Writing for a fearless heart
I remember setting off to Europe three years ago absolutely determined that I was going to discover my purpose. I was convinced that it was just going to ‘come to me.’ That’s how it’s meant to happen, isn’t it? I bought and packed a journal to fill pages with my new found inspiration. But I didn’t open the journal. I didn’t write one word. Maybe by the end of my trip I felt too hard done by the universe to even consider putting pen to paper. I can be very sensitive at times.
When I came home the idea of a contemplated life slowly started to form. So instead of opening those pages during my travels, I opened those pages at my desk and I started to capture all of my thoughts and all of my feelings, piece by piece and layer by layer. On the first page of that journal I wrote that perhaps through my blog I would find my meaning and maybe it would be ‘in a different space and at a different time’ to what I had thought.
I’ve been taking the time lately to stop and look back on what I originally wanted a contemplated life to be. I’ve been tracing back through how it all began. Truth be told - I’m in a writer’s block. Maybe at some level, somewhere, I’m doubting my contribution. What will be my legacy?
A friend gave me a book the other day called ‘The War of Art.’ It says:
There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.
It also says:
Self doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” Chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is widely self-confident. The real one is scared to death.
In ‘Why We Write About Ourselves’, Cheryl Strayed’s wisdom to writers is this:
Know that the writing will lead you into places you can’t imagine you’ll go. In my experience, writing comes from a place beneath intellectual consciousness. The only way to get to that place is by writing. Trust the magic of that process.
Perhaps I need to re-trust the magic of the writing process. Writing has saved me and sustained me - that much is clear as I look back on how far I’ve come and what is now all around me. JK Rowling said that she wanted to write because words were always her safe place. The poet and writer Naomi Shihab Nye said that ‘very rarely do you hear anyone say they write things down and feel worse.’ Writing is ‘an act that helps you, preserves you, energises you in the very doing of it.’
Rebecca Solnit says that ‘the search for meaning is in how you live your life but also in how you describe it and what else is around you.’ I now know that a contemplated life is my purpose and my meaning. I give everything to these words and I open myself to the subtle encouragement that surrounds me in doing so. I mustn’t forget to have a fearless heart and to show my vulnerability and weakness as a form of strength.
I will finish with one last quote from Ayelet Waldman: ‘If you’re not uncomfortable and scared while you’re writing, you’re not writing close enough to the bone.’