My Words Dried Up

by Catherine Evans


I’m just starting to find them again


Towards the end of 2019, my words stopped.

I had no words to express myself, my thoughts and feelings, about what was happening in Australia — bushfires, destruction, loss.

I still don’t have words to express that, or for the global pandemic that happened next. Nor for the chaos around the world, the illumination of broken of systems, and everything that is happening.

At the beginning, I panicked. A writer without words is pretty damn useless.

I took photos of nature while I turned inward, searching for what was blocking my words. Was I not voicing something? Was I not in touch with myself? Was there a fear of publishing? Some other fear? What was wrong with me?

As the year progressed, and words remained elusive, I thought about my learning style. When I do a writing course, I learn so much that I have to stop writing until I can process all the knowledge. It’s weird, but it’s how I work.

Living in tumultuous times is a form of learning. I’m constantly analyzing what I’m seeing, hearing, and learning. What’s causing this? What do I need to do now? How can I do better? What does this mean? These questions aren’t too dissimilar to what I ask myself when I’m learning new skills for writing.

My struggle to process, understand, adjust, and change, has left me with little energy to produce words. I’m still trying to understand what is happening — there’s no way I can produce words.


How did I manage?

A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to ‘go with the flow’. If words weren’t flowing, I needed to honor myself and spend the time doing something else.

I took the year off. After a time, I even stopped berating myself for my ‘failing’.

As 2020 inched towards a close, my fingers began to itch and my brain began to find a word or two. Nothing substantial, let me assure you, but a word, then a thought. Ideas started to pop into my mind. Characters left a snippet of a conversation behind.

I became ridiculously excited and planned writing, books, going back to what I was doing before.

Ha! Life. I think it may have other plans for me.

I got 5000 words into a planned 60, 000 word story…and it’s rubbish. Usually I can get much further before I decide that, then push on because I know it’s my fear talking. This time, I don’t think it’s fear. Not that I really know.

I suspect I’ve changed. If I’ve changed, then my writing will need to change because it’s such a strong part of me.

The problem with that is that I’m not yet sure how I’ve changed and what that means for my writing — and that’s more than a bit frustrating!


Now what?

Which brings me here, today, where I have a few words…but I’m not sure what they say, where they fit, what they mean, or why I’m writing them.

However, maybe there are others who’ve lost their words too. If so, you’re not alone.

If not, then I’m alone, and that’s okay because I’m still working things out. I do that best alone.


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium


About Catherine Evans

From Medium: Catherine Evans is an Australian, writer and creator. Inspired by nature and living. Weird thoughts are entirely my own, and I know they’re often not like other people’s!

Browse Catherine Evans at her Website.