Upping the Ante


I’m worried. Lately, I’ve been feeling uninspired and lame. Also, non-creative. For the past year or so. And it’s as if I can sense my creativity conduits drying up, akin to hardening of the arteries. Fresh synapses refuse to fire and I’m stuck on a track and I can’t even come up with words for things. I’ve never been dependent on a thesaurus in my life. Until now. But I just can’t think of good synonyms. In fact, I can’t do a lot of things I once did. I used to love to make up stuff, and be silly, and go on tangents, and create. And now it’s as if my brain is closed for business.



I’m forgetting things too. I can’t remember certain events that’ve happened, and then every so often, a random memory strikes my brain and I can see the details so clearly, but I don’t know where I was or if it even is my memory, you know? It could’ve been a scene from a movie, or a figment from a dream, or something someone told me once. Then, if I want to describe the thing I saw that I don’t know is mine or not, I can’t retrieve the word pictures. So the image just sits there and stagnates.



So worse of all with all this non-creativity and brain stagnation comes the thought: Maybe I’m not supposed to be a writer. I’d always wanted to be, aligned myself with that identity, but what if it’s not my path or my calling? Is this a turning 40 thing? Re-evaluating everything and not knowing how to define your life? Because it is unsettling.



I think I think too much. Or, that I’m very hard on myself. But then I wonder if I shouldn’t be harder. I go round and round and round. Maybe I’m mentally exhausted. Could that be it? What I do know if that I do the same things again and again. I suppose there isn’t new stimuli coming into my little world. I’ve fallen into a routine and can’t get back up. I say the same things to the same people in the same way in the same places.


Oh God. I’m just going to shut up.


Here’s my action plan I am going to enact (Oh good Lord, where is that thesaurus) to poke my creativity and wake it up:


  • Listen to different music.

    I love my Indigo Girls and my Missy Higgins and my mellow folk rock, but I think this same old same old music has lulled my brain into some sort of static rhythm. I need to shake it up. So, yesterday I downloaded music genres that are new to me. My theory is that by giving myself something new to listen to, my brain waves will perk up. Some of my “new” music includes songs by MC Yogi and Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band.

  • Read new things.

    I’m not so much a politics girl or even a current events girl. I’m in my own teeny mind world so much of the time that I don’t look at what’s around me. As such, I plan to read material that is out of my comfort zone — including, oh I don’t know, more political essays from Esquire, for one. Also, more science. I’d like to read about science.

  • Change my scenery.

    I should be taking more walks in unexpected places. Go down strange streets (that are well-lit), explore new neighborhoods, look around. Yes! I need to look around.

  • Take deep breaths.

    I’m pretty sure my brain needs oxygen. I will spend more time bringing the good air into my system by opening my chest, expanding my diaphragm, and breathing robustly.

  • Meditate.

    Definitely! I need to just sit and shut up. And not think. I think the not thinking will be a very very excellent adventure for me. As I meditate, I will listen to this song (“Meditation”) from Nawang Khechog.

  • Be nicer.

    I complain a lot and don’t give thanks. I am often irritated with my husband and kids. I pledge to pay more attention to this area of my life and to let the sunshine in more often. I will do this by remembering that I am blessed and to consciously choose positive words over negative ones. It’s not going to be easy at first, because I’m a certified whiner, but if I keep at it, maybe I can re-program myself.


Check back often. Hopefully, by launching my action plan, I will soon be able to write more engagingly and less thesaurusy.


Also, it’d be nice if I could become a better person in the process.


(pictures from here.)


16 Responses to “Upping the Ante”

  1. Kizz says:

    It’s downright hilarious that you write this about thesaurus use just now. While I was catching up on PrompTuesday I found myself floundering. It was that poem thing, I think. I knew the SORT of word I wanted but I couldn’t find a good one and I do have this dictionary/thesaurus widget on the dashboard of the mac so I pressed it into service and got a lot more than I thought I would out of it. I managed to spin it so I felt not humbled by using a crutch but proud of myself for trying something new.

