The Quicksand

Quicksand

The more I fight it, the faster I sink.

My heart beats faster—but not in an excited, happy way. More like anxiety.

For months, I punched these keys. Almost every day. Bouncing between the past and the present and the totally inconsequential in an attempt to paint the picture of one average guy trying to make his way in the world after everything changed.

I thought maybe it could help me.

I thought maybe it could help someone like me.

And maybe it still can.

But something’s broken now. Something related to my writing and thinking and ability to produce is broken.

It doesn’t feel like cutting back. Like some necessary rest and relaxation.

It feels like sinking.

It feels like failing.

I want to be a writer. That’s who and what I want to be.

I am a father. I am a divorced guy. I am a friend and a son and a co-worker.

I know I am those things.

I don’t know that I’m a writer.

You’re not a writer if you don’t write. You’re not a writer if you can’t write. If I’m not practicing my craft… if I’m not growing and learning and discovering and experimenting… then I’m nothing.

I won’t have only become what I always feared most, personally—a failure at marriage.

I will have also become what I’ve always feared most professionally as well—a nobody. Just another punk in a cubicle.

Some of you are going to want to say nice things. You’re going to want to electronically pat me on the back and encourage me.

“Hey Matt! It’s totally okay! Take a break!”

“Hey Matt! It’s totally okay! You post way more than I do!”

“Hey Matt! It’s totally okay! I work in a cubicle, too!”

Please don’t.

There needs to be more to life than punching the proverbial clock wearing business casual.

We spend more than half of our waking hours sitting around offices and doing laundry and washing dishes and mowing grass and dusting window sills and vacuuming carpet and running a bunch of errands all the time. Half of those errands are because we want to own all that shit we’re maintaining and going to work for so we can finance having it.

It sounds so insane to me when I put it that way. And I don’t take it back. That’s exactly what most of us are doing.

I think that can be a very good thing for a family raising children. Stability and routine are nice things. Safety and reliability should not be taken for granted.

But for a guy like me?

The 50-percent dad?

It feels like a wasted life.

And don’t tell me it’s okay. Don’t enable me. Don’t say it’s okay to short-change our future selves. Because it’s one of the worst things we do as people. Sacrifice our futures for the now.

If I am the sum of my choices, then I am a punk in a cubicle because of those choices.

If I want to be something more, I need to make better choices.

In Over My Head

Several months ago, I wrote a post about writing—about how I wanted to be more than just a guy writing marketing copy for someone else.

A guy who used to read these posts but doesn’t anymore told me I needed to check myself.

That most of the people reading here are writers. And all of us dream of being able to pay for our lives writing the things we want.

About how hard and impractical that is.

About how most of us fail to achieve that.

That it might be time for me to reevaluate my goals. Lower my expectations. Dream smaller, if you will.

And maybe he was right. Maybe we’re all a bunch of foolish dreamers. A bunch of nobodies destined to stay nobodies.

Maybe I’ve been in quicksand this entire time. And maybe now I’m finally in over my head.

Maybe I’m trying to force something that really isn’t there.

Maybe I should just be happy with what I have.

Isn’t that what we’re all really chasing anyway? Contentment? Happiness?

But I’m not content.

I’m not happy.

The only thing I can think of to write about is writing and how much of it I’m not doing.

I don’t know how to escape the quicksand.

Just like I didn’t know how to fix my marriage. The harder I tried, the worse I made it somehow.

I can’t do that here.

I can’t keep forcing posts just to be feeding that ‘Publish’ button.

Maybe I need to step away for a bit. To go analog. To write with a pen and paper. Making notes for the book project. Making notes about all of the things I want to do or learn about or think about or experience and eventually write about.

Maybe that reader and commenter was right about me. About us.

That we are who we are. And acceptance is the key to making peace with it.

That things are just the way they are and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Maybe that applies to everything.

That we shouldn’t try to improve our schools.

That we shouldn’t rethink the way we approach our relationships which fail half the time.

That we shouldn’t try to fight disease and crime and poverty.

