blogging geek

Time for a Tune Up

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write for this month.

Would a monkey annoy a cat? I think so.
Would a monkey annoy a cat? I think so.

Usually, I just wing it.

Someone walks by me wearing a yellow hat, and I think of all the different adventures I’d have with Curious George. Someone sneezes, and I make a list of things humans do that annoy my cats.

That sort of meandering mindset is one that’s been with me since childhood, so blogging has been a perfect fit.  I’ve enjoyed having a place to put all the nonsense that normally fills the silences in long car rides.

My husband has been happy to have the occasional silence returned to him.

“Why don’t you write a blog about it?” he’ll say, and I know that means he isn’t really all that interested in my adventures with a fictional monkey companion.

Lately, though, there’s been a crimp in my mojo.  I’ve started and stopped 100 different posts, and that’s not anything close to an exaggeration.

After I just spent all that time last month whittling it down to 5.
After I just spent all that time last month whittling it down to 5.

Doubt has seeped into my meanderings, and colored everything an odd shade of orange.

My mojo is rattling, like a humming bit of loose machinery hitting against the engine of an already old car.

It smells like a wet dish rag that’s been molding onto the floor for a week.

It feels like biting into an eggshell, hidden in the fluff of a morning omelet.

It’s broken, but I’m not sure why.

I admit to being a little shaken by the doubts of others, and a little afraid of the wrath of dissenters– but that’s not all it is.  Those things hit hard, yes– but negatives hit me like a flash of fire on a stricken match.  They burn, they flare– and then they ash out and are entirely forgotten.  Other than the brief moment where my attention is violently enraptured by their spark, they barely halt my stride.

I’ve mentioned my abundant confidence before.

It’s hard to explain because it’s just a sense I’ve always been able to tap into– a feeling that whatever I’m doing is the best I can offer.

George and I would do jazz hands all over town.
George and I would do jazz hands all over town.

I am good at what I do.

It’s a vanity, sure– one of my many– but it’s also a truth forged from omissions.  The same idea can be said: I don’t spend a lot of time doing things I’m not good at.

I don’t avoid things I’m bad at because I’m a sore loser.  I’ve really never seen the world in terms of winners and losers. It isn’t because of ego, because– included in my many flaws is my inability to see myself as a distinct entity outside of others.  My brothers lovingly call it a mental disorder.  I prefer to think of it as a devotion to my belief that we’re all connected.

Instead, it’s more about being addicted to the sensation of doing my best– and sometimes I think others can feel it, too.  Perhaps even you, most beloved reader, have noticed it once or twice.

It smells like the clear air after a rainstorm.  It sounds like a long word typed exactly right on a clacky keyboard.  It feels like snuggling under a blanket straight from the dryer on a cold winter night.  That’s the type of perfection I seek in everything I do.

Sometimes, I sense it in the work of others and it makes me smile — because I’ve noticed that no matter how different “what we do” is, our notes always seem to play together in perfect harmony.

Unfortunately right now, I’m a little off my game.  I’m a little out of tune and there’s a strange rattle in my engine.  I have faith in the rightness, though.  I know it’ll find its way home, if I keep on practicing and playing.

So for now, I will simply keep on
keeping on.

Playtime!
Playtime!  Ready? Set? Catch!

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yeah write, nablopomo, NaBloPoMo_November_small

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Do you ever feel a little off your game?  If so, what do you do to set things to rights?

123 comments

  1. I’ve been feeling off my game, too, and it’s been happening with increasing frequency lately. But you’re confident that your engine will stop rattling, that you’ll find yourself on flat ground again, and that’s what matters. I raise my proverbial glass to you. 🙂

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    1. Hurrah! I am confident it’ll go back to normal. I’ve rattled before, but not enough to get used to it. It’s almost annoying, though– the way my words sound when they’re out of tune. 🙂 Oh well. If I’m bothered by my words, I suppose I’ll have to doodle my stories. 😉 I hope your game finds its way back to you!

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      1. Have you ever written something — a complete post, story, poem, whichever — and then read it back to yourself later and thought, “This is terrible; why did I think it was a good idea in the first place?”

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          1. Oh thank goodness I’m not the only one! How do you handle that? Do you grit your teeth and post it anyway? Do you leave the post until later (and then forget about it completely)?

