To the Writer Who Wants to Write But Life is a Little Too Much in the Way
You're that writer. But you're the one person with the best excuse I've ever heard. But that just makes me want to cry, that excuse you have.
You followed a dream that wasn't kind to you and writing stories just kind of got kicked out of existence. But you found a new dream and you never gave up on your little boy.
And it just makes tears blur all the words I want to say, and all I can do is just well up to bursting. I know that the aching desire to write is making your heart and hands tremble because you cannot. Because what if you can't remember how, or what if the stories just don't want you any more?
What if you've lost it all? The way you sounded on the page, the way the people in the stories made themselves real to you, the way the light and the shadows, the sounds, the tastes all manifested themselves to you? What if you've forgotten how to feel them? What if you can't remember how to let them pour out of your soul? What if the world has knocked you so hard that all the closed up places of your heart you used to breathe word-music just won't open again?
What if you can't write any more?
Yeah, I know. I am that person, too. I would just curl up beneath my covers, trying to get away, to stop aching, to will away all those voices and stories, ideas and people rolling and tossing in my head. Things I had no words left in me to write, willing them to be silent, because I didn't know where to start writing them down, how to capture them, if they would stay long enough to let me be their portal to wordly shape and form. But the longer I didn't write them down the more they tortured me, and battered the insides of my soul till I bruised and ached with a hurt I didn't even understand.
Everyday I have to start at the beginning. I have to go back and be that new wanna-be-writer girl hidden away in her closet with the yellowish glow of a lamp, a pen, and a notebook that once had five hundred fresh, crisp, hopeful pages in it. But now it's a limp, starved thing with stretched out spirals and fragments of its short lived beauty falling in pieces around my chair, crumpled pages piling up at the edges of my feet--shards of my heart.
We wanted to be writers SO BADLY, didn't we? And we never stopped writing because we wanted it SO much.
Everyday I have to sit down and I have to remember that girl who followed each and every geyser of inspiration, who dropped whatever she was doing to run and write something down. Everyday I have to be that girl who writes down just one single word that captured her fancy, even though the next day she hated it and why in the world did she write that down when there were so many others whirling around her head she couldn't remember now?
It's a Start-New-Everyday process. But more like a Start-Everyday-Like-You-Want-To-Be-A-Real-Writer process.
Remember we said how it seemed like when we were younger we just lived on inspiration? It was our food day and night, there was just so much more of it lying around. We've got high school years of paper, broken pencils, and inkless pens, and baskets full of crinkling, scribbled in notebooks and drawers in our desks we don't like to open because we'll cringe if we read what we wrote when our lives were young and small but our hearts so full of this giddy, unfathomable world where just about anything we'd ever dreamed was possible with just a handful of words. Where did it all go? What happened to it? It's like it vanished. It's like we grew up and writing started to not like us any more. What happened to us?
Surround yourself with inspiration. Steep yourself in writing you love, in stories and communities, in people who encourage you and make you want to write. Be there, show up, go looking for it, follow it down rabbit holes, let that little piece of dialogue or that spark of an idea just take you away. Because inspiration is still in plenteous supply around here, we've just grown up, we changed, we're becoming the kind of humans we were meant to be. Inspiration is still constantly throwing itself at us in new ways, just from different directions, we just need to get out there and look for it, to be ready for it. To be open to every direction, to not disregard or shake our heads, to write something off because that wasn't the way it came to us before.
My favorite girlhood author says, "Ideas are everywhere."
Can't you just FEEL the freedom in that sentence?? You've got to see that as possibility and not hindrance. The fact that ideas are everywhere makes this writing stuff sound so much easier. It means that our inspiration isn't gone, it's still there, just waiting for us to happen upon it. It's everywhere!
It doesn't mean our supply shortened because we grew up and dreams changed and you're a single mom now . . . It means that it will always, always be there. It doesn't mean that you forgot or you somehow lost this precious gift of storytelling, it doesn't mean your soul is empty--it means that you have a bazillion more chances to write something new, to FILL your soul. It means now you don't have to let inspiration do all the work, that you are capable and you are strong enough to let yourself do the work where inspiration has failed.
It means, yes, you've grown up, and yes, you've changed, and this means that a bazillion more ways just opened up for you to be a writer. That this stuff isn't limited, it means you'll always find new and better ways to put your words down every single day. It means you are a writer, you're a writer when you write, you're a writer even when you don't write, you're a writer in your sleep when you dream because you see possibilities even from your pillow and even from the subconscious of your mind you're writing stories. You are being who you are just by aching over the fact that you're missing who you are when you don't write. You are a writer because you want to write. You are a writer despite life being a little too much in the way.
I hope this helps. Thanks for dropping my neck of the woods and having coffee and healing my soul with skipping the majority of the small talk and diving right into deep questions, conversations, and heart-to-hearts. Thanks for all the hugs.