Hey, Writerly Women. This lovely lady is the newest addition to our community -- Amy Etrheim. Like all of you she is Insanely Interesting. She has spent significant time in South America, speaks fluent Spanish, has worked as a medical interpreter and is a marvelous dancer. That's just some of the stuff that makes her fascinating. I know you'll make her welcome.
Amy is also a former Doorways client of mine, and in a recent email she reminded me of something I apparently said to her when we were working together. (I actually do remember it, Amy, because it was so true!) Here's what she wrote:
"Although at the time of our talks I was pretty young and scattered, I am pretty excited to feel a little more ready to start taking my writing journey seriously. I'm sure I will still have scattered moments to come, but one thing I will never forget is how when I sent you my rough emotional life processings, you told me it was uncanny that my thoughts came out as nearly polished poetry."
In one such poem, Amy addressed something so many of you have talked of in your questions for our future posts (which have been amazing, by the way):
I don’t want to write
I don’t want to write.
Because my heart is
being ripped apart
inside of me
and I don’t want to
think about it.
I don’t want to write
because it causes me to see
the condition of my heart
and sometimes that’s ugly
I don’t want to write
because I’m in the middle
of a fight
We want to write -- but we don't -- and we can't -- and then we let too much time go by -- and then we miss it and we ache and we feel wretched. Am I right?
LILY voiced that very thing to me. "Life has been so scattered, discouraging, sad, crazy. I've been discombobulated." In her comment she said, "I've been on the same journey as those who have wondered whether quitting would be the better or wiser choice. Going without working on either of my manuscripts for 6-10 months (?) and not feeling the courage, inspiration, confidence to write was very discouraging. So, I'm cheering everyone who's been there or is there, with a resounding, 'You've got this.' Sometimes, going back to the driving passion helps."
We may have talked about this before, but I think it bears repeating in this context. Perhaps if we could each get back to our driving passion we will once again, want to write. Perhaps then the ugly conditions of our hearts and our fights with God and our general discombobulation and discouragement won't keep us from our stories and our poems and our articles and our everything that is writing.
Your questions have been deep and thought-provoking, and we are going to cover all of them. I think, though, that this one is foundational for all the rest. Are you up for a challenge?
- Look at that project you're struggling with or have shelved and are putting off getting back to. Don't read it critically or do any editing or think about the feedback you've gotten that has been confusing and demoralizing (another topic we'll be addressing)
- Instead, let it remind you of the passion that drove you to begin it. Not the way you got the idea. Not the character who kept nagging you until you did something with her. Not the suggestion from someone else that you should really write a book about that. The Passion. The Driving Passion that sent you to the notebook or the keyboard or the cocktail napkin. Write it in a strong, pithy sentence or paragraph.
- Then write about it some more. Write until you feel your blood running warm in your veins. Until you're gnawing on that thumbnail you always find yourself nibbling when you're on a roll. Until you get the fire in your belly or the bounce in your body or the zing in your thoughts that made you start your project in the first place. Don't just think it. Feel it.
- Then share that with us. Not the whole thing, obviously, but the core of it. Do it in prose or poetry. Do it in whatever form you want, but do let us see it. We can encourage each other by filling the comment board with passion.
Don't consider yet what you're going to do with that. We'll go there when I return the week of April 7. I have to go out of town on a family matter, so this gives you plenty of time to sink into this. Passion will be waiting for you there.
One more thing. If you can't find that passion, not to worry. Tell us that too.
Meanwhile, have a great week. This is Holy Week, a season that anticipates the Great Passion. What better time?