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Shut your eyes, think back, think back as far as you can to when you started. Can you remember what it was like when you first started writing? What was it like for you? Did you write because it was a natural extention of who you are? I remember writing my mom notes when I didn’t have the words to talk to her. Some of my notes were words of love and appreciation, and sadly…some of them weren’t. Notes of anger and condemnation. But my mom, she read them all. And took her time in answering me when my notes must have been none to pleasing to her. She kept a lot of those notes eh? The ones of praise and questions, where the notes there were less positive found their way out the door.
Do you know in those notes to my mother I didn’t care about sentence structure, or fluid sounding sentences, or how it would look or what mom might think? I wrote because I had things to say and not the ability to say them out-loud. Seems a bit foolish to me now looking back but you know what? I still have that, the ideas the float around in my head and that lack of ability to put those words on my tongue. It’s so much easier to write than it is to talk.
The problem is this now though. Now when I write I find myself concerned about what people will think. Will they like what I write? Will the SEO come through okay? Who might see and find a reason to complain? What if I mess something up, will people only focus on that, or will they see my heart? In my devotionals, will they see the Lord come through or will they only see the words I write and how I falter at times? So many thoughts and concerns flood my brain that sometimes, just sometimes, the words don’t want to come through and out. And I want, no rather… I NEED those words to come out. I need to share what I’m learning and what I think about the topics that enter my life. Keeping my words bottled up doesn’t help me at all.. and doesn’t allow my readers to learn either you know?
It begs the question: what does a writer do when concerns about form and function stifle? When concerns about the reactions of people slow the pen?
Go back to the beginning. Take on again the mind of a beginner when the possibilities are endless? Before you preconceptions, expectations, judgements and prejudices settle in. Go back and regain your eagerness. Be willing to start anew, to find a fresh perspective.
Like today.. I have to admit, today was not an easy day, and I called a friend and she graciously came over and shared a cup of tea with me. We didn’t talk as deeply as I would have like as 12 year olds have big ears and he doesn’t need to know everything that troubles my heart. As we talked, I shared briefly that thoughts that the Parkinson’s book had on my thinking. How changing one thing can make another thing better which can have this massive trickle down affect that can be mind-blogging. How one has to FIGHT, actively fight against letting a disease or a situation get the better of you. As we were talking I could feel myself resetting myself. To acknowledge that right now things are tough. THEY ARE. No way to change that. But I can change how overwhelmed I feel about adjusting to changes in routine, about supporting my family through this change, about thinking outside the box for possibilities in how I can make an income and make a difference here.
So to, it is with writing.
It can so very easily, become overwhelming, when one considers all the things one can write about, and then the desire to write about them well.
A beginner is not bogged down by that. They only see the possibilities and they set out and write. Just as I used to just write letters to my mom, and write stories just to please myself, if I remember those days, and seek to go back to that freedom… oh.. it’s a lovely thing indeed. The freedom that sets loose in my mind.
Don’t worry so much about your writing. Just write. Let it come from your heart. Find a way for those words inside of you to just spill out. Don’t let your expectations, opinions and stresses drown out your words. Remember your heart when you first started to write, remember that urge that welled up inside to write and share. Write like no one is watching.