is that I will always use my gifts to the best of my abilities to bless others.
XOXO – Ashley “AKA The Future Mrs. Hooker”
A few more words… “Personal” posts like this take a little bit longer to put together, but I completely believe the time and effort are worth it. A post like this gives you a chance to know more about the person creating and publishing the content. And I love that! In a world where the internet may be an initial source for meeting someone and purchasing their services, I enjoy taking the opportunity to put together enjoyable and informative content. If you made it to the bottom of this post, THANK YOU – I appreciate you so very much for taking the time to read!