To start off the new year, I have two confessions. 1. I am a lazy writer. 2. I am lazy because writing terrifies me.
I’ve always been the one who is a step outside of reality. I’ve made up stories and used my imagination all my life. I was exploring mysterious forests in other dimensions before I started school, imagining worlds that didn’t exist long before I could read. When I’m writing, I know that I’m doing what God made me to do. I feel purpose, I feel like I have a place in the world. Writing is who I am, and yet, it terrifies me.
The brain of a writer is a bit frightening to behold. There are always multiple thoughts roaming around my head, a plot twist pushing a secondary character out of the way, yelling at me not to forget him. The first line of a story bobs around back in my subconscious, and I try to get back there to think it over and figure out how I can tie that first line into the final ending. They’re always talking up there in my head, waiting (not so patiently) for their turn to be written down. Those thoughts are so precious to me, I never want any idea to get lost. Putting a pen to paper and knowing that, out of all of the thoughts and elements and ideas I have, I have to pick just one at a time and then make it tie in with all of the rest of the ideas in my head, that makes me shake in my boots.
So, instead of running straight into the firestorm of my subconscious, I bar up the windows and say, “Eh, they’ll wait. I’ll write someday when it’s easier”. The only problem is that it never gets easier. Being a writer is like being a runner. You have to get through that initial period where it feels like your lungs are on the brink of combustion, push past the pain and keep working your muscles until you get into the swing of things. Out of fear, I refuse to push myself through that period, and I go for weeks without picking up a pencil. Yet, when I’m not writing, the idea machine in my brain never slows down. It’s alway on overflow, and pretty quickly it becomes like that unread email folder everyone has that just keeps growing and becoming a bigger and bigger chore the more you ignore it. The guilt sets in, “Why am I so lazy? I should’ve done this months ago, and now there are so many things piled up to do.” And yet that always ends with, “I’ll do it another day, when I feel better about it.”
And it’s here that I find myself. Writing becomes a chore, like something I owe to my ideas, instead of what it should be, my privilege. I will justify any cause to get out of writing. I need to have everything else marked off my to do list before I write. I need to be showered, dressed, the house needs to be clean, the dishes must be done. It all needs to be done or else, you know, I can’t concentrate. It’s all a lie. If I pushed through it the hard parts, I would concentrate just fine, showered or not, in my pajamas or in an evening gown.
I know that it’s rare to be given such a satisfying outlet. So many people feel emotions but they can’t explain them, they can never find the words to voice it when they feel love, joy, sorrow, loss, agony, pride, jealousy, regret… I’ve been given the gift of an imagination, and I know what a huge privilege it is to be able to voice the way that I’m feeling. I’m a reserved person, but when I write, I can share my heart and my mind with others. I can create something that will speak to people long after I’m gone. That kind of honor is mind boggling.
So starting today, I will stop running and accept my gift, fears and all. Not because it’s a debt I owe my gift, but because it’s such an honor that’s been bestowed on me that I would be crazy not to take it and nurse my writing back to health. Even though it makes me want to be sick, and I am just barely holding myself back from drowning my nerves in a vat of junk food (why did I make the resolution not to eat junk food?), I am going to face my fears and write. The house is not clean, I am sitting amidst a pile of unfolded clothes that makes me wonder if a tornado circled my room a few times when I wasn’t looking. But writing is no longer at the bottom of my list, so I am going to have to burrow into my mountain of clothes and get comfortable.
Tosca Lee said, “I dread writing. I crave writing. I flee writing. I relish writing. Apparently there are two people living inside of me.” My New Years Resolution is to fight that girl inside me that says to quit.
The first step in my new year is writing on my blog. I so much appreciate all of my readers and I’m sorry I haven’t been around, but… well, see the above explanation. I am going to honestly try to share my journey, and push through the terror I’m feeling right now, because I don’t want to squander my gifts anymore.
Please join me as I stumble my way back into the writing world, I am glad for all the friends I can find!
What are your New Years Resolutions?