One year ago I said I would never write a blog. Two months later, here I am, still writing blogs. Oh no…Not another blog! You may want to grab a glass of wine for this one. Words have power, meaning, and purpose. To heal, or to harm. To build up or tear down. The weight of how we use our words deeply matters. The secret lies in learning how to use our words wisely.
As a reader and a writer, I love well written words, strung together in poetic prose that have the ability to create a life-giving melody. The time spent crafting the perfect sentence that holds the potential to penetrate a deep place inside the hearts of those who hear them.
Writing becomes a delicate dance between thoughts unspoken and the smooth glide of a pen on paper. The power of a properly placed word to create curiosity, to challenge, to inspire, to empower. I love the pondering, the stretching, then the releasing. In order to write well we must first learn to listen. Listen to what you might wonder…
First, it starts with the beat of your own heart.
The internal and mysterious knowing.
That pesky little thought that keeps surprising you or consuming you from seemingly out of nowhere.
Listen for the gentle, quiet, whisper from within.
Follow it with curiosity to wherever it might be leading you.
What happens when words can somehow be twisted by the listener to mean something which was never intended? It occurs more than we can imagine, especially if what one writes is meant to stretch or challenge. Hastily, we type out our responses to something that’s been written, very rarely giving a second thought as to why someone else’s words, thoughts, or opinions feel so triggering.
It’s a delicate balance to pour forth the hidden treasures stored deep within our hearts. It can feel too risky. Too open. Full of uncertainty and vulnerability. I begin to imagine its safer to keep my thoughts close, keep my words even closer. It’s a slippery slope you see. Close. Closer. Closed. I can feel the words becoming stuck in my throat. The space between my heart and my voice blocked off by a boulder with the word FEAR engraved upon it.
The fear of rejection, being misunderstood, and overly exposed is all too real at times.
It takes a ton of courage to stay open where the heart lays bare and unprotected.
Fear of being just another voice in an overly crowded market. Do people even read blogs anymore?
Nobody liked or shared my post, OH MY! (insert surprised face here). I must be terrible at this. The honest truth, though, is that so much of writing has to do with marketing and who has time for that?
It’s already been said, already been done, nothing new under the sun. How many more self-help, how-to’s, and don’t do’s can we possibly read about. Blah, Blah, Blah, bear with me as I travel down this road of misery, plunging myself into the depths of my own self-pity. It’s quite obvious that I’m forgetting this is a gift and not a burden.
I’m a fairly new writer, and I’m still struggling to find my rhythm. After writing one of the most difficult books ever written. All books come with a level of difficulty, but memoirs feel particularly hard. The blood, sweat, and sometimes tears falling on the pages. Naked and afraid is gravely understated. I spent two years on that book and quite frankly I feel tired. Why can’t I just sit here and drink wine, all while eating dark chocolate, and watching Frozen for the hundredth time. It’s funny because it’s true!
I observe other writers who have been doing this for years, as their lives are scrutinized or criticized. I am left with the ever-pressing questions of why do they do this? How do they continue to open themselves up to the world? How do they stay raw, divulging to critics and fans alike the tender places within them? What is it that continues to compel them? Why on earth don’t we all just stop? Is it really worth it?
Don’t worry, I’m getting to the point of my so miserable it’s actually funny story. Before I drown you right along with me in the eternal abyss of my own despair, there is hope for us all.
Hope for the journey
The simple truth is that words have power, meaning, and purpose. Long after we are gone our words will still remain. I remember all those who have gone before us, paving the way. Great thinkers and story tellers. Rachel Held Evans wrote a book that changed my life and very shortly after she unexpectedly died. The Grimke Sisters, who played a major role in women’s rights and the abolition of slavery, are surprisingly still seeing the fruit of their works over two hundred years later. Imagine that for a second! Words that you have written traveling through time, long after your time on earth has vanished. Written words have the power to live on for generations far beyond our own.
If you have hit a wall in the creative process keep pressing in. Follow your heart to the place that feels real unsafe. According to Elizabeth Gilbert that’s where the magic happens. Reading her book, Big Magic has saved me in this process. In it she says “The essential ingredients for creative living remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust. If you haven’t read her book, get it here. The woman is an absolute genius.
If you have lost your words for whatever reason, don’t worry they will come back to you in a moment of surprise, or in a couple of weeks, maybe even months because that’s how long it took for me to finish this blog.
Click here for Rachel Held Evans book Inspired
For the fictional book, The Invention Of Wings, written about the Grimke Sisters, click here.