Hitting the Wall

April 7, 2009 § 10 Comments

car_in_wallI hit the wall yesterday – hard and head on. Arrogant me.  NaPoWrMo? A poem a day for 30 days? No problem.


On day 6, I looked at the prompt and  felt…irritated, bored, frustrated. I cranked out two lazy poems and threw up my hands. Then I began to get in touch with what was really going on: I had reached the limit of my usual creativity and was scared I had nothing else to write.

I’ve been an emotional poet, someone who uses it as a tool  when other writing forms don’t work. Never challenged before to output daily, I panicked. If I continued, I would have to stretch.

Second issue? Reading all the other poems on the site – boundless, endless, prolific (you get my drift) and niggling, drifting, squeezing self-doubt entered…I can’t write like that…no one likes my work…why don’t I get any comments…my work’s no good…you can see the spiral.

Here’s what I like about myself – if I see it, I can correct it. So what if I have to stretch? That’s what this is about. And if other people’s work intimidates me, I can do what I tell others – don’t read it. Just do your own work and move forward.

So I am.  Am I alone in this? Do you ever hit the wall and what do you do when those negative voices get loud?

Here’s today’s poem; the prompt is “something clean.”

“Before Sleep”

Now I lay me

down to sleep, I pray

the Lord my soul to keep/

As I die/ or if/ or when/ what do I/



Will I drift/  


whisper curls of fragrant cedar/

 my daughter’s tears/

A blue jay’s cry/mailbox tipped/empty


And who will hold my

mother’s past/trapped in rusted


fire box/broken latch/


rustling leaves


When I am/

wiped clean  



Writer’s Digest prompt April 7, 2009

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§ 10 Responses to Hitting the Wall

  • […] I hit the wall about a week and a half in – threw up my hands and had a fit. But this time I expect it, and […]

  • Neil Reid says:

    I still feel like I’m ever catching up, including the breadth and depth of your blog. No matter.

    I appreciate the route you wandered to arrive at the stated quest of this poetic challenge. And the arrival is quiet and breath-taking, both. Lovely to read. So much is said yet unspoken with a single brush of your hand.

    And yes, praise can be as deadening as unkindly criticism. Accept both as you would a leaf falling from a tree. Still, a little sweetness is sweet. Sugar wasn’t invented for nothing, I think. Write what you write – fine I think. Your writing is neither lazy or unskilled. Domino’s comment is well expressed. Reckless, that’s a good word too. (And if you’ve seen much from that other website of mine, you’ll know I’m no stranger to a too sweet drivel myself, but for me that’s how I had to begin!)

  • Oh, CA, in fact it cheers me up to know I’m not alone. Let’s hang in there together! And thank you for dropping by.

  • CA says:

    I’m sure you don’t want to hear this, but I’m glad someone else has self-doubt about their work (not that you should, I like your clean poem. A nice twist on clean.) I decided to participate in the Writer’s Digest Poem-A-Day, like you, to force myself to write every day and in a format I don’t usually use. To try and challenge myself. So now we can challenge ourselves, together.

  • Mary Miller says:

    I’m reading but being lazy about responding. Keep on writing…

  • DOMINO says:

    Yes! Have all the medication you want — it’s jelly beans!

  • DOMINO says:

    After several hours of writing and rewriting my response to your post, I am issuing a brief diagnosis:

    Other people’s writing is not diminishing you, and popularity is not synonymous with merit. Those are phantoms.

    In my opinion, what has happened is that these “clean/dirty” and “list-making” prompts set your synapses off into a short-circuit frenzy of left-brain thinking.

    Comparisons, classifications, categorizations, or dichotomous, diametrical thinking inhibits one’s creativity and attacks the self-esteem with punitive savagery.

    Your prognosis is good, however. I prescribe a strict diet of unstructured playfulness, excessive emotional displays, sweet foods, sky-gazing, imaginative frolicking, and long naps.

    • You’re completely right, Dr D. And you’re hired – forever.

      Can I have my medication now? (I do most of your prescription way too frequently.) Or will that dampen my creative flow? :-)

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