“Words create sentences; sentence create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe.” Stephen King, On Writing.
I read On Writing by Stephen King a few years ago because I like reading about authors. I have never read a Stephen King novel and honestly probably never will because I am a huge wimp when it comes to anything remotely scary. On Writing made something click in my brain that I hadn’t realized since I was a child. It inspired and encouraged me beyond what I ever expected because (like I said) I don’t read his books. While I was on those pages, I felt understood; I could make sense of my own brain. As mentioned in a previous blog, I see in words. Every day my brain makes up multiple stories that enter without any prompting from me.
My brain can be an exhausting place to live for many reasons, some of those reasons I’ll explain another time, but one of those reasons are is that I constantly make up stories. Overhearing a fraction of a conversation, a story of betrayal and intrigue builds before I can blink. Seeing an abandoned glove, a thousand questions of why pop into my brain. A lyric or word in a song; all my attention is on that moment and what it could become. Leaves blowing in the wind, stories of fairies fill my mind. It is constant and honest overwhelming. I could never write even a quarter of it down because all I would ever do is write and I happen to like eating, sleeping, and my family.
Writing has never seemed optional; it has always been the way I find peace. It helps me process through emotional or difficult moments, but it also just releases a creative part of me that doesn’t get to come out in the day-to-day life of being a mom and wife. Several years ago I was frustrated with my life because I felt like all I had was being a wife and mom. While those are great things, those aren’t all I am or all I wanted to be. I sat in prayer and I remember feeling like God showed me that I was never only a wife and mom, that there were so many more things I could and would do but I had to do them. That was one of the parts that stuck out in On Writing. He talks about it a lot as do many other authors for all sorts of writings: you have to do it. You can wait and you can put it off but the more you write the more you are a writer. Even if what you write is never for anyone but you, you are the one that has to actually start. That’s the hardest part for me because no part of me like a schedule and on my own schedule I let things slide because I am afraid to start.
Writing for The Good Logger is another starting point. I write for myself in my journals. I write for myself by writing letters. I write to find calm and peace so my brain can find quiet. The Good Logger is like a dare to myself; can I write for myself but with the purpose to share it with others? I have a complicated system inside my brain. Following rules and keeping track of which ones matter...add in writing rules and it’s so very complicated. Letting go of pieces I write to be shared and given without my personal decision seems so risky. The stories remain in my head though, swirling about and waiting to be told. Am I ready to take this risk? It does not feel like it. Am I skilled enough? Again, it does not feel like it. Do I have anything worth sharing? Yes, because every part of a person matters, and we all are experiencing new stories each day.
I ask myself sometimes, why writing? Why couldn’t I paint or draw or sing or play an instrument or be a mathematician or...one of those people that like and use Microsoft Excel? *shudder*
This is the lot that God gave, for better or for worse. I could not imagine existing without this gift. It is such a part of my soul that removing it now would feel like removing my heart. Using my gift to share with others will always have risks but in all the reading I have done about any author of any kind, they all feel that risk. That their work won’t be liked or understood. That their work isn’t ever good enough, but they keep pushing through because they have to. I get that. I have to write because the stories don’t stop just because my pen stops.