I’m in a slump.
The Wisdom of the Willow is completed, polished, shiny and bright, awaiting publication; the momentum of writing an outline for my third book has slowed to a crawl; a documents file of half-baked writing projects has been left to bake further; and I can’t think of a thing worth reflecting on for any meaningful monthly blog post—except about being in a slump!
My hero writer, Dr Suess, puts it simply, “When you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”
That’s for sure!
But what’s the hurry? Why un-slump?
Unless, let’s say, you’re a baseball player, especially a pitcher. When in a slump, he experiences a downturn in performance. I, too, can relate, as my performance as a writer, my output, has taken a downturn. A groove I once had earlier this spring during a cold, rainy and grey spring spell has dissolved into swollen air of ninety-degree temperatures and humidity. The sun is higher in the sky, brighter to my eyes. One might consider this inspiring, but to my creative output, not so much. Writing production, once a surge since the beginning of the year, has recently come to a meandering drizzle of thoughts with no connection.
Being in a slump is, by definition, a reduction to a lower level. Ugh! My writing focus, usually on a “higher level,” is on alert for thoughts of meaning and connection. I rely on my writerly production to be in constant movement; it needs no piloting, as long as the direction trends up.
However, being in a slump is not bad. Why not take advantage of a new place to be?
It may have reduced me to a lower level, diverted me elsewhere, but it has also granted me time in another world, outside of writing.
The gardens have popped with color and the trees have unfurled their leafy fingers. How I’ve enjoyed slower observations of the landscape and have come to rely on them for organic reflection and inspiration. My slump has been an education on the right way to plant a tree (yes, there is right way), picking the right shrub for the right light, filling flower beds and pots in design of color and texture. My slump opened a door to learn more, to feed a curiosity, to grow in experience.
A TBR book stack nagged at me from a back seat. My slump has directed me to move a few to the front seat.
Perhaps when I am in a slump, I should consider the words of baseball great, Hank Aaron, who said, “My motto was always to keep swinging.”
Whatever your slump may be, take advantage of it. Perhaps it is no coincidence, but rather a sign to pivot elsewhere, to find some fun and a new adventure in your lower level. Whatever you do, keep swinging.
How do you un-slump yourself? Do you feel guilty because you aren’t in your “higher level?”