Lately I’ve been desperate to write. To update this site. To update you all on some adventurous part of my life. But it’s been a struggle. I long for some poetic and profound words to flow and inspire you. Truth be told, I haven’t felt inspired.
I want to encourage you in some way. Inspire you to be creative, bold, productive, or unique. I want to bring you words of comfort. But I haven’t known what to say. Truth is, writing is not always writing.
Lately, the blank paper has begun to taunt me. Without words to put down the white expanse stares me down, tantalizingly challenging me. It tells me to try, but my words won’t be good enough. It tells me to try, but I’ll be disappointed in myself. It tells me to try, but no one will read it anyway.
I tried switching from paper to digital hoping for a disconnect from the dreadful voice. Digital seemed easier, faster, more productive by 21st century standards. No longer having to run my fingers across paper’s sensitive pores, I could simply type away. Without the emotional connection, detest at my own handwriting, or smudged ink slowing me down. But the blank screen shouts the same threats.
Even faster than I can get the words down, I stretch my smallest and most fearful finger to the back space key, tapping it repeatedly like a fearful case of OCD locks the door 17 times for assured safety.
Just like that it’s all gone.
It was terrible anyway, so I try again. This time it flows a little longer and I get an entire stream of thought out and breathe to re-read it. It’s terrible. It’s not complete. What else could I say? It’s too obvious. A child could write this. It’s not original, everyone knows this anyway. I have better things to do with my time. The timid tapping begins, each pixel is deleted and the door is locked for the 34th time.
I think back to the times I stared paper down before and conquered it. How it magically turned into a tool, how I wrote the sweetest poem or blog post or letter that I’m still so proud of to this day.
But I’ll never live up to again.
I don’t remember what inspired me. How I got past the blank paper. How I was content with the words. These days I listen to and read other words so much that I’m filled up with ideas, stories, and truths. I get inspired but find myself paraphrasing someone else’s idea and sadly realize I have nothing to add. It’s not mine to share. It’s cool, but it’s not me, it’s not new, and it’s not who I want to be. So I sheepishly stretch out my pinky, tap, and the door is locked for the 51st time.
Truth is, writing is painful. It’s pouring yourself out and exposing parts of yourself you may not want to. It’s not all the artistic sweet posts, best selling books, or top charting song lyrics. It’s exercise, stretching you constantly and making you sore. It often takes turning off all the other voices and distractions, asking yourself a hard question, and following through with the answer.
Inspiration doesn’t always fall in your lap, you have to work for it.
If you want to be a writer, that’s the truth. Anything fruitful is going to come after planting, watering, and struggling. I want to be a writer. So I’ll keep staring, battling, watering, growing, typing, erasing, re-typing, and struggling, until I get to the writing. I’ll tame that timid finger, and leave the door unlocked.