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  2. Ah the Duck has those snowy days toos when she feels like everything she writes either trying to be too mean or too happy. Unlike you however , she doesn’t have the heart to draft then out, you’re a step ahead in that at least (:

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    1. I’m not sure if the drafts are any better– like last time, I think they’ll eventually just be bulk deleted, ha! 🙂 It’s comforting to know the Duck knows what I’m talking about, even though I wish everyone nothing but a life full of harmony! 🙂

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  3. I always feel off my game. What do I do? As you said, keep on keepin’ on. 🙂 & this month all my posts will be winging it, just as usual.

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    1. I’m so impressed by those who wing things– but I’m a slow steady plodder at heart. 🙂 So though even the mere idea of wings gives my turtle spirit animal heart palpitations– I do know how to keep on keeping on. 😀 Plus, I’m gonna watch The Notebook tonight and see if I get inspired. 😉

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  4. I’ve been off then on then off again for a bit myself. Forging ahead has been one way to cope, but so has shifting what it is I try to do. Oh yeah, and breathing. I find I forget to breath properly – so it really helps when i remember! 🙂

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    1. Breathing is so incredibly vital! 🙂 Usually I shift what I’m trying to do, too, but it’s really my thinking mojo that is messed up– and I’m not sure how to… not think, ha! 😀

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    1. 😀 It’ll be awesome, whatever it is because your voice always carries through, and that’s why your readers read– at least… That’s why I read your work. 😀

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  5. I’m a little off too. I’ve been putting it down to the chest cold from hell and not being able to breathe, but I think it’s also that I was doing so well, now I’m a bit afraid I can’t live up to myself.

    No one can operate at the top of their game all the time. There are natural peaks and valleys to creativity. In the past, I didn’t commit to a daily output. When I felt a spark, I wrote. If I didn’t feel it, I read a book. Or watched a movie. Now I feel obligated to produce something, whether I feel like it or not. Lucky I have photography to fall back on.

    You might consider easing back on the throttle. Try (gasp!) relaxing. The world will NOT end if tomorrow you don’t write something brilliant.

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    1. 😀 Oh man, if I aimed for brilliant every day, I’d evaporate. I try to write something thoughtful once a month– otherwise, y’all get car-conversation typed out. 😀 I’m actually less worried about the writing and more worried about the way my brain is churning out car-conversation thoughts like normal. It’s all a little hazy up there.

      I’m going through another bout of pneumonia, so that may be it… but I feel like it’s something else. I don’t know. It’s hard to fix it when all you have is a vague sense that something is wrong somewhere. I’m just usually so in tune with myself, that I can tell when I’m suddenly not… so strange.

      And, side note, but I love your photography. 😀 Did you see your blog in the NaBloPoMo recommended reading section of WP? 🙂

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  6. I just wrote a similar post today! I’ve been feeling the annual doubt parade coming around the corner, too. I guess it’s best to just keep going 🙂

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  7. Well, I just have to like a post that references Curious George.
    That being said, I’ve lost my blogging way. A recent incident had me thinking I would chuck it all in. I haven’t been able to write. I’m hoping NaBloPoMo will help me get back in the habit until I find my mojo again.

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    1. Yay! I love Curious George. He’s my favorite fictional monkey, and that’s saying a lot. There are a lot of good fictional monkeys out there. 🙂

      A recent incident? Do I need to rawr someone’s head off for you? I’m glad you’re blopomo’ing it. I really enjoy reading your writing! 🙂

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  8. Curious George would annoy any cat, but there are stories of monkeys adopting kitties, and not just to eat, either. I guess they admire their hunting skills, too!

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    1. 😀 Thanks, I hope so too. I feel like it’s a real thing that I misplaced instead of some arbitrary construct of my own mind! 🙂 Ah well. I really do think it’ll find it’s way back to me. 🙂 Here’s hoping!

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  9. George the monkey is absolutely adorable!
    Life is like flux…it has it’s ups and then it’s down. Maybe it’s the same with whatever it is we do? However good we are at it, there are times that we need to re-evaluate it, a time to take a break (and have a Kit Kat..hehe).
    Sometimes even though it seems that the external bad vibes haven’t left a mark on us, maybe there are residues…it lingers somewhere around us…give it enough build up and maybe it does affect us?
    Maybe that’s what your dream was about?

