Fallow Fields

By Guest Blogger Cynthia Patton

35th Birthday Rental Lenses 086Okay, I’ll admit it. Before Writer’s March, I hadn’t written anything for several months. Why? I’m not sure. Why do any of us lose momentum and stop doing something that we love, something we know in our heart of hearts is as essential as air?

Perhaps one day I will have the answer to this mystery, but for now all I know is that I often go through fallow periods in my writing. At these times, the words seem dead—except they aren’t.  They are merely dormant like roses and fruit trees, waiting for longer, warmer days to produce a rush of new growth and blooms. I may not like it, but I’ve learned to trust this cycle, trust that the words will eventually come just as spring follows a hard winter.


There have been many changes and new developments in my life of late. It’s taken me 50-plus years, but I’ve learned that sometimes it behooves me to sit back and wait, see what happens before I open my mouth or put pen to paper. I’d like to say that’s what I’ve been doing, but it wouldn’t really be true. I wasn’t consciously waiting for anything. I was stuck in neutral, mindlessly spinning my gears. I wanted to write, but I couldn’t muster the strength/will/courage to do so.

It’s not as if I’ve been completely idle. Instead of writing I’ve been meeting new people, reading, and watching movies. I’ve been gathering strength for battles I know will come. I’ve been cooking and creating new recipes as well as working hard on book promotion for my poetry collection.

The other thing I’ve been doing is going within, wandering in the wilderness of myself. I always tend towards introspection in winter, but this year I went deeper and farther than ever before. I questioned my assumptions, re-evaluated my priorities. This has been an ongoing process since my daughter’s autism diagnosis and my subsequent separation and divorce, but this year it felt as if I’m finally at the truth, getting to the core of what it means to be me.

Maybe it’s because of this, but I feel ready to tackle the next (and probably hardest) phase of my memoir. I could be wrong, but I think if I make a push I can finish it. Or at least get close.  Perhaps I needed the fallow period to prepare for this task Or maybe it was merely procrastination, pure and simple. I’m not sure. What I do know is that writing is easier when I stop fighting and trust the process.

It’s easier, but never easy.

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