I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. It was my favorite class in elementary school, and by the time I reached college I just had to major in English, never mind the fact that jobs for English majors were few and far between. I remember sitting at my father’s desk as a child, happily typing my stories even though I knew no one but me was ever going to read them. The joy was in creating the story, and readers were just the icing on the cake.
To this day, I find it much easier to express myself in the written word than by actually speaking. In fact, when I do have to talk, I often find myself a bit tongue-tied and nervous, searching desperately for the right words. The result is not pretty, and I rarely manage to get my point across in any meaningful way. Hours later, when I replay the scene in my head, I think, “I should have said this. Or I wish I had said that.” But in the heat of the moment, the words I wanted so desperately just didn’t appear.
So on those rare occasions when I find it difficult to write, I don’t quite know how to handle it. When it’s time for another blog post, I sit at the computer and try to concentrate on just exactly what I want to say. Usually, it takes no more than five minutes for me to come up with a topic, and get started. Admittedly, these days it takes an additional ten minutes or so to remember how to work Word Press’ new Block Editor so that I can actually type my post, but that’s a minor inconvenience that I’ve managed to solve……so far. Still, once I get going, the writing flows and I usually feel satisfied with the result by the time I hit the “publish” button.
But then there are the days when that doesn’t happen. The days when I know it’s time for another blog post, but no topic comes to mind that I think anyone could possibly find interesting. There are times when I honestly feel that I have nothing of value to share, no new insights to offer, and no spiffy phrases that will entertain. Those are the times when I type a first sentence, read it, and delete it over and over again, and when I begin to think that maybe six years is a long enough run for my blog, and maybe it’s time to call it a day and do something more useful with my time….you know, like learning Latin or reorganizing my junk drawer.
But the thing is, once I give myself permission to step back a bit, and maybe not write if I really don’t feel like it, my attitude begins to change. Just subtly at first, as I type out a few rough drafts whose quality makes me eternally grateful for the “delete” button. Yet I persevere, because I know that if I just go through the motions enough times, I’ll find my groove again. And I’ll rediscover the joy of writing, of communicating my thoughts and feelings in a way that I hope others will relate to and find helpful, and that I’ll once again find the courage to not only string together a whole bunch of words in a way that finally feels right, but that I’ll manage to hit that “publish” button when I’m done. Because when all is said and done, what writers do is write. And half the battle is just doing it.