“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” Lorraine Hansberry
I love this bit of writerly wisdom. It reminds me that sometimes it’s enough just to think and be. So often, I’m focused on doing, accomplishing, getting things done, and moving forward, wherever that is, that I forget, it’s also important to sit and think.
Right now, things are quiet on the writing front. I’ve done all I can on one project and another isn’t going to happen for a while. So I’m in limbo. I’m having a series of quiet days.
Quiet days. Frankly, they’re making me a tad angsty. I feel I should be working away at something. When I do, I feel anchored and focused. Right now, I’m feeling unmoored, as if I’m drifting. Do you know that feeling? Like you are waiting for something to happen, but you are not sure what? Like you might just keep on drifting along and never be busy and productive again?
When I get this way, I remember a time when I was struggling with a play I was working on. It just wasn’t going anywhere. I was frustrated and upset with myself. I had other work that was moving ahead, but this project was stalled. Finally, I came up with a little plan. I decided that I’d sit with the play every Monday for an hour and see what happened. Just show up—that was my idea.
And that’s what I did. I just sat at my desk. I waited. I listened. I was quiet. I didn’t pressure myself to write. I just showed up. And one day, a whole scene dropped into my head. Something fresh and new—a gift from the universe. From that moment, I moved ahead again.
I’ve always felt that scene came to me, not just because I showed up, ready to work, but because I was willing to “sit a while and think”—to wait quietly. I showed my commitment, but also my calm. I was willing to be still, to receive and accept.
Sometimes we experience these slow periods. Like me, you may be in one right now. It can be scary—or freeing. We can remember that sometimes fields are allowed to lie fallow. They’re plowed, but left unseeded—they’re allowed to be inactive, so they can rest and replenish their strength. They’re given the gift of quiet days.
Quiet days aren’t quit days! If you’ve hit them, take heart (that’s you, too, Karin). We’re not giving up. We’re just resting and replenishing, watching and waiting. And soon, we’ll hit our stride again and write on!
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