Last year, I was comfortable with words. I taught a Poetry Workshop at our homeschool co-op and they – those wonderful words – and I were very friendly. They kept me company – random and exotic verbs catapulted into my head while I washed the dishes; rose-cheeked and perky-nosed phrases pirouetted to the tip of my pen; satisfyingly familiar nouns regularly dropped by for tea and stayed to wash-up. We were on speaking terms, my vocabulary and I.
Then a few weeks ago I attempted to do some writing. Just a little something to get caught up with our 100 Things TO DO this Summer. And I was dismayed to find that I was alone – my words had gone on vacation. Perhaps they panicked when they perceived the gargantuan journaling task that needed to happen; vocabulary never responds well to pressure, at least in my experience.
It’s an eerie feeling – sitting down to write and . . .
. . . nothing.
The words – or at least the right ones – didn’t come. The words that came said nothing – were merely black lines on white screen “paper.” I didn’t want to “write” them and so you surely wouldn’t want to read them.
And then I realized that if I wanted those lovely words to come back home, I needed to need them. You see, I think they were feeling a bit neglected, taken for granted.
As I have told all my students (or at least I hope I did!), in order to be a writer, one has TO WRITE –ideally every day. Writing, even for the best of writers, is work. It’s something you have to DO; it’s not something that one IS.
The many wonderful bloggers whom I read as often as I can are a wonderful example. Many of them (in fact, almost all in my Reader) are moms like me with children to feed, minds to develop, imaginations to engage, houses to manage, laundry to fold, some even with out-of-home jobs. And yet nearly every day they find time to write – they write beautiful reflections, give practical advice, provide encouragement. They just DO it! I could easily descend into jealousy and self-comparison – and have been tempted to go there many times. Instead, for their words and their discipline, I am grateful.
I don’t know if I can do what they do. Even last year when words and I were quite chummy, I didn’t find time to write here much. But I think that if continue to write – here, somewhere, anywhere – the words will come back. And if I don’t scare them away with great expectations, perhaps we’ll be comfortable together again, and they’ll stay after tea to help wash-up.