By the time I was stringing enough words together to have a long conversation, I was cutting pictures out of magazines and pasting them into manilla papered scrapbooks. I liked pictures of mommies, daddies, families, and babies. I made up stories about my colorful paper world. I happily cut and pasted while the adults in my life did what adults do. They walked around the house and came when you called.
As I grew, those pictures transformed into words that I placed on scraps of paper and on pages in a diary. I wrote poems and stories and sometimes, I scribbled down my emotions furiously, bursting forth and plummeting like a waterfall. A cascade of words.
I was a budding writer. A teller of my tales: true or not. When I shared my stories or poems with others; sometimes, they liked them. Sometimes, they were critical. My spelling was incorrect. My grammar disdainful. My descriptions not fully realized. I felt I had bled my heart onto that page for them to see and like a country song, they stomped that sucker flat. Rejection. Criticism. Comparison. All words that are difficult to overcome.
I kept writing but I didn’t want to risk revealing it to anyone. Timidity. Doubt. Fear. These emotions had crept in. The soil that I was trying to blossom in was rocky terrain. My solution: I learned to write technical. More exact, less mistakes = less judgment. Safety lay in writing the correct statement. Therefore, the critique didn’t hurt as much and my creativity was tucked safely away in my journals.
Some of the struggle with expression came from a teacher. Well-intentioned, the teacher believed requiring daily journaling assignments and critiquing those assignments and making comments about their content and my life choices was a wonderful idea. Instead of feeling energized and encouraged, I felt judged, confronted, violated, and unworthy of producing quality work or quality life choices. A teacher was someone to please. The person who held the clay of this budding creativity in their hands to mold. Danger lay in divulging the creative thought. I learned trampling happens. My desire to write waned in trying to thrive in such an inhospitable environment.
However, a writer can’t stop writing for long. The course of the writing might take a different path, a different twist but the words still flow to the pages. The ideas come alive in the quiet moments. Often awakening me in the middle of the night. Heartache, pain, confusion, joy, sorrow, ecstasy, tumble out upon the page with no thought, rhyme, or reason. A sweet release to the inward pent up emotions and ideas.
The gravitational pull of God to bring forth a gift that was designed to be shared must first be honed, nurtured, and trained to bud forth a full blossomed flower of verse. Nurtured this time in the right soil, my soul bounded forward eager to put pen to paper and write. Courageous confidence builds with each attempt and like the many writers who put forth their heart, their soul, their inner being before others because they can’t help it, I must as well.
What does writing do for me and why is writing my art? What obstacles keep me from writing? These questions and others were posed by the leaders in my writing group that I’ve been pondering. Being a part of this group has endowed me to take more risks and to give the searchings for answers voice. The above is my response to those questions.
How about you? Is writing your art? Why do you write? What obstacles keep you from writing?
“…live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Ephesians 4:1 NIV Bible