    I don’t really know…but I get what you are trying to say and I’m glad that you’re soldering on, because that’s one of the ways to do it. To not give in to those doubts..more of to look at it, invite it in, smile at it, give it a big old hug and tell it that “It’s okay!”. Maybe it’s just something that happens to remind us of our “humanness” which is kinda confusing because we are spiritual beings going on a human journey! But then again, having it said that way, it doesn’t seem so ironic after all does it? Because doubts are a human experience.

    Maybe it has to do with that mild obsession we all have about outcomes…you’ve never seemed to be that way…your posts don’t feel that way though..your posts certainly feel like you throughly enjoy the process of writing posts…not it’s outcome..

    Whatever it is Rara, you’re a natural talented writer…your ideas are there, never fear 🙂 A nice soak in a sea salt water bath may just do the trick 😉 *hugs*

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    1. I’ve always loved Curious George. He’s so.. charming! 😀 Your right that the negative vibes have left a bit of a residue… perhaps I need a sort of cleansing– a relighting of the areas that have fallen dark. Perfect timing for Diwali, right? 😀

      I am less worried about outcomes than most bloggers that I’ve run across… since I have a job I love and no desire to write full time. That doesn’t mean I don’t fidget and worry about my blog, haha– I’m obsessed with it, for sure– but it does mean when I write, its really just for me. 🙂 That sounds selfish, but it’s frightfully true!

      A bath was a brilliant idea. I’m all relaxed now. 😀 Thanks, Shree!

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      1. No, no you got it right. We do the things we love to do..and therefore we are joyful and that radiates out…see…so it all works out 😉

        Oo..I’m glad the bath helped!! 🙂

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  10. If it’s any consolation I enjoy your writing. We are always our own harshest critics. Blogging is hard anyway. Some posts flow easily to me, others I do feel like pulling teeth. Hang in there. We’re enjoying you! 🙂

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    1. Oh thank you! 🙂 I’m less worried about the writing, and more worried about the patterns of thought that lead to the writing. I think my brain might just be too full of other,unimportant stuff. 😀 Thank you for reading and for your supportive and kind words!

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  11. Oh Rara don’t worry, this too will pass. You have had a few below the belt knocks and are a bit winded. You’ll be grand in time when you work your way through it. I don’t think it’s all about your writing.
    I don’t ever plan or draft a post, I just write. Recently because life is so awfully sad in my world, with the death of a friends child and another critically ill, I have been all over the place, but I still want to write. I find it cathartic. I hope you find your way through all this soon. Write what you want, not what you think might work or be best received, I’ve always liked ( for the short time I’ve read your posts) your “real” posts. The one for your little sis birthday, your husband “not” doing anything special for you and all he really did, and the wonderfully helpful posts to those of us still learning.

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    1. Thank you. 🙂 I’m less worried about blogging and more worried about my mind. It’s hard to explain, but … being blank on a blog post is just a symptom, since my blogging is so tied to just the thoughts that wander past my mind. Luckily, I always do write what I want. I look at people who have niche/themed blogs, and I’m awed. I know I wouldn’t be able to wake up every day and post within a niche. As for well-received, I’d probably be inclined to do that if I had any idea why certain posts were well-received and why others aren’t, ha! 😀 Every time I think I figure that one out, something flops or soars and I’m all confused again.

      I’m sorry for all the sadness in your world right now. I’m thinking of you, and have been sending you good happy wishes every day. I hope they get to you soon. 🙂

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      1. Thanks a mil Rara. I hope you didn’t think I too was criticizing your blogging. I guessed the lack of blog thinking magic was a deeper problem and I was just trying to say to use your blog as an outlet if at all possible and not another stress. I am really sorry if it came across otherwise, definitely not my intention. I hope you get through this soon, because I have no doubt you will get through it. I have lived long enough and through enough to know life is tidal, its got its ups and down.
        Again I want to assure you I was not commenting on your blog or blogging. They are great otherwise I wouldn’t be here!.:)

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        1. Not at all! 😀 I understood you entirely and completely absorbed your positive message 🙂 … and actually… your comment sparked an idea for a post. I haven’t quite figured out how to put it together, but I’m gonna have fun with it, so yay! 🙂

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  12. I’m with you, sister. I also love what you said about doing the best at the things you know you can do the best at. I’m also a person who focuses her time and energy on those pursuits which are in the best interest of my talents. There are some things I have given a real go (like math or running) but alas, they aren’t in the cards for me. Instead, I write and hike. When you put your energy towards the things you want do anyway, you end up doing a better job overall.

