Are You Struggling?
By Evan Braun

Anyone else feeling a bit burnt out? If the audience reading this blog is anything like my group of close writer friends, the answer is probably “Yes.” The pandemic has given so many of us the gift of time, and yet some people just aren’t feeling especially creative right now.

For the first ten months or so of the pandemic, I was the encourager in our group of friends. I was making good progress on the latest novel. I was ready to be there for anyone who needed support.

Well, I’m not ashamed to admit it—now I’m the one who needs support.

Gradually since the new year, even though I had time to write, it’s gotten increasingly difficult to make myself actually sit down and do it. My writer friends have been there for me. Around that time, we started doing a weekly writing session every Monday where as many of us are available show up in a video chat. We talk for a bit, catch up on what’s important to us, whatever’s going on in our lives, and then we buckle in for two hours of writing time.

It’s wonderful, and it’s also usually the only real writing I get done in a week these days.

The thing is, I used to really look forward to those Monday night writing sessions. Lately I’ve been trying to come up with excuses to avoid joining. I’m not even sure why I feel this way, because by the end of the sessions I end up feeling accomplished and productive. And yes, socialized.

And I know I’m not the only one of my friends who’s been feeling this way. So many creatives in my life are echoing the same sentiments.

I’m not sure what the solution is. Prayer. Meditation. Good food. Long phone chats with friends and family. As much outdoor exercise as I can make time for. Maybe some actual therapy? All of the above, perhaps. Maybe it’s just going to take some more time before the positive side effects of all these measures kick in.

In the meantime, it feels like the best and simplest thing I can do is admit that life is hard right now, even though it’s not easy to point my finger at exactly what or exactly why. It just is this way, and it looks like it’s going to keep being this way for a while longer.

For some reason, my mind keeps coming back to the opening refrains of the Serenity Prayer. Those who are familiar with it know that it’s most commonly associated with Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve-step program. So this season of struggle I’m going through is pretty far out of context with how the prayer is typically used.

But I keep returning to it, because it nonetheless seems to fit my experience so aptly:

“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
(you know, the pandemic and all the other stressful, anxiety-laden events going on in the world),
the courage to change the things I can
(my personal outlook, my faith, how I respond to the world around me),
and the wisdom to know the difference.

It helps.

This, too, shall pass. Life will get better again—I know this, because it always does.

Many of us are feeling a little low right now (or, let’s face it, a lot). If you can relate to this blog, we encourage you to reach out to someone that you can trust to talk. If you are in crisis, please click here to find support in your area. If your struggles are mainly in your writing, we can pair you up with a supportive editor, like Evan, to help you through.

About this Contributor:

Evan Braun is a full-time author and editor. He has authored three novels, the first of which, The Book of Creation, was shortlisted in two categories at the 2012 Word Awards. He has released two sequels, The City of Darkness (2013) and The Law of Radiance (2015), completing the series. Braun is an experienced professional editor, and has worked with Word Alive Press authors since 2006. He is also a regular contributor at The Fictorians, a popular writing blog.

Leave a comment