Writing is an immensely personal thing. In writing you're translating thousands of thoughts, emotions and ideas from the muddled mess flying around in your head into something clear and intriguing. Letters, words, sentences and paragraphs that communicate something going on in you to the big old world out there. Maybe you noticed something while out on a walk, overheard a conversation in the grocery store or experienced something that got your mind twirling. Whatever it is, you have to write about it. Not because your thoughts, insights and quirky humor are better that others but for the simple reason that writing is what you do. You may not be good at a lot of things, heck you may not even be a "good" writer, but you process the events and emotions of life by putting words on a page. There is rarely anything so exhilarating as that rare moment when you communicate exactly what you're experiencing, or thinking in just the right sequence of words. It might not be Shakespeare but its about as close as you'll ever come. When that moment arrives, few things are as magical.
Your writing goes far beyond mere expression and processing, it is an avenue to help, encourage and serve others. There are what 8 billion people in the world, a large swath of whom have internet access. It is safe to say that there are quite likely many other people walking through the exact same things as you are each and every day. Will all of them find your dinky little blog and read it? No they won't. What if however your writing finds it's way into the hands of one person somewhere in the world you've never met and most likely never will and it helps them? How marvelous an outcome would that be? I can think of no better outcome for my writing than for the words and sentences I slam together to in some small way help, uplift and encourage another.
What makes writing so hard?
Few things are as terrifying as a white blank page. It can be utterly paralyzing. You freeze. You don't know where to begin, what to say or even how to say it. Paralyzing fear sets in and you can now think of a thousand other things you'd rather be doing than staring at this blank page, and pounding your head into the desk hoping words will come out. At that moment you wouldn't care what words came out. Any words will do. You are simply and utterly terrified.
Sound familiar? I know it sure does to me. That is my life most days. I sit down to write and.....nothing. My mind goes blank and I just sit there staring at the screen hoping something will come to mind. As you talk with most people who enjoy writing you will find this is an entirely normal occurrence. Never mind that it's normal though, it is still down right frustrating. You want to write, you even have time set aside for this express purpose, but the words won't flow. And then it hits you. You're over thinking it and making things way harder than they have to be. You realize you don't have to pen a master piece, you just have to get words out of your head and on to the page. Nothing more nothing less.
What can we learn from it?
I have written very little over the last several months. I've sat down to write, and the words just haven't been there. As I've tried to figure it out and put my finger on exactly what's going on in my heart a few things have stood out to me.
1. Don't be overly concerned with what other people think. It's a killer. Being over concerned with the thoughts and opinions of others has stopped me from writing all together the last few weeks. The thought has been, "If I don't have anything 'good' and 'helpful' to say, I just won't write anything. After all, I'd hate to write something people dislike, and/or even laugh at. That would just be the worst." In reality, no one cares that much about what you write. Not that many people will read it anyway, so you might as well just write. If by some miracle someone does, so what if they don't like it. The worst that that can come of it, is just that, they don't like it or share it with their friends. That's not such a big deal when you pause to think about it.
2. Your habits really matter. As I've mentioned, I've really dropped the ball and fallen out of the daily discipline of writing. Normally, I'm all about habits and routines. So much of your personal productivity is tied to the habits you keep. Its time to reconstruct my habits and reinstitute this all too important one into my day. Will I love or even like everything I write? No, but I'll be practicing and improving with each and every key stroke. And that the most important thing.
3. Some things ebb and flow. One moment ideas, topics, analogies and all around genius seem to come pouring out of you. It just comes so easy. You know what you want to say, the words come quickly and you're done. Sadly, that isn't the case on most occasions. There is a grind to it. Most days you have to keep pushing, keep writing and rewriting until you complete something your satisfied with.
4. Grace abounds. If you go a few weeks or months without writing consistently, it's not the end of the world. Writing after all is first and foremost a manner of expression and method of processing. The blog monster can be a mean one. One that can be overwhelming and demanding for sure. There can easily be a feeling that you "have to publish" on a particular schedule. Be free to publish on your very own schedule. There are no rules when it comes to blogging. Isn't that great news? You get to use it in whatever way you desire. So don't beat yourself up if you miss a day, a week or even a month. Just crack open journal, notebook or laptop and start writing again.