Writer's Block or Midlife Crisis?
Updated: Jan 29, 2021
This is the fourth or fifth time that I’ve started and desperately tried to finish this blog. Some would call it a proverbial case of Writer’s Block while others would say it’s a midlife crisis in the making. Based on all of the back and forth, ups and downs and in the words of the late, great Luther Vandross…“the changes I’ve been going through…”
The Year of the Pandemic (2020) was good to me, overall, I must say. Through it all God has provided a hedge of protection for my family against any illness, violence, unwelcome incidents, and coincidences. He kept food on our table, a roof over our heads and provided financial favor, when we least expected. On the flip side, it was also a year of emotional turmoil, personal reflection, and change. Lots and lots of change. The uncertainty that 2020 served up caused me and a lot of us, I’m sure, to take inventory on our lives. For starters, I blew the dust off my Bucket List and started to prioritize the things that I knew I absolutely had to get in, just in case the good Lord saw fit to call me home early, along with the countless others who have suddenly and unexpectedly perished. One of these things was trying my hand at being a DJ. Yes, I, a 51-year-old mother, writer, and yogi, but also a lover of all genres of music, have always wanted to try my hand at spinning, scratching, mixing, and moving the crowd! So, with the blessing and backing of my family, who seemed amused at the prospect of “DJ Mom,” I started DJ Academy. So far, so good.
Another major change involved me retiring my cotton thongs for seamless granny panties and my front snap support bras for less-supportive wireless ones. I also gave away most of my heels and settled for lower, chunkier heels and fashion sneakers; all of this, after years of being a slave to fashion for so much of my adulthood. And while comfort has always been key for me, it took center stage in this crazy year of quarantine. Call it mindful transition, if you will, but yoga pants, comfy t-shirts (bra optional) and fluffy slippers and socks have become “a girl’s best friend.” And I’m sure I’m not alone. I also decided to let my grays grow in and underwent an outpatient medical procedure that I had needlessly and carelessly put off for months -- to the detriment of timely healing.
And while my ghostwriting business flourished with clients whose, own bucket lists included tasks and dreams they had put on hold, like writing their memoirs, autobiographies, novels, and novellas, my desire to oblige them with my time and talent stalled in a major way. Instead, I subconsciously chose to trade keystrokes for cocktails, socially-distanced soirees with girlfriends, long walks in my neighborhood and strenuous bike rides on my Peloton. My screen time nearly doubled, no doubt, due to my constant social media scrolling in search of anything that would provide inspiration and comic relief at the same time. I stopped chasing down clients who had paid in full but failed to produce. Instead, I focused more on my "goal-digging clients," as well as my own self-care in the form of fulfilling my own wants, needs and guilty pleasures.
My desire to write came in spurts and while productivity prevailed for the most part, I also felt overwhelmed by the pressure to perform while trying to absorb everything going on around me – from the ugly politics surrounding the elections, to the rising racial tensions in the aftermath of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor murders, to the death and destruction caused by the increase COVID-19 19 cases. With the sudden deaths of a few good friends and family members (some COVID-related), I hit another roadblock -- one of many to come. My once productive writing sessions took a backseat to other not-as-productive activities.
One day as I stood there in the midst of strangers with the sun beaming down, reflecting off - my face shield, to pay homage to a man, who served his country honorably and loved his family without limits, it hit me. I had a light bulb moment, as Oprah would say. It was one of many I’ve had in my 51 years of life. But this one was different because it was more of a full circle moment that carried me back to the memory and emotions I felt when my own father was laid to rest in the very same place and manner. That was the moment my “block” or “crisis,” if you will, turned into my breakthrough. Much like the “block” I had back in 2013 when I realized that my Daddy was never coming back and I would never hear his commanding voice again or witness the splendor of his contagious smile. I remember sitting there paralyzed for hours, which turned to weeks, before I finally pulled myself together and sat myself down to write the book (Path to Peace, A Guide To Managing Life After Losing A Loved One) that everyone said I should write. The book that changed my life forever and put me on the literary map.
Writing at the time not only healed me, but it made me whole again and thrust me into what I know now is my God-given purpose – to write and to help others who have incredible stories but may not have the time or talent to write them. To tell their stories through the written word and through my ghostwriting and consulting services has been my primary focus and reason to get back into the saddle again. Yes, that period of grief, mixed with turmoil and tinged with mindful transition was the beginning of something beautiful, just as it is now.
So, as I sit here pouring myself onto this paper (I usually write my blogs out first before I type them), I know now that my stagnation or stall was not necessarily Writer’s Block and definitely not the beginning of a midlife crisis (at least I hope not). Instead, my stall was actually my BREAKTHROUGH! The 21-day fast that I participate in every year with my church (Concord Church - Dallas, TX) and usually renege on the 7-10 days in (I’m not proud to admit), helped to re-confirm my purpose and provide clarity on my next steps. My upcoming digital detox, I pray, will further reinforce that clarity and increase my keystrokes at the same time. All things considered, my stall in productivity has birthed a new spurt of creativity and intentionality, which has me excited more than ever to write, create and incite! Stay tuned and get your popcorn ready!