This not writing was not helping. I had to think of a new strategy. And I knew this would work.
I pulled out a stack of notebook paper. (Well, I called my mom to my room and asked for a little help with finding and reaching the paper.)
With this new and empty space in front of me, I pondered how to begin. Where do I start when I have delayed for too long?
I decided to start copying some words from my journal, which may sound silly or pointless. But I needed a way to trick the words to come out of hiding.
And I needed the freedom of a blank piece of paper, those blue lines waiting to hold my words.
My phone rang the other day. It was the middle of the afternoon and I looked down to see who it was. So many calls these days can be wrong numbers, but this call was from one of my brothers.
I answered and put him on speakerphone. We chatted for a minute before he asked the usual question, “What are you doing?”
This time I said, “Writing.” That hadn’t been my answer for a while because even journal writing was pretty short.
He wanted to know more, but I told him I was doing some private writing. It wasn’t ready for the public yet.
He said, “Read me a sentence, any sentence.”
I debated and finally agreed. “Ok, here is one:
“It’s time to start fighting resistance and facing my words.”
He said, “I’ve already heard that one. Read me another.”
I replied, “No, it’s a new one…but here is another:
“So why not live bravely and take more risks?”
“I’ve heard that one, too.”
“These are new sentences. Sometimes I have to write more generic things to get back into the flow.”
“Why don’t you take more risks?”
“I’m working on it.”
“You just need to write the deeper stuff, the stuff people don’t really talk about.”
“And you can’t worry about what other people think.”
“Because some people aren’t going to like what you write.”
The conversation continued a little longer and I told him about a book I’d just finished the week before. It was a memoir by Sarah Kovac, who was also born with a form of Arthrogryposis. Our limitations and the way we have both overcome the physical challenges are different, but at the same time I could connect to her story. I’m still processing the book and I’m still processing my own life.
I also reminded my brother that writing can move a lot slower than I would like. Then things can change and words start falling out again.
Either way, I am getting there. Progress is coming and I hope that looks like more sentences on the screen and pieces of paper.
Before my brother called, I had written two whole pages back and front. That stack of paper had worked. Somehow the loose sheets of paper were less scary than my journal or the bright white computer screen.
I felt freer. There was nothing on the paper to distract me. Just the open space between the blue lines.
I’ve given myself more freedom this year…to not follow blogging rules or do what everyone else does…but sometimes I can have too much freedom.
This year is all about learning how to live free and what that looks like in various areas of life.
For writing, that means I need more discipline and less delay.
Because I’m not living free when I avoid the hard stuff. And I can’t feel freedom if I’m weighed down with unwritten words.