That we should merely accept these as facts of life.

Maybe sometime I’ll think and feel just like that.

But not today.

“Are you feeling, the feeling that I’m feeling?

Dreams are like fish. You gots to keep on reeling.”

 – Dreamin’, G. Love & Special Sauce

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85 thoughts on “The Quicksand

  1. Wow. Yes to all of this.

    Of course, I want you to do the opposite: keep writing, keep fighting, and try to get your previous blogs/essays published as a column on Huffington Post or somewhere like that!

    Like

  2. panikikubik says:

    Well, I challenge you by commenting. Even if you don’t want to.

    You’re feeling like shit. Ok. But your still here. Right? That’s a choice you have the power to take. Sometimes life hurts.
    My boyfriend just erased me two days ago. It hurts. I’m divorced. I will always miss the familything. But I have my boys and I’m a good friend to their father. It’s a different life. But I’m no failure. No way. My boys don’t see me as a failure. They are proud of me. They are proud of their father.
    Like your son is about you.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I don’t want to mislead. I don’t feel like shit. There is simply a seismic shift in the way my brain is processing information as I transition from a guy who was totally losing his mind, to a guy returning to functionality.

      I’m so much busier “living” now. I used to fill every spare second writing and thinking and responding to comments here.

      I can’t do that now. And I’m not sure I want to be doing that. And I sort of feel bad about the group of people who have been reading things here with a certain set of expectations.

      And now, I have no idea what tomorrow will look like here.

      But I’m not quitting. No way.

      You had your first relationship after your divorce just end a few days ago? Ugh. That sounds positively wretched. I’m very sorry to hear that.

      And no. You’re most certainly not a failure.

      Like

      • panikikubik says:

        Every breakup where you have where you trust in it lives you broken and feeling like a fool, torned apart.
        Feel free to read my post http://panicyesterday.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/it-takes-courage-to-feel-helpless/

        I got divorced seven years ago. I gone through so much guilt and sorrow. You learn to live with it. And the most important thing is – you’re not ever losing your son because of the divorce.

        You miss the kids when they are at the other parents house and vice versa for theother parent. But ypu don’t lose them. This evening my 18 year old son is home and where having a great evening. And I’m whole. I’m happy.

        It will maybe be difficult to find a new partner who understands the bond you have with yur children ( I’ve been writing about that too in “About dating a parent”)
        When I read ypur comment I got a feeling that it’s first now that you are really starting to heal. That’s good.

        Thank you for taking your time to answer.

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  3. So, you state that either you write or your don’t. That either we save the world or we don’t. That we spend our life being responsible or we don’t.

    I completely and totally disagree.

    “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little.”

    Yes, I spend half or more of my waking days working and running errands and cleaning the house, and yes, I believe that my son will be a better person if he is raised with stability in his life – but you discount the fun that we have. The little moments that take my breath away because we found a box full of hats and took a group selfie. The moments we spent walking around a farmers market exploring local people and foods. The moments that I get to sit and have a coffee because I’ve dropped him off at a birthday party. Maybe it’s your attitude that needs worked on, not your writing.

    Balance.

    Like

    • Yvonne says:

      I agree with a lot of what Kate @ Did that just happen stated. We can’t just give up on our dreams or stop following our dreams because of how small or unimpactful we may sometimes feel in the large scope of things. Sure it would be awesome to “hit it big” in the writing field, what writer doesn’t dream of that? But even if we don’t, does that make it less significant even if all we did was truly touch the lives of a handful of people or even just one person through our writing? Too me, that’s still pretty darn awesome and impactful! I hope you’ll continue on :-)

      Like

      • Matt says:

        I pray I don’t come off like I have delusions of grandeur. I most certainly do not.

        What I do believe I can achieve, though, is finding a way to make enough money writing where I don’t have to sit in a corporate office building on someone else’s schedule.

        And to whatever extent people have been positively affected by the little I’ve written to date is an incredible thing to me. I don’t take that for granted.

        And I’m not going to quit.

