Sunday, 22 November 2015

Lost for Words

So, here's the thing. Sometimes, I just can't do it. Writing, I mean. Today, I just can't write. There are no words to join together, which makes the sentences pretty impossible to produce, and without the sentences there is no blog post. This is a big issue on the 21st of the month, when my allotted ACW day is the 22nd.

One of the reasons it's a big issue is because writing is what I do. There are very few occasions when I can't find something to write about - normally I can expound on anything from the war on terrorism to a carrier bag I see in the street. Not even being able to find a topic induces a sense of panic in me that is hard to keep a lid on.

In a lot of ways, I’ve found that I can’t write the way I used to. Gone is the crazy haze of my twenties where all that mattered was the next perfect word on the page. As I’ve got older and taken more care of my own health, I’ve found that I can’t do what I used to be able to do. I can’t pull all-nighters any more, and I can’t loosen up the words with wine. I forget more, and concentrate less. Plus I have a family - writing doesn’t come first any more (or second, third or fourth).

That all sounds very practical, and yet what we call writers’ block is more than just an inconvenience to me. It's more than worry about a deadline, or frustration that I can't get something down, or concern that if I don't put something out there people will stop reading for good. It feels like a piece of me might just have disappeared. I said writing is what I do, but it's more than that - writing is part of who I am. There is this constant low lying fear that if I can't write, what is left?

Fortunately, who I am and what I do are actually entirely separate things. What I do is purely a choice about how to use my time. As soon as I base who I am on my achievements I fall into a trap, because one day I might not be able to do those things any more. I’m becoming more and more aware of just how much emphasis I put on what I do - and on what other people do. Ever noticed how the first question you get asked when meeting someone is ‘what do you do?’

Who I am is so much simpler than that, and all comes back to how I am loved, regardless of what I do, purely because of who I am. I am loved by the Almighty creator for being me, not for doing me.

Think of it like a wheel. A wheel may have many spokes, but it’s the hub that is important. You can lose a spoke, but with no hub, you have no wheel. Likewise, I can lose my writing, but with no love, there is no me.

When I think of that love, and the God who lavishes it, what I do suddenly becomes less important. I matter because the God who created the universe says I do, not because I can write a good article. 

Finally admitted the need for
reading glasses. Grumpy face.
Abbie has been writing every since she could hold a pencil - her first self-published work was a short story about a magic key, which was displayed on the fridge. After struggling with self harm and eating disorders for a number of years she went on to write a memoir ‘Secret Scars’ published by Authentic in 2007, and later ‘Insight Into Self-Harm’ published by CWR in 2014. In 2007 she launched Adullam Ministries, an information and support website and forum on self-harm and related issues. She blogs at Pink and Blue Mummyland, tweets as @AbbieRobson and @AdullamSelfHarm, and is currently working on a book about mental health and the church. She lives in Rugby with husband John, two demanding children, and two even more demanding cats.

Cover of book: Secret Scars by Abbie RobsonBook cover: Insight into Self-Harm by Helena Wilkinson and Abbie Robson


  1. I relate to this, Abbie - both the problem of thinking of something useful to say, and the need to achieve in order to have worth in my own eyes. But you are right - God's more interested in who we are. A timely reminder.

  2. I love that profile picture! The glasses look great. In terms of the writers' block, sometimes I think, with me, it's fear. Will it be any good? Will anyone care? Will people understand what I'm trying to get at? No? Okay, then, I'll go and have a biscuit ....

  3. Yes! Yes, yes, yes. Exactly. I have had those exact thoughts, and also with reference to writing a post for this blog. It's a long time since the ideas have come thick and fast as they used to and it's been a hard year that has pushed my writing right into the background, just when I thought I was getting somewhere. Thank you so much for the reminder that I am not identified by what I do, but who I am, and who He is. My primary purpose is to live in relationship with my God, and that will never change.
    Thank you so much for the 'Me too!' moment. x