Writer’s Block, Vol. 2

Comments 32


Muse – n. – a source of artistic inspiration.

I’m having trouble writing.

Since launching this blog in late June 2013, I have had little trouble coming up with post ideas.

This is my 271st post published since then.

My writing is fueled by negativity.

It’s sad. But it’s true.

Fear. Anger. Pain. Sadness.

Those emotions dictate the action. When I feel those things, I can’t not write.

But I’m a little less scared now.

A lot less angry.

I don’t hurt unless I stumble on a trigger.

And I can’t remember the last time I cried.

Maybe My Muse is Dead

Human beings will always feel afraid and mad and hurt and sad. I will always feel those things.

But I’m no brooding artist.

And the only way for me to feel lots of pain and sadness is for me to intentionally go there. To time travel to all those moments that destroyed my family and thrust upon me this new and foreign and unwanted and unexpected life.

But I’m not going to do that.

I’m not going to intentionally make myself feel bad just so I can punch these keys more effortlessly. I don’t want to feel bad.

The entire point of this writing exercise from the start was to exorcise some of my demons. To explore my life and my choices and to figure out how those decisions got me here.

I don’t intend to stop doing that.

But I have so much less time now.

Because I’m living again. As more than just dots on a screen. As a real person. Laughing. And hugging. And anticipating. And doing. And just… being.

Months ago, all the unusual silence in my home screamed. I was terrified. Abandoned. Alone.

It wasn’t home.

But now it is again.

There was no one specific event I can point to.

No “ah-ha! That’s it!”

Just a collection of good things trickling into my life, one laugh, one prayer, one post, one party, one date, one moment at a time.

Building up on top of one another and forming this entirely new thing.

We’re more than a year in now.

Since she left.

Since I dealt with the enormous shock of life without my son at home half the time.

Since my world changed into a frightening strange new place, stripping me of so much control that I foolishly thought I had.

And that’s maybe my key takeaway so far from my personal year in review.

The Healing

The trick is simply to stay alive.

Just stay alive.

And then you wake up one day and things aren’t looking so ominous.


And then more time goes by and you’re laughing more and worrying less.

Is this going to last?

And then more time goes by and you’ve healed even more. And it fortifies your spirit. And inspires courage. Courage you didn’t even know you had.

I can do this.

And then even more time goes by and you rediscover yourself. You recognize pieces and parts of you, but now you have so much more strength and wisdom and resolve. Now you have the tools to live advantageously in ways you never could before.

You wish you could go back in time and tell yourself what to do and not to do. Because now you know. And you regret the brokenness. And you regret the time lost. And you wish things could be different.

But they’re not different.

They just are whatever they are.

And because it’s less scary and because you’re more courageous it all feels okay—all those differences. It doesn’t feel good, necessarily. But it doesn’t feel bad.

And in a world where relativism and expectations affect us, that’s a whole lot better than dead.

Both literally dead, like all the people who don’t get to have an amazing day today like you and I do.

And figuratively dead. Like I was just one year ago.

I was nobody. I wasn’t who I was before. And I didn’t know who I was going to be tomorrow.

Maybe I still don’t.

But that’s okay. Because I can just enjoy being alive today.

I even managed to write a post with writer’s block.

Maybe my muse isn’t dead.

Maybe my muse is life.

32 thoughts on “Writer’s Block, Vol. 2”

  1. I think many of us started blogging to vent and to try to come to terms with difficult things in our lives. I think it’s perfectly normal to go through that phase when you feel as if you’re having a writers block because inspiration is drying up a bit as the weather clears and we are able to appreciate the sunshine again. But the urge to write will probably return now that you’ve re-defined your muse. And if it doesn’t…well then… It somehow worked! You found a cure and healed yourself through writing. Either way, this is heading towards a happy ending! 😉

    I apologize for all spelling errors beforehand. Writing comments on the phone is normally a complete disaster.

    1. I don’t think you had any spelling errors. 🙂

      Thank you. You’re right, of course. It’s a happy ending, no matter what.

      A really nice way to look at it.

  2. I have the completely opposite problem. The things I would love to write about are too personal and too many people I know in real life read my blog. I can’t write about some real, raw things because it would hurt people I love or affect them negatively. Because of that I worry that my blog will end up seeming impersonal or like “I have always had a perfect life” kind of b.s. I have no doubt that your writing will continue without the despair in your life. You’ll find other things to write about, things that matter just as much, they will just come from a different place…

    1. I sure hope so, Gretchen.

      There are ways to get that stuff off your chest, if you need to. Anonymous posts and whatnot, or a second blog entirely.

      You don’t have to hold it in. I know you know you that already. I’m just overstepping a little and nudging.

      I hope that’s okay. Nice to hear from you, Gretchen.

      I have a lot of reading to do over your way.

      I’ve been pouring myself into books lately, and my blog reading (and writing) has suffered for it.

      Hope you’re having a good weekend. 🙂

      1. I have often thought about an anonymous blog… But since I can barely find the time to write a weekly post on my current blog, that will have to wait. One day… Probably when the kids are in college!