        I’m just whining because things are changing again, and just like all the other times, I am totally unsure how to deal with it gracefully. :)

        Like

        • Yvonne says:

          I definitely don’t think you have any delusions of grandeur and mostly I’m happy to hear you’re not quitting. I completely understand what you mean about being in the midst and the huge uncertainty and vulnerability I’m sure that brings with it. You’re doing great Matt and I know there are many like myself just really enjoying the journey and connection with you. :-)

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    • Matt says:

      My attitude FOR SURE needs worked on! I have all kinds of attitude problems. ;)

      Please understand. My comments about being an office worker were directed EXCLUSIVELY toward myself. Because I don’t want to be one, and I am, so it feels sucky.

      There are people who WANT to be office workers. Because it’s safe and steady and reliable and provides money to pay for necessary things.

      Those people are huge successes. Just like you.

      Like

      • Of course, my office is my living room, or my dining room or my actual office… so, it’s a bit different for me! But, that isn’t what defines me. What I’m doing with my life does, or I like to make sure that is how people remember me, and not for the job I have.
        Good luck on your attitude adjustment ;)

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  4. I can’t help wondering, Matt – if you are struggling, it’s with some part of yourself, right? So, let go. Step back from the blog. Test it out. Give yourself permission to take a break. And when you are ready to come back, allow yourself to do that. Or not. It’s all good.

    Like

  5. Kerry says:

    Could it be possible you’re right in the middle of a transition from something? From something old, but not yet completely in something new? An awkward, anxious emotional space? You know…’one door closes…’
    Do what feels right…chase your dreams though ’cause that’s what will fill the space with something fabulous.

    And by the way, I’m not a writer, I still read & love your writing! <3

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I am absolutely in the middle of a transition.

      I don’t like not knowing where I’m going. Especially now that it’s affecting my writing. :)

      Thank you so much for the nice compliment.

      Like

  6. Cay says:

    I’m having phases where my mind wanders off in the same direction where yours is heading right now. And then something happens, that makes me fairly content again. I am a restless soul, I think I always will be.

    But lets stick to the blog a bit. I had been blogging for close to a decade in my mother tongue, and had my ups and downs, including some minutes of fame and media attention now and then. But in the end the blog began to feel like dead weight around my foot. And I couldn’t quite shake it off, because there were all these people that kept wanting updates and posts and that ‘relied’ on me to produce something, and I drained my inspiration completely. So I basically stopped, except for the odd post every few months when something happened that inspired me to write something. The readers left, well, most of them anyway, only a few hard-core fans remained. And I somehow didn’t really care.

    During this phase I had time to think about other things than just the next blog post. And I eventually realized that I actually wanted to write something completely different. I wanted to write fiction.

    Four months into my manuscript, I got to say that this kind of writing gives me something more than my blogging did. They serve different purposes and cover different needs, perhaps. But I like my new writing. I enjoy it again.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I understand exactly what you mean. And I think once I get a little deeper into my book project, I may feel better about all this.

      For now, it’s just page after page of scribbled notes in my notebook and a few thousand words I may not even use.

      *shrug*

      I need to keep pushing there.

      Like

      • Cay says:

        Thousands of words you may never use is not really a problem. It’s rather a resource. I think that’s part of the revising process and in my opinion it’s better to have too much than too little.

        Just…you know…do whatever you want with the blog. Don’t worry about it. Don’t feel obligated. You don’t really owe us anything. Or use us to bounce off ideas with. Let us read excerpts and give constructive criticism.

        And yes, keep pushing.

        Like

  7. mjmsprt40 says:

    I have a hard enough time writing replies to other people’s posts. I don’t want to think about my last post and how long that’s been. No, I don’t mean the re-post of your post– I mean my last actual, all by myself post. It’s been awhile.

    I think about people like John Kass and Richard Roeper, guys who go to work every day and churn out yet another column that hopefully makes you want to turn to the page their columns appear on and read what they wrote— and marvel at this because I can’t generate stuff more than once or twice a month. Good thing I don’t have to live by my writing, I’d starve if I did that. (I’m a driver for an expedited service, as it happens.)

