“On this day of your life, Jemila, I believe God wants you to know that a point of view different from your own might be well worth entertaining. Sometimes it is not easy hearing an idea that is different from the one you advancing — yet it might be that second idea for which you were actually reaching for.

Answers sometimes arrive in more ways than one. Sometimes they come through us, and sometimes they come to us. You will not have to think but a second to know exactly why you received this answer today.”

– March 17 “Conversations With God” Email
I got that email yesterday ago. A day after I received some really “harsh” feedback from my supervisor concerning an article I’d written. It’s not easy hearing people critique your work, especially when you think that a piece of work is at its best. But take the pointers down I did. And then when I came home and read the above message, I figured I’d give the article rewrite a shot today.

Like everybody else, writers have good days and bad days. On a good day, you sit at a computer and the words flow out on their own accord. On a bad day, you sit at a computer and a sentence flows out every 30 minutes or so. Today, I sat at my computer and only got TWO sensible-enough sentences the ENTIRE eight hours I sat there! TWO! That has NEVER happened to me before. 

Normally, I can switch myself into writing mode by slamming the earphones on and finding the right music or radio station. But the tunes just weren’t doing it for me today. I tried, I promise, I really did. Impending deadline and pressure aside, I really tried to get into the insurance and risk mitigation mindset – I was supposed to profile a risk insurance agency – Usually, I’m able to fake it (aka sound intelligent and well-informed about a topic I just learned about a few hours prior to writing the article ) but somehow… I don’t even know. 
Towards the end of the day, my co-worker, editor and I were chatting and I mentioned how unproductive – or counter-productive as my co-worker said – today was. My editor stated that it happens sometimes. You just need to find the lede (introduction) and the rest of the article flows out. Which is generally true, the beginning of a project is usually the hardest. As we were talking, I realized this: my current pattern of “writer’s block” didn’t start just today. Today might have been the culmination, but it’s been going on for about a week and a half now.
I have two main policies I adhere to when it comes to personal writing and blogging:
– Never feel pressurized or obligated to write something, only write when inspired.
– If and when writing begins to feel like a chore, it’s time to switch things up. Writing (and learning) should be fun and stimulating!
These have been great for staying true to myself as a writer. But the thing is, they only work under “normal” circumstances. The past couple of weeks have been far from normal. True, I have been quite busy between trying to finish up interviews, cover the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, try to plan out the next year or so of my life, and have a social life. Normal, everyday, hectic life right? Problem is, my mental faculties were far from present. My mind was somewhere in the future, leaving the rest of me to deal with the work piling up.
It’s like sitting in a nice, comfortable car, driving around. Actually, you’re not driving, you’re being driven. Everything is going smoothly. You’re enjoying the scenery. The latest R&B sensation is crooning on the FM. My bad, the satellite radio. Everything’s going swell. Suddenly, someone throws ice cold water on your face. Wake Up! Yea. That’s exactly the kind of wake up call I had today. 
Morale of the Story: It’s okay to anticipate things in life, but it’s also important to make sure your head isn’t in the clouds while the rest of your (headless) body is wandering around clueless on earth.

I owe some people a number of apologies, and I’ll get back on rolling out those posts. Right now though, considering this is a letter to myself, thank you, but can I have my life back?


P.S. Come what may, we’re finishing that article tomorrow, so get your act together!