This week started out so well… or so I thought. I had written everyday until Thursday – on which I had an overabundance of school work and what I like to call “out of the house work” or what you may call “the paycheck work”.
On that day I felt a bit sad for not having written. You know that nagging little back of the brain feeling that says, “You didn’t do ANYTHING”? Well Friday rolled around and I was determined to do SOMETHING. What was on my writing agenda for that day? I thought I remembered an editing job… or maybe it was that short story I had been meaning to begin? I couldn’t remember, but whatever was “next” on my writing projects rotations is what I was going to do and I was going to do it today!
Well as you can probably guess THAT didn’t happen either.
So now its Saturday… well Saturday NIGHT to be exact and I still haven’t written a thing. When I woke up I felt BAD. Not sick kind of bad just totally empty inside kind of bad. I felt behind on everything including LIFE. I was two lessons behind in school, my snake needed food, my writing was dull and boring – in fact non existent – and worse of all I wasn’t spending what I calculated to be enough time with my family seeing as how it was the holidays.
Well now, (shall I repeat) on Saturday NIGHT, three days without writing a SINGLE SENTENCE, I find myself on Pinterest looking at beautiful writers offices and folders and desks and typewriters lamenting the fact that I have only a simple laptop and a bed upon which to sit my tired bottom.
While feeling utterly bereaved in my current state of writers slump I realized something, something even worse than the fact that I hadn’t written, physically, in three days. I hadn’t written – really written – anything since NOVEMBER 23! That is – collectively – a horribly, awfully long, FOURTEEN DAYS.
I felt so empty to realize that I had allowed my ROUTINE to get in the way of my SOUL, of my HEART in my writing. I had gotten stuck in the middle of distracting, weighty formulas and time slots and word counts. I’d let my writing become bogged down and I realized when I do this my writing, and when you do this YOUR writing, loses its WORTH.
No one can be bettered with a 50,000 word novel, or even a 150,000 word novel, if the author of that novel was continually thinking, “okay today I have to get down 2,000 words in one hour. That is chapter seven. What happens in chapter seven again?”
Or if he is thinking, “I need my book to be this long so that means each chapter has to be this length. Everyone KNOWS that a publisher wont take a book that has chapter lengths all over the place. ”
Or even if he is thinking, “Okay what do the experts say is the best way to get this thing done?”
Do you see what I mean? Now I am most certainly NOT saying plung pell mell into novel without a bit of knowledge of where your going. I am however pointing out the fact that it doesn’t matter how organized your book is, or your blog post, or your letter, or your sermon, is if your HEART isn’t in it.
If you notice above each of these examples had nothing to do with the STORY or the CHARACTERS – it had NOTHING to do with the CONTENT. Wouldn’t you agree that the content is what matters, that not just the plot, but the DRIVE of the plot is what changes you and affects you as you read? Then shouldn’t that be where our focus is?
Isn’t the PURPOSE of writing to pour the gross and dirty coals of our lives and our experiences into the hearts of another where it might become a FIRE?
Fires don’t come from plans, or numbers. Fires come from spontaneous combustion. Those moments where we sit before our computer screens or our writing pads and we explode out upon the page. THAT alone is where our writing is valuable.
EDITING is where the organization comes in. PLANNING is where the book is born, but WRITING is where we just pour, and pour and pour.
You can’t put a time constraint, or word constraint on the volume of your heart.
You know the feeling. You LOVE the feeling. It’s the feeling that made you writer. That feeling of awe and excitement that envelopes you and makes you want to write for hours as your character takes over the story and shows you where to go. Some people choose to call that inspiration, something that comes and goes at will.
I choose to call it pouring.
I choose to call it life.
I choose to call it my very self.
You don’t have to wait for inspiration to hit you or NaNoWrimo to push you into the whirl. You just have to sit down, daily, freely, openly, prayerfully and POUR.
That means writing when your tired, writing when your mad, writing when your confused or you don’t know what to say or how to make things change for the better and most of all that means writing even if it sounds stupid, even if it helps no one but you, even if you finish it, print it, hide it in your underwear drawer and delete the computer file.
Even something that only you ever read because it was too messy, or too silly or even too raw for the rest of the world to view was FIRE enough.
It lit something inside you.
It blew off the dust.
It emptied you,
and filled you.
Even if you don’t change the world at least you changed yourself.
And remember if you change yourself, you DO change the world, because your touch is unique. Your the only you there is and when YOU improve so does the world.
That’s the writing you want, isn’t it?
That’s the writing you know you NEED, but are too afraid to pen.
That’s the writing the world CRAVES.
So sit down. Write. Even if only for you. Forget the time limits, forget the dishes (at least for now) shut off the numbers running in your brain, stop peaking at your outline or rereading what you’ve got every two seconds. STOP EDITING – that comes later. STOP WORRYING – that should never happen. Just write. Just pour.
Then you’ll stop feeling like your not DOING enough. Why? Because there’s no such thing.
Remember two hundred words can be just as powerful as 2,000 if they come from your heart.
Never stop pouring. Live your life to pour.
Set something aflame.
I know I have.