    But, I dream about it anyway, the day when people will actually be willing to reach into their wallets to help a struggling writer (namely me) generate yet another gem of writing. Without dreams— well, let’s not think of that, shall we?

    Like

  8. mel says:

    Well, for forcing it, this was a very smart post, Matt. I do have to disagree with you that if you “don’t write” you are not a writer. If you ever wrote, if your words ever touched someone, even in the tiniest way, you are still a writer. If you aspire to write, I believe you are a writer. Even if you do publish garbage for a few weeks (which I do not believe you are capable of), you are still a writer.

    If I have this baby comes and can’t write anything again until she’s 5 years old, you better not tell anyone I’m not a writer. I’ll drive my happy ass up there and kick yours!!! ;) LOL!

    In very unique ways, everyone on earth battles himself regarding acceptance and fulfilment. You accept what cannot be changed. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it forever. You accept it when there is no other option. But life goes on and options will show up along the way. Life will surprise you. Today, you need that job. But, you have no idea what next year, or even next month could bring.

    We are very different writers, but I find inspiration through connection and conversation. Listen to some new music. Take pen to paper, like you said. Doodle, jot down words you like, write something just for you maybe, or a letter to someone you cherish. I DON’T think you should take a break from writing. In fact, I think this is when you have to push yourself to write even more. But writing outside your blog might cure your writers block. Writing outside your norm can be very inspiring sometimes!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      All that stuff about not writing was totally directed at the guy I see in the mirror, Mel.

      Busy moms miraculously bringing life into this world are not the people I’m talking about. ;)

      Thank you for that suggestion and the encouragement. I do think writing away from the blog is going to be important. But I need to actually do it. (and my work stuff doesn’t count.)

      Like

  9. This is not a comment of encouragement or discouragement. It’s a St. Bernard wearing too-small of a sombrero.

    Like

  10. The question is not ‘will I become a writer?’; but rather ‘what type of writer will I become?’
    Blogger – columnist – feature writer – book author
    The answer is there somewhere within you.

    Like

  11. nights7 says:

    In the words of AWOLnation “It’s not supposed to be easy. That’s why it feels so fucking good.”
    Or: anything worth doing is hard….I’m not sure if someone else said that or if I made it up but it’s true.
    Nothing is going to be easy or fun or good all the time.
    If you want to do or be something you have to find a way to do it even when it’s tough. There’s no magic formula, you just have to trudge through until it gets easier again.

    Maybe figuring out what being a writer means to you would be a good first step. Does it mean writing every day? Getting published? Getting paid?
    I don’t consider myself a writer or want to be. I’m just a girl with a blog & that’s enough for me (writing wise at least).
    So was Elbrookman the guy who told you to check yourself?
    I miss his comments on your posts.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      You’re too funny.

      I miss Elbrookman, too! He remains the only guy to ever stir shit up here.

      It was not Elbrookman. It was nice man out west who writes a blog called “A Map of California.”

      Like

  12. Sometimes it’s easy; sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes the words are just there and sometimes they’re not.

    There are books and books and BOOKS about how to get over that hump, but there are so many of them because they’re not one-size-fits-all. It’s something you have to discover for yourself.

    Maybe step back for a bit and see if you’d like to reinvent things. If you’d like to change things up at the blog, or maybe blog here, say, twice a week and write for submission elsewhere twice a week, or if you’d like to try some freelance work, or…hell. The possibilities are endless.

    Make some lists. I find that paper’s best for lists, but maybe you like typing them. That’s your call. What do you love about writing? What are you NOT loving about writing? How can you get back to what you’re loving? Is it taking a break, writing through it, writing something else, writing elsewhere, trying a different medium (fiction, poetry, etc.)?

    Above all? (I’m going to yell at you. I realize we don’t know each other well enough for me to do this. Doing it anyway. I’ve had a day; I get to yell a little today.)

    STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF, MATT.

    There. Yelling over. Not that bad, was it?

    The words will come. Those of us with the words never really lose them, I’ve found. Sometimes they’re just harder to get in the right order. All will be well.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      You feel free to yell at me anytime you want.

      And yeah, I think the words will come. But I don’t like wandering aimlessly, unless I’m having one of those “Get lost on purpose” adventure-y moments.

      Big-picture, I like having my eye on something and heading that direction.

      I need to find some of that focus again.

      In time. Thank you for asking all of the very good questions I need to be asking myself.

      Like

  13. lost33years says:

    Perhaps it is time to deepen your own knowledge in order to have a larger pool of information to draw from. Never give up on dreams that is where reality is created. When you give your all and you think you can’t give any more dig deeper dig in the places you hide thoughts and feelings those are real .

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I’ve been reading a lot more. A lot more. It’s been a very valuable exercise. I don’t want to stop that, either.

      Thank you for this note!

      Like

  14. suzjones says:

    Matt, I want you to take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left write all the negative things you can find about yourself (I’m sure you’ll find inspiration in this post) and on the right side all the good and great things about yourself. Then I want you to put it away and not think about the list for a few days. In few days time, pull it out and re-evaluate it and look at what you have written. You wrote that! You put pen to paper and wrote it.
    You are a writer and you can achieve so much. You have talent.
    Don’t give up your dream. Don’t die with the music still in you.

    Like

  15. chey4412 says:

    I share your anxieties about being a writer. What does that even mean? If you write you’re a writer, right? Or are you only a writer if you’re published? I don’t know the answer to that and frankly, I don’t fucking care. I didn’t write for years because I was a chicken shit and I lacked confidence. But I’m doing it now and if I fail, well at least I can finally say, I TRIED. I fucking tried, which is a lot better than most! I won’t tell you to not give up. Give up if you want. Do what EVER it is YOU want to do and don’t worry about the outcome. Just have faith; seriously, that is my best useless advice. Faith in something bigger than yourself. Because I know you’re right about one thing, cubicles do SUCK!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I might not mean much of anything.

      I hear you.

      I just know cubicles suck. Typing things here is what I love. And all I want to do is find a ways to hit these keys in just the right order so it can turn into something more than 40-50 hours per week in the cube.

      I’m so glad you’re writing. Please don’t stop.

      I’m not going to, and I’m sorry if I gave the impression I thought that was even an option.

      Like

  16. Don’t lose hope. Everyone hits a rough patch now and then. The failures quit. The successful people push through. Start pushing. Start a new project. Query agents. Revisit an old project. Go back and read some of your fabulous posts that have made me laugh, cry, and really think. You have the talent. Use it. I look forward to your next post. :)

    Like

  17. Matt, Matt, Matt (shakes head back and forth). You are even better at self flagellation than I am, and that’s saying something. I’m having trouble blogging as much as I’d like to lately– in part because I’m uber-busy teaching a course on top of my regular day job, and in part because I am finding myself using my precious writing time to do other bits of writing that aren’t blog-worthy. If I had my druthers I would write for a living too, but at the moment I have a full-time job I can’t afford to quit. But I’ve finally reached the point in life where I am determined (deluded?) enough about my writing that I can say I’m a writer even when daily life conspires against the actually act of writing.

    My saviour when I get blocked is Julia Cameron. Have you ever taken a look at her book The Artist’s Way? She has made a lifetime career out of helping creative people get their mojo back.

    Like

  18. Nephila says:

    When I was young I was going to be a high flier. I was going to be a UN lawyer, freeing the oppressed and writing erudite articles and being invited to PhD program’s at universities in exotic cities.

    I still believe I could have been that, if I’d wanted it enough. But I didn’t. I wanted love, and a life, and time with friends and children. And that just wasn’t compatible. Something had to give. I chose a comfortable life with absolutely no headlines at all. I am not a scholar or an authority or a writer or anything big.

