Off the Wagon

October 18, 2009 § 25 Comments

feature_consult1I admit it. I’m completely off the wagon: infrequent and poor writing, no submissions, no energy to blog. I feel a bit better knowing that some of my blogging buddies have also taken breaks, but still…I’m not happy.

The crazy upheavals at work (Extreme Makeover – Layoff Edition) and a reassignment to an unknown unit, boss and job have left me unsettled and emotionally exhausted.

But I do have a plan. As some of you know, I participated in Poetry Month – April – by writing a poem a day in a Writer’s Digest Poetic Asides PAD Challenge. Intense and productive, the program got my creativity churning.

Well, in November, Poetic Asides in sponsoring a PAD Chapbook Challenge. There’ll be 30 prompts, with a chapbook contest at the end. The contest I can do without, but the daily challenge I’m up for.

I’ve got two weeks to prepare for jumping back on the wagon. And I feel better about slacking off knowing the end is near, and this can be my “rest up and preserve your strength” phase.

Company is welcome – wanna join me? I’d also love to hear any helpful hints about getting back in shape. (And thanks for listening.)


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§ 25 Responses to Off the Wagon

  • […] Writer’s Digest Poetic Asides Chapbook Challenge begins tomorrow. I committed last week to getting back on the creative wagon, and have been remembering activities and experiences from April […]

  • Pamela, I’m a victim of day to day life as much as anyone. My creativity is stifled much more than it is stimulated. I always assume it’s just a passing phase and soon life will return to a more normal pace with less stress and more time to create. We just have to ride thorugh the hard times.

  • Vicki says:

    Seems we’ve all been overly busy and preoccupied lately …..myself included.
    I hope to be blogging with more regularity , so don’t feel bad…we just miss you and your talent! Hugs and happy writing!

  • alantru says:


    Hah. I’m kidding, of course. For what it’s worth (and it ain’t much) sometimes I find that after trying to chase an idea, I have to step back and let it find me. It usually does when I go for long walks and with no real intention of thinking about it. For me, that’s when the idea that I’ve been trying to find, drops by and introduces itself. Bring a notepad!

    Damn that sounds flaky.

    Or can you always just write down ridiculous lists… They can be fun.

    Alan’s Ridiculous List…

    Continue to not get a tattoo
    Hunt down Santa Claus
    Write world’s worst book
    Join snooty circus- My act: Golf Club Swallower
    Rid the world of bongs with design flaws
    Laugh till I pass out
    Reinvent the salt grinder
    Start an “All Sheep Hockey League”
    Try to incorporate words, “organ meat” into everyday conversations
    Convince a businessman to wear go-go boots
    Watch myself grow
    Capture a feral pixie and mercilessly tease it
    Get a life – or at the very least someone else’s via identity theft
    Something involving peaches, baking soda and organ meat
    Learn to read minds
    Learn to read lips
    Learn to read
    Fantasize about what life would be like if I had a third nipple
    Wonder if there was ever a “Lawrence of Albania”
    Dance for nasty, gun toting, old fashioned, movie cowboys
    Wait for the toga to make a comeback
    Form a Think Tank that only thinks about tanks
    Continue to stick non-toxic things in my pants
    Tell poignant story about organ meat

    • Wow. Tell a poignant story about organ meat. You had to go there, didn’t you?

      • alantru says:

        Hah. Yes. You know me! But I only did it because organ meats are loaded with vitamin B12 and potassium. I’m thinking of everyone’s health here. I guess I just care too damn much… ;)

    • I love this list! But I am stealing your idea and writing the world’s worst novel myself during NaNoWriMo. Now I think I’ll hop on this poetry month too, so I can take a break from the novel. So that’s my tip, Pamela – to get the writing flowing, I have to write. Now that I’m blogging less, I confess I’m writing less personal stuff, too.

      But Alan has a good point – sometimes it’s the times when I’m really “in the moment” that the best ideas come to me. That is, actually living and enjoying things, rather than sitting at my desk forcing it.

      I’ve really missed all of you. I know how dorky that sounds. Anyway, just checking in. :)

  • G says:

    About the only way I took a break from blogging, so to speak, was to go on a blog writing binge. This past summer, I got the urge and hand wrote about two dozen posts or so, which have been making their way through the blog since early September.

    No muss, no fuss and I can upload them whenever the need arises.

  • Neil Reid says:

    Hi Pamela! (Once more into the breach?) And so where’s that poem you wrote? Curious me.