        1. ‘Scuse me, Matt, while I butt into your comments thread to speak with Gretchen.

          Gretchen, I completely understand your fear and agree that an anonymous blog is the way to go. Until today, I was even afraid to give my pets their true names on my blog and I AM using a pseudonym.

          But the other day I did take what for me is a big step. I have decided that while I still have no intentions of “outing” anyone, so to speak, I am going to do what I originally intended but chickened out of doing. I am going to speak *my truths* – about events and life as I experience them. And I’m doing so fully aware that the particular people I don’t want to read it, may eventually find it anyway.

          But here’s the thing, in my case these folks will find something to be offended and angry about no matter what I say. In “real” life, nothing I say or do is right in their eyes, so why would my blog be any different?

          I realize your situation isn’t mine and you have compelling reasons not to have an anonymous blog. But for your sake, I hope you find some way to let the stress out.

          Okay, I’m starting to ramble now. Back to you, Matt. Lol.

  3. completelyinthedark

    Do you keep an editorial slate? It’s as simple as a legal pad with a running list of topics and ideas for future posts. I’m going on 10 pages now and will be taking a 2-week hiatus next week to shore up a new slate of posts. It gives me the Ooomph to push through a draft and get on to edits. And if I’m not happy with how something is going, I just change it (case in point was the dog post, “Insufferable” —that had a 11th hour change up that raised my blood pressure a few levels. But glad I made the change. It’s a better piece for it).

    Anyway, just a thought. 🙂

    1. Wait.

      You mean, like, plan ahead? Don’t pull EVERY post out of my ass as I go?

      Geesh. I wouldn’t even know what that level of competency and organization would look like, sir.

      But I appreciate the suggestion. And I certainly think it’s a good one. Thank you. There will come a day when I’ll be more organized.


      1. completelyinthedark

        Well, if you wanna get that book out, writers block will be more than a nuisance. The planning need be no more than a legal pad (I put it on a clipboard on the wall, so I always see it). Also feel free to take breaks. Blogging isn’t a race or a destination. It’s a journey. 🙂

        1. I’ve been cutting back a lot. And moving forward, I may halve my blogging frequency in favor of book writing and living. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Writer’s Block, Vol. 2 | soulfoodwords

  5. This case of writer’s block seems like a good one. Not that it seems to affect your writing. It’s so good to read about someone’s healing, as mine has only just begun, and some days feel like a reverse step.

    My husband stopped writing when he was no longer depressed, which us a shame as he is such a good writer. I’m hoping the muse will continue to inspire you.

    Sheesh, this comment was way to heavy for a Sunday morning. Keep on dropkicking blogging ass.

  6. Keep writing even in the good times because there may some more troughs that you still need to jump over and being able to come back to the good periods in those times will serve you well.

    1. I’m sure that’s good advice. Thank you. I won’t stop writing. It just feels a lot different doing it half as often.

  7. It’s wonderful that you are healing. there are still great stories that you will share about these good times of laughing again, and finding the true Matt along your journey. happy revelling(sp?)!!!

  8. “Life as a muse” is profound like practically everything I’ve read by you. I took a moment to catch my breathe. Happy life writing Matt.

  9. I’ve been sitting in my favorite chair aimlessly looking at the blank screen not knowing which keys to type. I decided to read your latest blog, in hopes of gaining some writing mojo. You wrote the words which have unknowingly been waiting for me to come to the realization to. You have inspired me to write this morning, not to use your words in my post-but to write with the realization that maybe I have finally reached the light I’ve been running towards. Thank you and keep writing.

    1. This made me smile. We need to celebrate overcoming brokenness and the small achievements of staying alive. I don’t want to lament that my life is better and, thus, can’t write the same.

      It’s great that my life is better.

      And now my new challenge will be finding meaningful things to write without those volatile emotions fueling the work. We’ll see how that works out.

  10. Aahh…I can totally relate. As a kid, I used to journal. As a housewife, I used to journal. I never wrote about the good stuff…it was always about the pain. I talked to a friend of mine who was and avid journal-er, she said it doesn’t matter what you write about, just write. For me, I think it was easier to express the good stuff, but I couldn’t really talk to anyone about the bad stuff, the stuff that I suffered with…writing got it out of my head.
    Blogging about our pain helps us better connect to other people who understand our suffering.
    Life is our muse. I like that idea. You will be inspired just as this particular post found it’s way out, others will as well. You will find yourself expressing different emotions to express to the masses, and you will connect with people on different levels.
    Blocks are temporary.

    1. I certainly hope so. This surprised me. This period of not having much to say after writing long and often for such a stretch.

  11. Now that I’ve babbled away to one of your other readers, I’ll comment directly to you, Matt!

    This was a great post and I don’t think the quality of you’re writing is going to suffer at all. Healing is a *good* thing! 🙂


    1. Thank you for your encouragement. I hope you’re right.

      I really want to write things that matter. To me. And maybe to a few other people. And I’m highly unsure of what that might look like now that I’m getting closer to homeostasis again.

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