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    1. Yay! I’m glad that made sense. Many people don’t understand it, and often try to prod me into doing the stuff I say I’m not good at.

      Like you, even when I give one of those things a real go … I always end up only enjoying it so far as I can make it about the things I love. 😀 ( Only, in my case, hiking and math would switch places. 🙂 )

      I really do enjoy everything I do, and I think a good portion of that is my steadfast dedication to doing what I do well. 🙂

      Thanks for understanding, Jen!

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  13. Winter is coming. It’s getting duller. I think you need more chocolate. Everyone needs more chocolate to survive winter. Chocolate makes everything brighter.

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  14. I loved this. It felt very soothing and organized for a post centering around losing one’s mojo. I have a few thoughts about the whole thing, the main one being: the more you help others find their peace, the easier it is to misplace your own. It’s happened to me a couple of times. More than a couple, now that I think about it. You’ll find your center soon enough, I hope.

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    1. Thank you, Erica! 😀 I have a whole post worth of thoughts centered around the one you shared. Running with the “out of tune” metaphor… I wonder if that’s why it’s easy to fall of your path when helping others. Maybe you start tuning yourself to their notes, and lose the ability to sound out your own? Hmmm. Of course, there’s probably an entire reverse argument for that line of thought, too! 🙂 Thanks for reading, Erica, and — as always– for inspiring thought! 😀

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  15. I’m out of sorts too. It’s probably something in the air, (I hear the pines are releasing stupid amounts of pollen just now so there you go), and it probably has to do with being stuck in a rut, and running out of time for things each day and shorter hours of daylight. But, whatever, good days and bad days. I think that jumping into something hard or frightening is definitely the way to go, So naturally I joined this blogher business yesterday without even knowing what I’m doing, (but then when has that ever stopped me), and so, to avoid looking like a complete air brain, I’ve linked to you…lol. (Pick one or more which apply: sorry, thank you, hugs, mwah) 🙂

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    1. I know, I saw, and I’ve linked you up– so glad to have you on my team. 🙂 Big goals are so much more achievable with my lovely friends. Hugs and mwah right back, V. 😀 (Oh, and it could be the sun flipping thing I was talking about earlier this year. See? Science is making me crazy! 🙂 )

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      1. Hey, Chloe just said Mercury is in retrograde…well…at least she looked like she knew what she was talking about. 🙂

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  16. You are good at what you do.

    Maybe you’ve raised your own standards by writing so well, and you’re struggling to reach your new heights. Or maybe it’s just that some days it takes more work to do a really good job than at other times. Or – have you had your flu shot? Maybe you’re catching something. (Sorry – sometimes my mom-self comes out uninvited.)

    Maybe it’s the part of the galaxy we’re traversing right now; I’ve had to struggle lately too, trying to pump out writing I’m willing to share.

    Maybe it’s that darn monkey, playfully stealing the words out of your head as you start to arrange them.

    Whatever it is, your posts are still really good. Would it help to officially let yourself post a bit less often for a few weeks and see if the mini-vacation allows you to create satisfying posts? (Well, there is NaBloPoMo…maybe serialize your posts, with a teaser one day and the ending later.)

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    1. It’s your mom-spidey-sense! I actually am going through another bout of pneumonia. I have the annoying reoccurring kind.

      I actually minimized posting recently, and while the world didn’t collapse, I was certainly bored. It’s less about the writing and more about being able to take an idea from conception to wrap up. It’s like my brain itself isn’t ticking quite the same way. I’d blame the pneumonia, but like I said, I get this all the time… so instead…

      I’m going to blame space, and the fact that the sun is flipping. 😀

      Thanks for being so caring! 😀

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  17. And you have still written these many words. That is so good. 🙂
    I go through this phase all the time and that is the reason why I write poetry and flash fiction prominently. Most of my posts are no more than 200 words long. I especially get agitated when the poem goes longer than what I expected it to be like. And it becomes hard to maintain the imagery and the metaphors. They tend to lose their colour, if left in open for long.
    I have written so many words in your comment section… must have saved them. 😀 Hope you find that spark of your immense imagination(which if you ask me is, still there). 🙂

