Writing Matters – When You Phone It In

I have an admission to make. I have, on occasion, these past few months been going through the motions with my blog posts. In our office it’s known as ‘phoning it in.’ It’s a half hearted effort, I’ve done the minimum and little more. I’ve been posting because I felt I had to as opposed to that I wanted to; I thought nobody would notice but it appears I’ve been underestimating the eagle eyed blogging community. They’re not fools.

My numbers have been dropping. It’s vanity, I know, but it’s also reassuring to see that people are reading and commenting on posts. It offers encouragement and the support and feedback guide me as to what people want me to write about. Just like a plant needs water, a blogger needs interaction and sounding boards to kick back off. Otherwise, it becomes a frustrating and largely futile task. Communication is a two-way street.

My posts have been flat and mundane. They have largely been tick-box exercises, blogging by numbers and on auto-pilot. The fire and passion that I normally feel stirring in my belly when I write has been sadly lacking. I haven’t wanted to write about anything close to my heart so I’ve just filled posts with fluff and inconsequential matters. I’ve been present but not a presence. I’ve been an empty vessel, a clanging cymbal.

The message has been missing and my mission has been a mess. I’m not quite sure why this has been. On paper, three months off work should have afforded me oodles of space within which to flex my creatives muscles. But I haven’t, other than finishing off the edits for my second novel. The lockdown has shut down the part of my brain that sparks and fizzes with new ideas and stories. I’ve shut up shop and turned my back on the challenge that a new writing project brings.

Returning to the workplace and a semblance of normality has helped although it has taken me several weeks to get back into the saddle. My focus and concentration levels were next to nothing to begin with but have improved in recent days to the point where I’m beginning to resemble a manager. Rusty cogs are starting to loosen and grind into life. I’m rediscovering my mojo, finding my rhythm. There’s life in this middle-aged dog yet.

The first green shoots of life emerged last week in the form of a post announcing a number of blog series I would be focusing on for the remainder of the train wreck that is 2020. Recent posts about my writing and OCD have attracted positive feedback. The blog is responding to treatment, it is stretching its aching limbs and clambering off the sick bed. I look forward to blogging again, whereas before it was an inconvenience, a necessary chore.

I also have been revisiting the pages of my favourite bloggers as well as discovering new sites. I’m reading more, which I feel is an essential area if one wants to improve as a writer. WordPress is no longer an irregular stopping point and I’m committed to delivering a quality product on a daily basis. It’s time well spent as opposed to wasted. I’m excited about what others have to offer and equally excited about what I’m serving up to you all.

So, I’m back, and I apologise for the average fare of recent months. I can, and will, do better. It’s 4th and inches and I’m going for it, hold back the punting unit. Writing is about taking chances, about exposing your soul in the hope that it reveals fresh insight to inspire others and offer hope to the broken. I no longer want to phone it in, to play it safe. I’m here and I’m ready to row across the great unknown towards fresh shores.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

30 thoughts on “Writing Matters – When You Phone It In

  1. Don’t beat yourself up, Steven. Lockdown has affected everyone in all kinds of ways. A common one is concentration. I read in the Guardian how some people could not concentrate on fiction, or only short fiction and poetry. And I do not think you have been sleepwalking through your blog.

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  2. You may be more sensitive to a drop-off than your readers. I’m not sure I noticed any. Plus, you post pretty consistently. I’m not sure how you do it. Life has a way of getting in the way for all of us. Anyway, I always look forward to seeing what you have to say. Continued good luck with the books.

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  3. I think we all have seasons where things flow better than others. The creative process isn’t something that can be pumped up or faked. You still have everything you ever did. When it’s time to chop wood, your axe will be sharp. I look forward to reading one of your ‘observations of life’ that quickly turns into an object lesson that smacks me right in the middle of my sense of community, decency or empathy. You’re still one of my favorites!

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  4. I think we’re all feeling the same way, every day jobs we did before this pandemic we did without any thought about doing it. Life has become very monotonous and we haven’t been getting our usual stimulation that makes the mundane bearable in normal circumstances. As I feel that I just don’t want to do anything.

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  5. Thank you for your honesty. Sometimes we all go through seasons where we go through the motions, because we lack energy. On these days if we just manage to keep putting one foot in front of the other, we’re doing good.

    And if we drop something, there is no shame in going back to pick it up later when we are able, rather than continue to soldier on half-heartedly. As an example I had planned to publish a post on Monday about hard work, but didn’t have the energy so put it off until today. I was passionate about what I was writing about but for some reason couldn’t push through the resistance until today.

    Keep on keeping on. Practice makes progress, and that’s how we grow.

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