I love coffee. Sometimes people try to switch my coffee to decaf when I’m not looking. I can always tell the difference. I also like Pringles, but only the reduced fat kind because they crunch better when you bite into them and they don’t leave grease on your fingers. I’m…

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Last week, Sean and I had our morning coffee on the balcony and watched as the Enterprise shuttle was pulled down the Hudson on a tug boat. It’s on its way to the Intrepid and I can’t wait to see it up close at the museum!

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The Wall

I’ve hit the proverbial wall with writing. Well, I actually hit it a while ago…but I’m finally now addressing the issue. There’s a scene in Run, Fat Boy, Run where Simon Pegg’s character hits the runner’s wall. And he literally, in his exhausted delusional state, sees a brick wall in front of him which he peers through the cracks and sees himself on the other side urging him to break through. That’s how I feel. There’s a brick wall in front of me and on the other side I can see myself sitting with my laptop urging my other self to hurry up and start writing quality stuff again.

I used to spend much more of my days writing. And not just little descriptions of what I did that day, but short stories based on what had happened to me. I miss those…I feel like I had really hit my stride with that type of story telling.  And I want to make an effort to find that again.

It’s tough though…when I first moved to New York, I was very lonely. I had no concept of how little people actually saw each other…unless you worked together or lived within the same few block radius. Friends whom I had hung out with every day in college, I ended up only seeing once a month. If I was lucky. No one at work was my age, I didn’t like my roommates (at the time…not you, Lindsey!) and most of my friends lived either in Harlem or in Brooklyn. A lot of times I would go sit in Union Square and watch people. Watch everyone else with friends. Yes, I know…a bit self-deprecating, but aren’t we all at sometimes?

And then I discovered New York coffee shops. You weren’t expected to meet any friends there. No one cared if you were drinking alone or if you were meeting with a whole table full of people…they only cared if you sat at that table for too long taking up precious space.  And this is where I started writing. I had always been drawn to coffee shops, but here in my loneliest moments is when I used it to take myself back to times when I wasn’t lonely–whether that was earlier that same week or years earlier in college.

And now that I have many more friends and a very busy freelance job and a boyfriend/roommate whom I see and hang out with constantly and two dogs to care for…I guess that empty space that used to be there (that empty space which had to be filled with writing) no longer exists. And I think my art has suffered for it. I need to find a way to regain the need and the passion to write without sacrificing my happiness. Has anyone else hit these sort of walls? I mean, I’m sure we all have…but I’m curious if anyone has any suggestions.

3 Responses to “The Wall”

  1. TJ Says:

    My suggestion is to find some time where Sean can mind the dogs and simply disappear. Don’t tell any one where you’re going (which is probably not safe) and see if you can wind up someplace where you’ve never been before (which is definitely not safe.) On your way, take the time to observe life as it unfolds and, when you get there, perhaps you’ll have found something to write about. The point of this, obviously, is to create some “You” time and attempt to recreate the a bit of isolation which, whilst sad for the social life, is also sadly good for the creative side. It’s in this strange place - the solitude amounts the masses - that I find many of our great ideas our born.

    Your predicament, for what it’s worth, is not entirely surprising. You, as I recall, are an introvert, which is fairly par for the course for actors and artists, whose creative processes often work from the inside out.. Consequently, you get a lot of your energy - at least your creative energy - from quality alone time where you are free to sit and process all the wonderful things in life. With a full calendar, you are both spending more energy and finding fewer resources to build it back up. It’s no wonder, then, that you find inspiration lacking of late. Of course there’s no reason that you can’t be happy with planner full of events and a fairly anemic notebook. Just because you live in the City doesn’t mean you have to be Jack Kerouac. But just like this website, and your odd-looking puppy, and your massive collection of shoes, if it’s something you’re passionate about, I’m sure you’ll find a place for it.

  2. Merry Says:

    Colleen, we’ve all hit this wall. Whether it’s in the middle of a story or in between stories - it happens.

    I agree with TJ, give yourself some scheduled seclusion time. Whether that means hitting a coffee shop where no one knows you, or going to the library - and then it’s ass in the chair and write. The whole, what if it’s no good thing, is paralyzing. You have to write through it - think to yourself that it just doesn’t matter if it sucks as long as you get something on the page. The only way to get your stride back is to write through it.

    The problem with us writers is that so much of what we do is mental gymnastics that we can spend months just mulling things in our heads without getting anything down on the page. Go write something.

    If you want, I’d be happy to push you. Give yourself an amount of time a week or page count you’re aiming to hit, and I’ll keep checking in with you to see if you’ve kept on schedule. I know it works for me when I have someone to answer to :-)

  3. Colleen Says:

    Hey guys,

    Thanks so much for the input. I definitely need to find some more “me” time outside of the house. Unfortunately, my next couple of months are INSANE. But any amount of push or goals is definitely a good thing. I’m trying to think what a good goal is weekly.

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