Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, August 27, 2010

What to do when nothing happens

I gave myself a mini writing retreat this week. Day one was a disaster. I thought I'd get my blogging done first, then have the rest of the day to write away. Big mistake. Huge. I spent all morning visiting blogs and writing posts for this week. I also needed to practice singing (takes about an hour) and exercise (about 45 minutes). Plenty of time, right? Wrong.

By the time I finished blogging, it was lunch time. After lunch, I sat down with the computer on my lap and, nothing, nada, zero, zip, zilch. Five minutes. Ten minutes. 20 minutes. What's going on here. I cleared my schedule. I showed up, ready, willing and able. Sighing, I put the laptop on hibernate and got up to sing.
Croak. Cough. Tight throat. Warbling off key cause of hoarseness. Shut down equipment, I'll sing later. Yeah right.

It's 2 pm and I'm still in my jammies. It's 90+ degrees outside, too hot to walk. Do I do my Richard Simmons tape like I'm supposed to when I don't walk. Nope, by this time I'd gotten myself in a snit, feeling sorry for myself, questioning calling myself a writer. After all, writers write.

Now it's dinner time. Hubby comes home. I cry on his shoulder. I take a deep breath, tell myself everyone has days like this, and tomorrow is another day. But Tuesday was the one day in the week I'd scheduled appointments, so no writing was going to happen.

So what's the lesson here? Cut yourself some slack. Give yourself a break. Put down those whips. Trust your process. Maybe I needed a day of nothing. I'm writing this on Tuesday for posting Friday, so I can't tell you how the writing went the rest of the time. I'll save that for another post.

So what to do when nothing happens. Nothing. Just breathe and move on.
What do you do when nothing happens?



Vicki Rocho said...

Great reminder! It's okay to have a day of nothing or even a week of nothing.

When I skip a day or two at the gym and then go back, I do better than when I go every day. I can run further and faster. It's just better. Perhaps writing is the same way.

N A Sharpe said...

Excellent post, Karen. Somedays the intention is there, the time is there but you just can't seem to hit the creativity zone. Other days there are so many thoughts flooding the brain for the current work in progress and obligations take you in another direction and there doesn't seem to be time enough to get it all done.

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Just one of those days- you have to indulge yourself once in awhile, Karen.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's okay, Karen. Usually I end up with such a long to-do list I never get to the writing, as I tend to place it last. And some days, I just feel like a slug.

Ann Best said...

I'VE discovered that I need to put blog posting to the latter part of a day, and to write in the morning. To write FIRST. But it's easier to blog...and to do everything else first. But, we all have your kind of day. Relaxing just isn't easy, is it? I never plan a day ahead, partly because I never know how I or my daughter will sleep. Hang in there. You're doing great. You have a wonderful husband, and a wonderful life after a long life of trials. It's hot still here too but not as hot as the desert. Relief IS in sight.

And thanks for coming into my blog and congratulating me on finishing my revisions. YOU know how that feels. Now I'm trying to relax and read and exercise--really do need to do the latter.

Have a better day!

Mary said...

I do absolutely NOTHING! That's when things work themselves out for me. I might be able to say, "I will write on Tuesday." But I don't know when on Tuesday or what. It's just the way I'm wired.
Hope the rest of the retreat was a success.

Karen Walker said...

Vicki, I think writing, for me at least, is the same way. Thanks.
HI there, Nancy. Nice to see you here. Thanks. Intention is one thing. Follow through is something else altogether. I think I just needed a break from everything.
Rayna, yes, indulging oneself is essential. I'd forgotten.
Diane, yes, yes, yes. Being a slug is ok too.
Ann, I've tried that as well. But I can't seem to do it on a regular basis. Just need to get things off my to-do list before writing. Congrats again. Enjoy this respite.
Mary, the retreat wasn't successful in terms of writing productivity, but once I let go of needing to be productive, I felt bunches better.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

When nothing happens, I just go with the flow.

Karen Walker said...

That's very smart, Alex. I can learn from you.

Helen Ginger said...

I'm a bit like you. I chastise myself and then - finally - move on. If I can't write, I find something I can do and do it.

arlee bird said...

At least nothing is something. And it sounds like in your case your concept of nothing was actually quite a bit. On the upside, the blogging does entail a lot of writing and thought. I've been doing the same thing--blogging for many hours and not getting other things done. Maybe "nothing" is just a cleansing of mind, spriit, and body.

Tossing It Out

Mason Canyon said...

There are going to be days like that no matter what. I think on days like that my brain just needs some extra time so it takes it whether I want it to or not. LOL


Thoughts in Progress

Cyndi said...

I have those days a lot!! Well, in the past few weeks I've started doing exactly as you said. Put down the whips. We are flawed humans yet perfect as we are. If you were meant to write that day, it would have happened. Fighting the reality that it wasn't going to happen made you upset and ruined your day. Great example of a lesson I need to remind myself of all the time. Thank you and have a great weekend!!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I have had those days – more than I care to think about. I try to move past them, but an unproductive day has been known to keep me awake at night (a lot of good that does!). I hope the rest of your week went better.

Sharon Lippincott said...

One of the advantages of writing with pen and paper is that you can doodle until words happen. They always do. Or you can write, "I don't know what to write I don't know what to write I don't know what to write.... because my brain is empty mush and full of goo and I'll never be a writer because I can't think fo anything to rite and this is stuped and i know im my won worst kritik! That sorta stuff. That IS writing, dear friend. At least for me, it doesn't work the same on the keyboard. I love the feel of pen and paper for free writing, aka writing practice, and for journaling (is there a difference?)

Sharon Lippincott said...

P.S. I wrote before reading the other comments, and agree with all of them! We are all blessed by the way you so generously toss out angst for us to ponder collectively. There is more wisdom and love in your comment group than nearly anywhere. Beautiful!

The Old Silly said...

When nothing happens, for me ... well, I just do nothing, lol.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I think I have to get a timer to limit my blogging time...I guess I'm a slow reader/commenter...I could start reading/commenting at 8 a.m. and go until 10 p.m. If I want to do anything else I need to give my self a limit. I think a timer might do the trick. Then I could move on to writing ...and be more productive...But boy I sure enjoy reading blogs...

Patricia Stoltey said...

That's a good time to tend the worms, snap beans, or take a nap. :)