Stuck and Unstuck

When we last left Betsy, she was shouting the plans she had for her writing business from the rooftops.  But then…nothing. 

Hmmm.

In all honesty, part of the reason for the nothingness was an extremely bad cold that hit Betsy HARD right after she made those bold proclamations.  Bad colds have a tendency to do that kind of thing.  In the same way that household appliances, such as water heaters, break right at exactly the worst time.

And part of the reason for the nothingness was that once she stops writing blog posts, Betsy sometimes has a hard time getting back into them.  Deciding what to say is a bit difficult when she gets out of the flow.

And PART of the reason she vanished is because Betsy told herself that she didn’t want to use her creative time and energy to write blog posts, although that was undeniably an excuse to make herself feel better about being lazy.

But still, there should have been some word by now, right?  Has Betsy been working at all?  Has something gone wrong?

Let’s see…

 

*Betsy is walking alone in a dark forest, in a thicket of vines and thorns and weeds that claw and bite and obstruct her way* *Trees rise before her in the darkness, their branches knit together overhead to block the sky*  *Dense shrubbery bars her way*  *Roots and rocks trip her up as she tries to walk forward*  *Betsy falls*  *Forces herself to stand up again*  *Holds hands in front of her to try to find her way, rips at the plants to make space to get through*

*Betsy stops*

*She turns to the left, to the right, in a circle* *Nothing* *Just darkness* *And weeds* *So many weeds*

I don’t know where I am! *Betsy claps her hands to her face* I’m lost!  I’m alone!  I don’t know where I am!  I don’t know where I’m going!

Sheesh.  Drama queen much?

Muse?  Is that you?  *Betsy blinks into the darkness*

Who the heck did you think it was?

I thought I was alone. *Betsy holds out her hands* *Catches the Muse’s robe*  I can’t see you.  I can’t see anything.

Why did you stop?

Why?  Why?  *Betsy’s fingers clamp down on the robe*  Because I’m lost.  Duh.

Hmm. *The Muse sounds contemplative* How did that happen?  I thought you were following a path.  I thought you had everything all planned out before you started writing this book.  That’s what you said anyway.

*Betsy pouts* *Lets her hands drop* I did…well, I thought I did.  But once I started, the path just faded away and all of this undergrowth popped up. Maybe I started at the wrong point and I need to go back and start over.

You’re doubting yourself.

Maybe.  *Betsy pouts* *Kicks at weeds*

And BECAUSE you’re doubting yourself, you made some wrong turns.

Maybe. *Betsy pouts* *Lip wobbles*

And MAYBE because you didn’t believe you had the right starting point and then you didn’t believe you had the right ending point, you got yourself stuck in the middle.  And now you don’t know where you came from or where you were going because you didn’t trust the path you’d laid out.  So you stopped.

Maybe.  *Betsy pouts*  But I was walking forward and this…thicket just sprang up and blocked the path! And the trees sprang up and blocked the sky!  And then I couldn’t see where I was supposed to go or what was ahead so I didn’t know if I was heading in the right direction!

You might have been heading in the wrong direction, but it was still a direction.  As opposed to, you know, now.  When you are heading in NO direction.

I guess.  *Betsy pouts*

And all of these plants didn’t just spring up out of nowhere.  Their seeds had to be sown first.

Oh.  *Betsy thinks*  So…you’re saying I planted them?

What do you think?

I think it’s not fair.

So?

*Betsy pouts, but she also thinks*  So, maybe I got lost in writing because I’m doubting and second-guessing myself.  And maybe because I’m doubting and second-guessing myself, I got stuck.  And maybe if I’m doubting and second-guessing myself in my writing, it’s because I’m doubting and second-guessing myself in other places, too.  And that makes me stuck all over the place.  And when I’m stuck, I’m not going anywhere.

Your writing is a reflection of you.  Weeds don’t just stay in one part of the garden.  If they’re there, they get into it all and choke everything out.

Oh. *Betsy thinks* Then how do I get unstuck?

How about you just take a step forward?  One little step.

*Betsy tries* *Vines wrap themselves around her ankles to hold her*

It’s hard!

Duh.  But you might want to know that you’re almost at the end of this draft.  You’re almost finished with this part of the project.  A few more hours of dedicated struggle and you’ll be there.

Really?  *Betsy blinks*  I don’t see anything.

Maybe not up ahead, but turn around.

*Betsy turns*  *Looks behind her*  *Sees a path laid through the weeds and the forest*  *It’s broken in places, but it’s there, glowing in the darkness*

Oh!

See?  You actually did make progress.  The path is rough, it needs work, maybe it needs a lot of work, but it’s basically there.

The weeds—

They’re trying to choke you out.  They’re trying to stop you.  That’s the test.  Can you keep going in spite of the weeds you planted yourself?  Can you keep pressing through when you are doubting yourself and don’t think you’re getting anywhere?

So I should keep going?  Stop second-guessing?

Yes.  *Betsy still can’t see her, but she knows the Muse is smiling*  Keep going.  Just move.  Just write.  Worry about the details later.

*Betsy thinks*  Okay.

 

To be continued…

 

 

Comments

  1. http://Athena says

    Sometimes those seeds of doubt come so thick and fast that you feel like you need 8 arms just to keep batting them away. Sometimes it’s so insidious that you don’t even realize it’s gaining on you until you realize you’re struggling just to keep breathing. Sometimes it’s just so very hard to believe you do have a way forward and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is all true in so very many ways. I feel your pain.

    • http://Betsy%20Horvath says

      I’ve definitely gotten myself all turned and twisted around somehow. But I have to keep reminding myself that I *have* made progress if I take a deep breath and look for it. I just don’t always see it.

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