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  18. Hugging you tight (it’s my answer to almost anything) Deep breath, be in the moment with those thoughts and feelings that prevent you from letting loose the way you want to. Deep breaths, follow the tide and let yourself be. Thank you for sharing. Sending much love your way xo

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  19. nice to read that I’m not the only one with “abundant confidence” and the knowledge that, yes, I’m usually good at anything I put my mind to doing…it’s also kind of nice to know that someone else gets those moments of enthusiastic nothings…enjoyed this post very much as usual, and for me the best way to get out of that odd state of inertia when I sing off key, is to go on singing…then the boat straighten out and it’s smooth sailing…boats are made for rocking 🙂

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    1. 😀 Thanks, Bastet. Laying claim to abundant confidence can seem vain sometimes, and I suppose it is– but it’s a trait of mine that I’m fond of, ha! 😀 Thank you for reading and for the boat-rocking advice– I love it! 🙂

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  20. Maybe your brain is just overtaxed. These days that happens to me a lot. Unlike me, you keep coming back and your energy is astonishing. Don’t overanalyze and your mojo will be back. Another thing, statements like the last one may stress some out but you have lots of self-confidence. I like your free spirit. 😉

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  21. I always read posts about having a “better” blog or whatever, and one of the headlines is always “Why don’t you go through all those drafts you never finished”, and I always thought that was weird because I only have 2 drafts, and they were both by accident. Then I immediately went into the mindset where I thought maybe I wasn’t doing this whole blogging thing right because I didn’t have drafts to complete, and then I realized that maybe I was the minority who just sat down and posted instead of actually thinking about what I was writing.

    Anyway… I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I think what I’m trying to say is that I think it’s actually kind of awesome you have that many drafts and that the probability of you having some AMAZING ideas in there is really high. And I also just wanted to comment and say Hi, haha.

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    1. Jake vs the City, I just stopped by your place recently! 😀 Nice to see you here!

      I also just sit down and write, but I’m a wordy person by nature so I’ll 600 words in and then think, “Uh, what was I saying again?” My general rule of thumb is, if I can’t think of a title that summarizes what the point is– then I don’t have a point, and I should just not say anything, ha. 🙂

      And I don’t know if there’s any such thing to the idea of doing blogging “right”… at least, not the writing part. 😀 And thank goodness for that… I love that we all do it so differently.

      Thanks for popping by, Jake!

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  22. Thanks for this. I’ve been feeling off for a couple weeks now, it’s been hard to keep writing and feeling like “I own this” like I normally do when writing. I too have dozens of drafts of late…I’m just trying to plow through and remember nothing stays the same…eventually I’ll get my mojo back…or not…but I can’t stop trying in the meantime…and I try to remember not every post, not every thought, is a homerun…in any event, thank you for sharing. It feels good to know there are many of us in this boat 🙂

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    1. Yes! “I own this” is exactly the feeling I love. It really is good to know that others have some idea what I’m talking about, ha! 😀 Thank you. *hugs*

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  23. I am amazed by all the drafts that you have. I don’t come up with many ideas of things to write about. I shoot for at least one post a week, and sometimes write more, but I found it interesting to read about how ideas bounce around you so quickly. I have to broaden my ideas, and I’m hoping NaBloPoMo will help with that.

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    1. I suppose it helps that I don’t really have a theme/topic/niche/length/purpose. Ha! 😀 That’s the opposite of most basic blogging advice, but I like that I can write about all the things that I love about the color red one day, and my thoughts on the American electoral system the next. It leaves my mind open to the possibility that everything is a post. 😀 I’m excited to be Po’ing it with you this month!

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  24. I feel that way too sometimes. And when it happens, I take a break or I try to give myself a break (which I’m not always that good at). Just know that using your voice to tell the world who you are and how you are is a wonderful thing. It gives people the opportunity to relate to someone and to learn about someone and there is definitely perfection in that. I’m sure of it.