    I am a little person with small goals. I want to be loved beyond reason. I want to be in love. I want my children to be secure and happy in their childhood. I want to touch the lives of my friends. I want to express myself. I want to get justice in some small way for other small people. I want to be a witness for them. I want to tell our stories.

    And I don’t care anymore if that makes me a writer or not. Writing is just a method. It’s the message that counts.

    I’m not going to tell you it’s ok. I don’t know what matters most to you. But I will say that it’s not only ok to have priorities that don’t match, it’s kind of inevitable. Just make sure you do the things that are most important to you.

    Do or do not. There is no try.

    Like

  19. I just want to say screw the guy that told you to check yourself. :-) if its hard and most people aren’t successful at it were reason enough not to try something, there would be no books written.
    I can’t tell you if you’re a writer or not because i don’t even know if I am. I write on a blog on a fairly regular basis, but no one pays me and my mother and a handful of other people are the only ones that read it. Does that make me a writer? I don’t know. What I do know is that I write.
    If you need to take time, then take some time. If you want to write a book, then write a book. What I do know is that you have a little boy that looks up to you and thinks you’re great. And, although he may not know what you’re doing now, someday when you are talking to him about his dreams, you are going to want to be able to tell him about the time you reached for the stars. Because whether you write a best seller or not, you had a dream and went for it.
    (I love what you write here and im pretty excited about the idea of you writing a book. But I also understand the days where you’re staring at a blank computer screen with nothing to say but feel like you should be saying something. I truly believe that the right words will come at the right time, and if the words aren’t there then it’s okay to leave the screen blank.)

    Like

  20. Dawn says:

    Shame on that guy. No no no no. You do not give up, you do not think small. You reach deep into your gut and push out some not so great stuff until the great stuff finds it’s way back to the top.
    If every person who had a dream quit because, well, hey, lots of people have that dream and a lot don’t’ see it come to life. Oh well, that’s them, that doesn’t mean it has to be you too.
    Maybe you need to just close your eyes and point to something, then write about it. You write, that’s what you do….you don’t ever every get to give up on that.
    I’m a little bugged by that guy telling you to check yourself…if he was a great writer, he would tell you to push through.
    Ugh.
    Asshole.
    Excuse my language.
    People who squash other people’s dreams really get my goat. (see how clean I’m making this).
    Don’t.
    Just don’t.
    Write about a vacation you took as a kid.
    Write about something you learned from your grand parents.
    Write dammit.
    And who gives a crap if a few suck…

    Like

  21. You will do what you feel inclined and motivated to do. You will see openings in doors that you choose to look for, or you will see closed doors all around. Sometimes the open doors aren’t what we’re expecting or wanting, but they turn out to be something quite amazing when we take the risk. Uncover your truth. Peel away your excuses and second guesses and boldly step through a door of your choosing. If it isn’t all it was cracked up to be…just look around, life is like a funhouse FULL of potential doors waiting…

    Like

  22. runningintothelight says:

    more vulnerability from you Matt, which I believe is a key ingredient to a good writer. Thanks again for your honesty.

    Like

  23. RR says:

    Meh. Suck it up. ;)
    You sound awfully worried and consumed by everyone else’s perspective.
    There is a massive difference between existing and living – I think you need to find the balance between those. And embrace evolution, buddy. We grow. We change. We adapt. But we should never stop dreaming. Never. And if you’re not dreaming big what’s the friggin’ point?
    You are here. You are now. It is a place en route to tomorrow. And, while it will have sway in tomorrow-land, it is in fact TODAY. So. What are you going to do, be, see, learn, change, dream today?
    Remember: a soul is a resilient thing…at least take stock in that.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      :)

      You frequently make me smile with your tough-love encouragement.

      Some people do dream small. And that’s okay. They probably meet their goals all the time. But I’m not going to be one of them.

      Like

      • RR says:

        Glad a can provide a smile now and then.

        Agreed that small dreams are okay – good for some – regardless of whether the goal is reached or not. Bigger dreams simply mean a few more steps or paces down the path.

