“I wish you would write again!”
I hear that sometimes these days, at parties or when I bump into people in coffee shops.
Oh, the thought comes thick and fast in my mind with a little bit of an edge to it, I’m writing.
I’m writing. Hours and hours of writing. Writing my thesis, writing blogs, writing stories, writing books. Pouring words onto a page that I thought would be hard to find but are hard to hold back. Trying to wrap words and narratives around these experiences that make up this thing we call life.
But I’m miles away from sharing what I’m writing.
I guess, I’m facing a new feeling for me: discouragement.
I can’t seem to make the words work for me. I can’t mold them into the shapes I need them to be. I don’t have the strength or the conviction or the skill to bend them the way I feel like I used to be able to. It feels like they used to flow out of my fingers and assemble themselves on the page and my job was to make small tweaks here and there when one felt out of place, but now….now I feel like I have somehow broken my writing. It won’t work.
Words still flow out of me but I read them on the page and they are all out of order, inadequate; their attempts to represent the things they’re supposed to convey is…pathetic.
And I am discouraged.
I sit down each day to write and there is are so many barriers between me and the ‘publish’ button. New feelings.
Mainly, the disappointment with my writing. If I lived in a different time or place without a keyboard in front of me there would be a wastepaper bag full of crumpled white paper by my foot. As it is there are pages and pages and countless documents filled with my scraps.
And if I do finish writing something, and if I can wrap words around things, then…what? Do I share that? With who? Who gets access to these words? And how do I share them without falling into a world of ‘promotion’ that I have no interest in. And how do I share them without people thinking I’m ‘back’ when nothing about me is ‘back’ anywhere. I’m a long way from where we started.
I wonder if there is a part of me that is not just embarrassed of my writing but embarrassed that I am writing at all. And maybe it’s that second thing that is poisoning the first. Maybe I have lost confidence, not because my writing feels weak, but maybe my writing is weak because I’ve lost confidence.
I believe in words like some people believe in causes. I treasure them like some people treasure the Mountains. They feel like the first and finest of all creations to me.
Maybe I just need to remember that the right to wield them is an unalienable one, given to me by our Creator. Words belong to us. Getting to use them is part of the dignity we demand as image bearers.
Maybe I just need to remember how much I know them: words. How much we have been through together, how faithful we have been to one another, saved each other. Words have found me in the darkest of nights in the bottom of the pit and they have pulled me out. Words have assembled around me when I’m attacked and formed a barricade, they have been my defense. And I, in turn, have found them wrecked and crippled on the floor of my soul, bent into lies, and I have helped them too. I have nurtured and waited and massaged them until they have found their way back to what they were made to be as well.
Maybe even now they are helping me, by refusing to submit to me until I am molded by them as they fall from His mouth onto my dry discouraged heart filling me with courage to speak.