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    1. “Who you are and how you are” – what a great expression. That’s one of the things I love most about blogging, learning how people work, and why they work, and who they see themselves as. It’s a beautiful tapestry we’re building, isn’t it? 😀

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  25. Wowza, that’s a lot of drafts. I don’t do drafts…I just can’t plan things out like that, maybe to the detriment of my blog, maybe not. At any rate, you have never had a post that I didn’t just swoon over, so your mojo is not hiding out somewhere…it’s right under your Rarasaur nose! Oh, and we’re rowmies now, so watch out, I’ll be stalking you. 😀

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    1. Rowmies, yay! *hugs* I think my favorite part of this Nano business is all the fun names. 😀 I don’t know if drafts are a good sign or a bad sign… for me they usually just herald ideas that plopped instead of danced, 🙂 Hurrah for stalking, Rose. You’re already on my stalk list, but now I get to say it’s because we’re rowmies… 😉

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  26. My problem has been time! Time to read and comment people’s posts. Time to write an post. I need to get off this fast train to chill for a bit. But it’s been going so fast lately, I miss the station to get off.

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    1. Post a picture! 🙂 Well, for me, a simple picture worth sharing takes infinitely longer than a wordy post– but everyone has something they can quickly turn out, right? 🙂 Not all our 30 days of posts have to be legendary. 🙂 *hugs*

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  27. Ugh, hate that feeling, but so relate to it. Love blogging for that reason, however, because you get to turn even that feeling into a post. 🙂 Keep going, rowmie!

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  28. Great post. Great blog. I used to have this type of thing and it really was perfectionism… but now I think it’s closer to what you’re getting at in this post. And of course you already know you haven’t lost your mojo. I personally think that writing is one of those creative things that is emptying out of me… so that means there are times that I have to put stuff back in. 🙂

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    1. Yes, it’s so close to perfectionism that I think people can confuse them. But I’m less worried about a typo, and more worried about capturing the thought that’s running around my brain. 😀 I love the idea that writing empties us… there’s something quite poetic to it. 🙂 Thanks for the kind thoughts, Michael, and thanks for reading! 🙂

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  29. I’m finishing my third book, starting a new website in January, and struggling with my blog’s identity through it all. I did nanowrimo in 2011 and 2012. Both of those ended up with bad manuscripts collecting internet dust inside my computer.

    You are very prolific rara. I think you’ll figure out November just fine. But I think we need to comment each other more. I read every post. I need to RAWR more.

    rawr

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    1. You should read my Nano creation last year– it’s awful, ha! 🙂 I wrote it, and finished it, so I feel like I won the challenge, but I’m happy for it to collect dust forever. 😀 I also read every one of your posts– I always mean to comment, but then… chicken out. Maybe I’ll just say “rawr” sometimes, and hope that you know that means I read it, loved it, and am listening. 🙂

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  30. I still have my “other” job as an accountant. It can’t get any more analytical or left brained than that. So, when life starts closing in and my creativity gets squashed, I do whatever makes me smile, laugh, or giggle. I keep it simple…or at least try. I’ll play little pranks on my hubby cause I know he’ll try to get even and we’ll end up in a fit of giggles. I’ll go play in the mud…literally. I’ll sing the Oompa Loompa song at the top of my lungs. I’ll go dance in the rain…or snow depending on the season.

    The biggest thing I avoid and it’s not exactly easy…is to compare myself to others. I’m me in the real world and I’m me in the blogosphere. I say what I think in the real world so I’ll type what I think here too. It can come back to bite me in the derriere, but I have to be true to me or I can lose who I’ve become. Personally, I like the lady who’s not afraid to belt out an Oompa Loompa Doopady Doo.

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    1. Except for the dancing in the rain/snow (I don’t like water, ha!).. I’m right with you! Nothing like a small prank or OoompaLoompa-ing to brighten the day! 😀

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  31. Urgh, I know this feeling well. I hope your mojo returns to you. I named my macbook pro “mojo” when I got it while living in China (my last one had been stolen from my backpack– hurling me into a can’t-write-fit-of-despair). Your muse will be back, she just likes to go dilly dally about so that you’ll appreciate her when she returns.

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    1. Oh my gosh, I can’t imagine the pain of losing my computer. I’d evaporate. And yay for naming inanimate objects, I always doubly trust people who do that. 😀

      You’ve hit the nail on the head regarding my muse. She likes to make an entrance! 🙂

      Thanks, Aussa!

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  32. Gosh, I’m off my game so much, it’s often hard to remember what my game is! I just rest for a while with the faith that it will all come back it its own time. Worrying just makes it worse…at least for me.

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