There is a of video showing Ellen DeGeneres crying at the intro to her (otherwise upbeat) talk show, saying that “today is a bad day.” She tells her audience that she’s been asked how she can go on when she’s sad.
Some days, some weeks, some months, are just like that. The show must go on. Ellen did.
For us, functioning on a less glamourous plane, this state is still familiar. What to do when there is no contract, no deadline set, and no external reason to go on? Creative folks have all encountered this. I sure have.
I've heard writers tell others to go for a walk, or set a manuscript aside for a time, or do something nice for themselves. Some swear by chocolate. Coffee works better for me. But then, I start my good days with it anyway.
Some think talk therapy is part of the answer, and there are therapists who specialize in plowing through and out of creative dry spells. I never had the budget for such, but I wouldn’t hesitate if I had.
There’s a third way, and it’s the only one that has worked for me. I call it “write anyway.” I have also told progeny, when they hit a wall, that you only know how to get out of a ditch by actually climbing out, a.k.a. doing it.
Something about grinding the wheels and suspending the critic inside (and the sabotaging voices outside) while creating, has been therapeutic for me.
It doesn’t actually matter that the results are not golden, the process is.
You’re back in it, and the stalled engine is starting to rev up.
Vroom--- vroom, go!