I love, L.O.V.E., love good writing. I love a sentence or phrase that demands that I pause and savor it, reading it over and over again, stunned by its honesty or beauty or creativity. Honesty in particular gets my attention. Good writing, writing that I admire, speaks truth in a way that both inspires and disarms me, reminding me of something I’ve always known but have perhaps forgotten. I love when I read a line or a paragraph and something in my gut screams “YES, me too!” My favorite writers are first and foremost truth tellers.
Two of my favorite authors wrote blog posts in the last couple of days that moved me to tears. Last night, ironically while wearing my “Your Story Matters” T shirt from the Storyline Conference, I read this blog post from Jen Hatmaker On Becoming a Writer. If you, like me, have a love affair with words, you should go read it immediately.
Midway through the first paragraph, I got tears in my eyes. By the time I read the words below, the tears were running down my face:
Do not become immobilized by good writing already out there. Stop that this instant. Literature is not an exercise in scarcity. The world always needs good writing. There is room for you. Don’t be intimidated by successful writers; be inspired by them. Every good writer wrote his or her first piece at one point. Do your time; there is space for you at the party.
Even reading them again, the words “there is room for you” trigger a lump in my throat.
I think of things I want to write about and then stumble across something another blogger or author wrote that speaks so eloquently on that subject that is seems superfluous to add anything more. I think I will really get serious about writing when I am inspired, when the bills are paid, when the bookshelf is cleaned out, when the other project is complete, when I have it all together, when I figure it out, when I am better at it, when I am smarter, when I think of something that no one has ever thought of before, when…when…when.
Every day, my computer invites me to come and play. To get started. To get real. To jump in. To share my truth. As Jen Hatmaker says in her post, “You stare at your laptop like a frenemy. If you could just sit down with it for an extended time and write your words, or maybe if you could just set it on fire and be free of it, or both, you would finally be happy.” Yes, yes, and yes.
Today, my other favorite truth-teller Shauna Niequist shared this post entitled “You’re Never Going to Be Fully Ready” on the Storyline Blog. All of it is fabulous, but these words particularly struck me today:
What do you need to start doing badly, instead of pretending that there will be some magic moment when you are able to do it perfectly?
What have you been over-thinking, wiggling like a loose tooth? Are you hiding, planning, and information gathering, because you’re scared to plunge into something new?
Are you letting your desire to do it flawlessly keep you from doing it at all?
I love the phrase “wiggling like a loose tooth.” Don’t you remember that feeling? The nagging, just-won’t-leave-you-alone desire to yank it out, but the fear of how much it will hurt when you do? The sick, scared, excited anticipation, coupled with dread? Doesn’t stepping outside of our comfort zone feel just like that?
I have heard it said that meaning is experienced in motion. Nike’s version says Just Do It. In the 12 step program, we learn to just do the next right thing, one day at a time. I have been trying to do one brave thing every day and I get to define what brave means for me. Today, it seemed brave to write something, anything, and get it out there. As of this September, I have been blogging for 10 years. As of this post, I have published 304 posts on my blog. Apparently, there is something inside me that feels moved to share my words, for better or worse. But if I’m going to get better at writing, I have to keep writing. The next right thing, the next brave thing. Just do it.
Thanks for the encouragement, Jen and Shauna!
How about you? What is just on the other side of that line marked “comfort zone” for you? What is calling to you, friend? Is there a dream, a project, a piece of art to make, a story to tell, that you are “wiggling like a loose tooth?” Tell me about it in the comments below and then just do it!