        Colour outside of the lines, my friend. Throw caution to the wind! And embrace not reaching your goals – be adaptable, change your goals…evolve them.

        Oh, and chin up ;)

        Like

  24. nykeypad says:

    “I write to find out what I’m thinking. I write to find out who I am. I write to understand things.” – Julia Alvarez. Well, I’m like Julia; however, I write because I have something to say, and I’m afraid of public speaking – hated it in junior high – and talk too fast anyway. So when I want to say something, I write it, and sometimes people comment. Most times they don’t. That’s OK. If something is inside me, it bugs me until I write about it. And then there are times when I have nothing to say, and there’s silence. I enjoy reading your blog, and many times you say things I’m thinking about. Thoughts are always active, dynamic.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      That’s a valuable life observation Ms. Alvarez shared with us via you.

      You and I aren’t so different.

      Like

      • nykeypad says:

        Thanks, Matt. I found it online one day while wondering if anyone read what I wrote. Then I realized I needed to write or I’d implode, and that changed everything. You write from the heart; keep at it.

        Like

  25. JujyCakes says:

    If you want to be a writer then write. Sure it might feel better connected if you’re taking pencil or pen to paper, you write some, you cross things out and you rewrite. It’s just not the same on a keyboard, you can write edit and delete without seeing how your thoughts progress or what that stream of consciousness (or unconsciousness) was.

    I took a break from Facebook and have been writing letters with friends. It’s been a good lesson for me. Don’t get me wrong I love all my tech-y toys, but I also love my fountain pens, bottles of ink and paper…paper! I’m not a writer, but there’s something humbling about when my brain is thinking faster than my hand can write…so there are tons of strikethroughs and lining out…and explaining to my reader that I need to slow down, take a few deep breaths and keep on going.

    What inspires you everyday? What brings you happiness everyday? What have you taken for granted that is one of the biggest gifts you have? You have a LOT to write about, maybe you just need to make some lists.

    Don’t you dare dream smaller! Don’t ever stop dreaming. When you settle, you will have regrets- if not now, most definitely later on.

    And choices? You make them for better and for worse. You don’t always know the outcome of your choices. If good comes out of some, great you’ll do that again. If bad happens, and it will…you’ll learn a lesson and keep moving on, right?

    (now if I could listen to me, too…that would help my part of the world)

    Be kind to yourself when you need to. Hug your inner kid. Sounds like he could use it.

    Like

  26. completelyinthedark says:

    calling bullshit.

    Like

  27. Chris says:

    Stop thinking like a writer.

    Like

  28. khushnumab says:

    Been there where you are now . The best thing to do in this time is just read a lot of books honestly or read articles and newspapers. Try writing a different genre of writing i mean poems or short stories . I am one of those who says that you write quite often . Write for yourself don’t write for us.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you. For saying to write for myself. I don’t want it to be an entirely selfish thing, but truly understand what you’re saying. I have been reading more. It’s been very good.

      Like

  29. Morning pages. Julia Cameron. Helpful.

    Like

  30. mewhoami says:

    A pond with nothing coming in and nothing going out – stagnant. You must take in, in order to give out. Most of all, you must keep moving. If you don’t, then you will become stagnant just like the pond. Who wants that? No one, especially not you. You’ve already proven that with your writing. Don’t let that man in the mirror discourage you.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      You’re right. A couple others talked about that very thing.

      Learning, reading, experiencing, thinking, feeling, evolving. Not necessarily in that order.

      I won’t stop writing. I promise. I just don’t know what my output frequency is going to be moving forward, nor what the subject matter is going to be.

      As long as it’s about human-being stuff, I guess I don’t really care.

      Like

  31. Deepa says:

    Firstly, you are not a failure because your marriage failed. Yes, you should take ownership of your part in that and you should try not to make the same mistakes moving forward. But I think unless you did something terrible like cheat on her, betray her, badly let her down or kill someone, you were not solely responsible for the collapse of your marriage.
    Secondly. ……I know this blog started as a divorce diary of sorts, but maybe the fact that you are struggling to write for it indicates that you are starting to move on from that emotionally? Maybe its time for this blog to evolve into something else?
    My 2 cents :-)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      You nailed it.

