Why I write.
I’m sure that when an artist looks at a blank canvas they feel excited. Not just excited but perhaps a bit scared, maybe even intimidated. To me that is how I feel when I open up a notebook and have a blank page staring back at me.
I want to fill it up. I love the feeling of when I’m done a writing session and I see a page full of words that I put there. I am hiding behind those words. My stories, my life, my fears, my emotions.
I find the process of starting frightening. Opening that notebook. Putting my pen down to the page and then dragging it across. Allowing myself the freedom to let my mind run.
I used to think that journaling helped me keep my thoughts in check. I was organized about what I wrote. I always started an entry with the date and a quote and ended every entry with “under the mercy, Chad” (I was writing as though I was writing to God). I had a purpose with every entry. The process was supposed to be cathartic, yet somehow contained.
What was I worried about? Did I think it was going to be read? That some big publisher was somehow going to get a hold of my journals, be amazed by them and then offer me a book deal?
Perhaps after I died my kids would read them and say to each other “Dad was such a beautiful writer” as they all nodded knowingly with tears welling up in their eyes.
The new year began and I felt a stirring inside me. I felt like I wanted to write more, with more intention. You see, before when I wrote I would be lucky to fill up 3 pages (Not that it is about word count, right? Does it matter that I look down and see that I am at word 319 right now?).
I knew that I had more in me and I wanted and needed to find a way to tap deeper.
I started to read more about writing.
Every thing that I read told me that as I sat down to write I was to just put pen to paper and just write. One of the authors I read called this the exercise of first thoughts. You just write. You don’t think. You just let your mind and your hand go.
No censoring. No thinking about structure and how it is all going to look in the end. No editing!!!!
This method has blown my world wide open! If I likened my writing to going outside then before, I was just going for walks in my little safe neighborhood. Knowing exactly where I was going and how long it would take me to get there.
Now I am running free and naked through the mountains, screaming at the top of my voice, waving my arms up and down.
You know what? It feels amazing!
I have been able to write more in the past month than I have written in entire years. Sometimes I feel as though I never want to stop. The only thing constraining me is time.
It is freedom. Freedom that I have longed for for a very long time. There are times when my sessions are very focused and there are times when the session takes me all over the map.
Always I find that there is something that I able able to come to terms with. Whether it is a pain from the past, hope for the future, or peace in the present. It comes pouring out of the ink in my pen.
The original question was why do I write?”. I can only answer that question with another question.
How can I not?