Writer’s block and fear
Today is the earliest I’ve been up in weeks.
I’ve found myself retracing steps – remembering what works and what doesn’t.
It’s difficult to continue down a path that is constantly new.
It isn’t comfortable – just like this blog.
I became fearful I had or would run out of ideas and in turn out of words.
I know it’s a lie.
On my writing desk is a Maya Angelou quote:
“You cannot use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
But the lie is still before me.
It’s seductive. It provides me an out. When a lie is believed as truth, it is acted on as truth.
I traced back. I remembered that if I want to continue as a writer, to continue this journey, I must actively place my butt in a chair, pen in hand. No excuses. I must choose to give up some television time. I must choose to go to bed and get some rest and get up and moving the next morning. I really need to use futureme.org and give myself some encouragement when I hit a writing lag.
So this morning I’m up early and well-rested. (Thank you, Melatonin.)
Just before waking, I dreamed of Hawkett (my character for the novel I am writing). Dreamed of how I wanted to keep him out of conflict’s way. Because I was holding conflict back from Hawkett his story was boring. Uneventful. Hawkett isn’t who he is intended to be because he has not struggled to get what he wants.
I also dreamed of washing machines and mouthwash. A weird combination, I agree, but these were a source of conflict for me on separate occasions.
I realized for my character Hawkett conflict was necessary. It must happen. For me too, conflict is necessary. Conflict allows opportunity for transformation. It gives us a chance to choose. Will I become bitter? Will I become better?
Washing machine woes
For nearly seven months, I have been without a washing machine. For seven months, I packed up my stanky laundry and spent a day at my mum’s – washing, watching her cable, and eating her food. A sweet deal for sure. But seven months, seriously. I was beyond grateful for mum’s open arms but I was ready to find/purchase/steal a washer.
I decided to set out and purchase a washer. I went to a nearby place that had washers. I picked out the least expensive. Stood in front of it for 15 minutes and walked out of the store empty-handed. I wasn’t supposed to get a washer. I felt it in me. Instead of being impatient and impractical, I walked away and scored some points in the Fruits of the Spirit’s Patience category.
“You don’t have a washing machine?”
“What?! I’ve got a washing machine for you. It’s yours. You know the one from the tearoom? We aren’t going to sell it because the dial is broken. But it works. And it’s yours.”
I am not even kidding.
Next morning, I had a fully functioning washing machine with a beautifully wonky dial. It is perfection.
God is a washing machine. He is willing to take the lowliest form in order to show me His divine timing, presence, and sovereignty. Nothing is wasted. Not a broken washing machine. Not walking in a store and leaving because you heed His voice. Not a washing machine with a wonky dial. Every time I use my washing machine, I see God:
God teaching me endurance.
God teaching me patience.
God teaching me perseverance.
God is my washing machine.
God also is a bottle of mouthwash. Seeming innocuous, right, a bottle of mouthwash? It seems hardly significant, except it is.
Growing up in my wild ruckus of a family there was a hierarchy to oral hygiene products.
Toothbrush and toothpaste: Essential
Floss: Use what the dentist gave you and make it last for six months, mister.
Mouthwash: Non-essential. No, nuh-uh, not gonna happen.
Mouthwash was a pure luxury item. I love mouthwash, probably because it was so rare, like discovering a unicorn.
So as an adult, I bought mouthwash like it was going out of style. I stocked up and rinsed twice daily.
However, six months in to unemployment and mouthwash was once again ranked as non-essential. I rationed and held on to my mouthwash for as long as possible and then one day it was gone. I had an empty bottle.
And you know what?
While at my mum’s doing laundry, my mum proudly displayed her winnings from some drawing at some retirement thingamajig. In her hand, a bottle of beautiful, luxuriant mouthwash.
“You want this?”
I could’ve puddled on the floor, but I didn’t.
This was hardly a coincidence.
God is a bottle of mouthwash. A bottle that said He cared even about mouthwash. A bottle that said He was overseeing every aspect of my life. It was all important to Him.
Each time I get ready to rinse, I see that bottle of mouthwash and I see God.
God is my bottle of mouthwash.
From a washing machine to mouthwash to my story
Whenever I have doubts and I do –
Whenever I long for the easier road and I do –
I look at my washing machine.
I look at my bottle of mouthwash.
And God is before me. Ever present. Ever caring.
Loving me before, during, and after a conflict.
God will take the unlikeliest of shapes and forms to whisper or shout:
You are mine.
I love you.
Live your story.
I am in it with you.