      It was always going to have to evolve into something else. But now that I’m basically here, I truly don’t know where to take it.

      It will come.

      I think. I hope. I’m not going to quit. :)

      Thank you for this.

      Like

  32. Vince says:

    I’m a home inspector. It’s what I’ve been doing for ten years now and I enjoy it. I’m good at it and make a decent living out of it too. I get calls from other inspectors who want to know how business is. Some say they are thinking about a second job or they wonder when the market will pick back up, I don’t. I refuse to accept whatever it is they have accepted as my lot.

    To me those inspectors are like the guy who told you to check yourself. To just accept something because you don’t think you will be successful at your real goal, to hell with that.

    I don’t call other inspectors and ask how business is because I feel like mine is in a slump, it rarely is. Instead I diversify, always look for ways to grow, be better at it and keep pushing forward.

    Like

  33. myfsu8199 says:

    Matt, only you can decide what the right thing for you to do is. If that is not blogging anymore then we will all miss you and your blogs. If it is to power thru your low moments and continue to share you story with us then we will continue to read, smile, laugh and wish you the best in everything you do. I personally am not a writer and am not on this site to become one, I am simply a girl that is going through a very rough place in life and needed an outlet to express my thoughts, feelings and emotions with anyone that wanted to read them. I personally love reading your posts and find that we have a lot of feelings, thoughts and emotions in common at times with our lives and wandering ex’s. The decision is yours, but I vote for staying and writing :)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Don’t be silly.

      I’m not quitting. Not ever.

      But I’m not going to just write for the sake of writing, either. I have no idea what the post frequency will look like moving forward. Maybe every other day?

      I won’t know until I find a new rhythm. It’s the not having that which scares me. :)

      But I’ll be okay. One way or another.

      Like

      • myfsu8199 says:

        Whew…ok good…I don’t get on here every day, but when I do, I like to catch up on what you have been writing. The unknown is always scary, but you will find your rhythm/groove and all will be right in the world of Matt again…haha

        Like

  34. Yes, to all you wrote. Sometimes you have to step back. Sip Tequila, or coffee, or water or whatever your poison is and step back. Sometimes, some days, some hours or even some weeks it isn’t easy, so what. Really, so what. Live and breath through it, then step back in and start again.

    I suck at giving advice. Sorry.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Ummm. You advised sipping tequila and coffee. Two of the best things that ever happened to the universe.

      Sooooo. You give great advice.

      Thank you!

      Like

  35. Wordsgood says:

    Matt, I’m with everyone here who wants to smack the guy that told yourself.

    You’re a sensitive guy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Your willingness to be vulnerable in your writing is what draws so many of us to read your work. It’s what makes us feel so invested in you personally, and in your happiness.

    I’m very glad to hear you’re not quitting after all. But let me assure you that whether you blog or not, earn a living through writing or not, or have a book published or not…you ARE a writer!

    This you have proven time and time again, right here on this very blog.

    To me, it seems like you are just experiencing a natural low point. In one of your recent posts, you talked about finally feeling some happiness again. You didn’t really think your path back from so much pain was going to be a smooth, upward, straight line, did you? Of course not! Two steps forward and one step back. That’s how life works. And I’m pretty sure you already know that. ;)

    Sending you a big hug! :)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you for the big hug and the encouragement. Made me smile.

      And no! I certainly didn’t expect life to just get easy and breezy. However. I didn’t foresee a day in which writing became such a challenge from an idea-generation standpoint.

      I’ve never been particularly good at that, but it’s way harder now.

      I’ll find a way. Probably!

      Like

      • Wordsgood says:

        Your welcome. :)

        I know you’ll find your way back. Writing is in your blood. It’s just who you are. Your muse is just taking a holiday at the moment, that’s all. She worked bloody hard all winter, so I think she deserves it! :)

        Like

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