    Your mileage, as always, may vary. :)

  2. Blognut says:

    You are SO OKAY. I think(I hope)we all look at ourselves and wonder about some of these same things and we make our lists and try to achieve the next level of (what’s the word I’m looking for?) self-actualization. Sometimes we’re too critical of ourselves and become our own worst enemies; I know I do that, anyway. I don’t know, maybe we’re all nuts. Either way, you seem okay to me. ;0)

  3. stoneskin says:

    I’ll tell you what, those pictures of your synapses are pretty impressive, they look fine to me.

  4. I’m brain dead lately too. Sometimes I wonder if it’s shifting hormones. Why not blame hormones for EVERYTHING? After all, they are powerful little suckers. Well, at least you haven’t started flashing random strangers that come to your house. I need to get my life in order!! :)

  5. Diane says:

    I feel your pain. Everyone goes through it… my dead period lasted, like, 4 years. Have you ever read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron? I took an Artist’s Way class once, which was fantastic, and every now and then, I crack the book open and do a few of the exercises in it. Have a look-see if you’ve never used it… it might inspire you!

  6. meh. being nicer is overrated. seriously. i often find myself trying to be nicer to my husband, but then i realize that he’s the one who should be nicer to me! while i understand that this may only apply to ME in MY situation, i still think the whole being nice thing is overrated. you’re mom. your role is different, and therefore the thanks that you deserve is different.

    but then again, you shouldn’t really ask me… ;)

  7. My husband has taught me to be a nicer person and it’s well worth it. I love all your ideas. Have you ever read, “The Artist’s Way?”

  8. Me says:

    My husband came home tonight and I told him that the termite inspector came for our yearly check. Excitedly I said, “We passed. Yay! No termites for us.” He grumbled sarcastically, “Yah…great news!” I brought him to the computer showed him this… http://thedawgrun.blogspot.com/2009/01/surgery-update-3pm.html, and said, “Well, we could be here today.”

  9. It is definitely a 40 thing–that’s when I started thinking seriously about what I wanted to be when I grew up.

    All your ideas are great–I’ve just started reading Vanity Fair again and realize how much I missed it. I may even subsribe to Rolling Stone again.

  10. tinsenpup says:

    Congratulations, SDM. This is a very good thing. You, however, are quite clearly a writer born. I can only look forward to seeing you at your air-breathing, meditating, creative best, since your crusty, stagnated self is pretty amazing.

  11. Midlife Mama says:

    Love this post. I’ve been seeing lots of posts like this around boggersville, so you are not alone. I was feeling uninspired last month, so perhaps you caught my bug. I’m sorry I gave it to you.

    However, this is a great post; I’m not seeing any uninspiration. I’m seeing lots. :)

  12. I could have written this myself.

    I think your action plan is awesome and I’ve got something in store for myself that’s similar…well if I can survive the next two months that is and live through everything that’s headed my way.

    Also, your aware enough to know that you need to shake things up a bit. It could be that dealing with the stagnation (although from where I sit – outside your head, and just reading you), you don’t seem less creative to me. I still love the words and pictures you create with your words. And I’m looking forward to them more, now that you have a plan of action to change certain things!

  13. maggie may says:

    i hear you! i am having problems with my attention/memory too. bleck.

  14. Da Goddess says:

    Pure PMS rant if ever I heard one.

    As for that memory crap? It’s called motherhood. Kids sap your energy and creativity — some days more than others.

    I love the groovy artwork you included. Makes my meds kick in overtime.

  15. wa says:

    Great post and I SOOO relate. The reading other things really works for me, as does doing something really out of my comfort zone, like an Improv class. Also, lots of wine always (in my mind) makes me funnier.

  16. […] I would like you to know that in my continued quest to not make this blog smell like ass, I am committed to my new and improved “Shake It Up, Dammit” Project. […]

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