    ONE I agree with Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones). There is no “writer’s block”. You write, or don’t write. No in between. No need. If you wanna write, write. If you don’t, don’t (don’t matter the reason). And no doubts, no beating yourself up if you sometimes choose, I’m doing (this) right now and I’m not writing now. Keeps it more honest I think, AND more makes you trustworthy to yourself in that way. Write? Pen, paper, write. Garbage will do just fine. There. That’s the rest of what I had to say.

    TWO Look at Fiona Robyn’s two blogs, a small stone and a handful of stones. Maybe something useful for you.
    One phrase or sentence, maybe two, maybe three, but very brief. That’s something I working with myself right now. Longer poems, sometimes harder to see. But one line, I always can find something that way. And writing is writing. Brevity has virtues, especially when writing otherwise seems slow to arrive.

    And “American Sentences”? Ginsberg kind of stepped that forward. American haiku of a sort. One line of 17 syllables, but I’m not much fond of rules in general. Stones are more my taste.

  • mary says:

    I want to jump in. Yikes.

  • seanfraser says:

    Pamela I’m thinking of you and sending a smile in your direction

  • beeha says:

    P.S. Pamela: I am going to follow your links to the poetry feast/month and see what’s what. I’ve never done such, but it sounds like a good thing: discipline to write is hard to come by sometimes, so I think it a good idea you will be doing this. I may see you there. Also, I must say, I agree with Neil and his comments about movement helping. Yes, any kind.

  • Julie says:

    A poetry month for you. I’m gonna try to bring my writing back to life with Nanowrimo. I hope to get my book unstuck from the middle and take it all the way to the end. So I say.

  • Neil Reid says:

    Pamela, I do understand what distress can be. At least, yea, also allow yourself not to write without further addition of complaint – be nice to yourself. That’s first. Then do as you want. Anything that means movement would be useful I think. You choose.

    Writing too. And now, not later. I’d agree with Sonya that way. Perhaps however, right now, especially if there’s confusion for you – write more briefly than you’re accustomed to. Write less words, but more directly by heart, or, honestly, whichever word means more to you. You know, through, not around. That might tend to let go any muddy thoughts. I trust that expression engenders more expression.

    Tend to think, observe, that you do like challenges (certainly more than me!). Might even join you on that month long prompt (foolhardy of me) (or frightening at the least) although I’ll be away a good part of November, so it’s only a definite maybe! (Time to study American Sentences, small stones and the like.) Do well for yourself. You have my ear.

    • Thanks, Neil, I’m sensing a theme. Take your time, but move. Don’t stay stuck. Got it. :-)

      A small poem did come today. I think it’s because of these delicate kicks in the ass.

      Study American sentences? What will you be doing?

  • beeha says:


    I, too, have been “off the wagon,” and just getting back with all sorts of writing, including getting back on the wagon. Come visit and read “If…Only If…” it will cheer you up. You might like the Na Na post as well … and even the clever UTube clip I included about Flying. Visit 2cob’s kitchen and apron gallery. Beaha’s makes all the aprons by hand. She’s so talented.

    I truly feel for you. I know what work upheaval is all about. I lost my job of 10 years 3 years ago and I have been “On the Wagon” and off ever since–with writing and with work. Just got laid off the latest low-paying job last Friday – but I’ve written more in these past few days than I have in months.

    I agree with Ashish about reading more and music as well. I’ve been doing much more of both as of late. I actually had to stop reading a really interesting piece about Dostoyevsky because it inspired me so much that I finished an article I had started. Work and changes in it causes much upsettedness (had to put a 2cobism in there), and it takes a while to acclimate the changes into your life…so you can find your muse and be again.

    Know I am thinking of you, and so is beaha; I told her about this post and we were most concerned. She’s a bit buzy with 5 foster children these days – I haven’t even gotten her to visit the new posts and pages on 2cob! She is so giving. As are you. And you will give through your writing again…and we will be listening.


  • Ashish Gajera says:

    When I feel like not writing, I read a lot. A lot of good stuff, that is. Prize-winning fiction and nice blogs. Slowly, I get a feeling that if I don’t write, I won’t get to the level I want to achieve. I won’t get better at writing. It works, almost always. Listening to the music of my choice is another alternative.
    Hope it helps, Pamela, to get you back on the wagon! :-) And yes, let me know if anything else works out for you.

    • I’ve never thought of that, Ashish, but you’re right. When I read more I start thinking about how I can improve or it makes me want to play with words and forms.

      Great suggestion. Thank you!

  • Sonya Feher says:

    Get The Practice of Poetry edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell. If you’re stuck, it’s got amazing exercises that get you to stretch beyond prompts. I’ve got an extra copy of the book I love it so much. You’re welcome to it. I think I’ll take the challenge with you next month too. But don’t wait until the challenge to start writing. Being off the wagon means every day feels like a hangover.

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