Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A New Kind of Writer’s Block

I have been working on a book project that seems to drain most of my writing energies by the end of each day. As a result, I haven’t posted since Monday morning, and this is bugging me. Writing this blog has taken on special value for me, and I miss it when it doesn’t happen.

My first blog, Why I Am Catholic, began as an attempt to answer a simple question for my family and friends: Why had I become Catholic in 2008? Some were asking themselves that. But once I had offered 50 or 60 answers, I ran dry, and the blog was eventually taken over by Frank Weathers and Allison Salerno. Now, while Frank keeps solo watch at Why I Am Catholic, Allison has started her own blog, Rambling Follower, which I also encourage you to visit. I have added it to my blog list, since Allison participates, as I do, in Communion and Liberation, and her viewpoint is influenced by the CL charism. (Why I Am Catholic is not a CL blog, but it’s still worth checking out regularly.)

I left Why I Am Catholic about a year ago for several reasons. One of these was that I had started “writing for ratings,” to make a splash, to maximize readership, and that became a fool’s game. I missed writing about my faith life, for its own sake. I have to “write for food” most mornings and afternoons, but in the evenings and any other day part I can spare, I cherish “writing for Jesus,” which is the same thing, in this case, as writing for my own soul.

Another thing I cherish about this new blog, Witness, is that I know a number of my readers personally. I am heartened to hear that many CL friends have read it off and on, and a few close family members read it regularly as well. This makes the experience of writing it far realer for me. But not necessarily easier.

Writing this blog is not something I can do in cold blood, without inspiration, the way I must write for my day job. Whether I am inspired or not, I need to turn out a certain amount of work every morning and afternoon, in order to keep the lights lit at home, and I take pride in thinking that all I need to do is “put my ass in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard,” and work will get done, the way work gets done when a carpenter picks up a hammer.

But I find that my ability to write about faith experiences is pushed into being by experience, by events that provoke me, and while these are always lurking, and Jesus is always present, I am not always open to them or Him. I am often asleep on my own feet. And so I go one, two, sometimes three days without posting. If this is writer’s block, it’s a new kind and one I can live with.

Since I know my (smaller) readership better today than I did at Why I Am Catholic, I am heartened to know that whenever the muse speaks or the spirit moves me, a friendly ear will be cocked in my direction, and a few Facebook messages and comments will pop up in the ensuing hours. As I move along through this uneven blogging life, that’s good enough for me.


  1. Thanks for sharing this and for the shout out for my new blog.

    I am finding my writing is becoming more eclectic. Tonight's post, for example, isn't overtly "Catholic" but it is a prose poem about a woman thinking about her daughter's birth and her mother's impending death and journey home.

    I too, am writing almost as a meditative discipline.

  2. Webster
    Ii think your posting is a way of judging--Giussani said that you have not actually had an experience if you have not judged it! In so doing, you move and you will bring others forward--even those who have had a day that might equate with "dead weight" are forced into a new position in front of it through your own sharing, and a certain letizia arrives on the formerly heavy scene. This is a good thing; thank you...

  3. What a treat to find this new blog, Webster. Keep on writing.


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