"We are all wanderers on this earth...our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams." ~ Gypsy proverb

Monday, September 30, 2013

Heads or tails? Thoughts on writing...

On my mind:
the snap in the air-- the kind you can taste between your teeth and feel in your nostrils.
Blazing yellow and fire-red leaves, pumpkin spice bread, writing, and Stephen King.

Stephen King, I saw him speak and read the other night here in Boulder to promote his new book Dr. Sleep, the sequel to the Shining. Raw inspiration is the least I can say about him. Some of the greatest stories have come out of this man, and to hear him speak about writing is enough to fuel any fledgling for months, maybe years. This isn't the exact quote from the other night, but it's still a quote of his with the same message (one that we've all heard before most likely):

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

He also said something else (I paraphrase)-- "if you aren't compelled to write everyday, then maybe you aren't meant to be a writer, which is fine because it just means you were meant to do something else."

I've been thinking about this last part ever since. Lately, I have been falling into the category of not being "compelled" to write. It's certainly not because I have nothing to write about. It's been the opposite actually. My days have been filled with a variety of things, both terrific and trying, and certainly worth telling. But I've held onto most of it for inexplicable reasons. Maybe it's a privacy reflex--a need to keep things to myself for awhile (that happens periodically I noticed). Or something else. There's a jagged edge that's been gnawing at the fringes lately for awhile. A sobering thought: perhaps I'm not meant to be the writer I once believed I could be.

So perhaps I should just leave it at that. I'm a fair-weather writer and write when the muse sings or when the "genius" arrives, or when I feel like it. No pressure to perform, no blocks to hurl, no deadlines to dread, no insatiable need to leave my pawprint on paper. The truth is, I've never had a gigantic urge to be published. To just be decent was enough, and to have touched a few with the words I share was miles above what I ever expected. 


Is there a deeper truth? One grafted with "fear of failure" and "insecurity", infecting the growth of bigger dreams? Ego fiddles with my self-assurance, gives me a smirk and tosses me a coin saying "is it heads or is it tails, cause you can't have both." As I clasp my fingers around the coin, I can feel the burning hot truth turn to ash, leaving me still with nothing but a thought.

"I am what I am what I am." ~ Popeye

When I do unravel, when the words flow, they organically wind towards truths that have been haphazardly flung into an ocean filled by time past and present. Once recovered, when the fingers fly and when words collide, writing can unearth hope and possiblity, and plant seeds of courage. Here, writing finds the person I could be and though I admit she scares me, she is the bait that keeps me hungry every single time.

I think what it comes down to is the belief we hold in our hearts, and there are no rules to what we want to believe. Today, I am enough as a writer, and I find hope in words that show up when they feel like it. And every now and then when I cast a line out into the ocean, something special nibbles on the other end, reminding me that the courage to break any walls that stops the flow is out there, whenever I am ready. 

Monday love



  1. beautifully said.
    there is no use pushing one's self to do something if the inner desire isn't burning and yearning. when it's burning and yearning, you know it- and you can't help yourself against it.

    the walls you speak of may just be thoughts which can be changed, or secret messages you are not ready to open.

  2. funny, I just re-read his 'on writing' last week. I don't write every day either. and I think it's about time to find out why. have you read 'the war of art' by stephen pressfield (I think that's what it's called...) - he says that the more we resist something, the more we are meant to do something. any artistic endeavor causes resistance, and we can use that resistance as a compass to show us where we are meant to go.

    I have a very hard time meditating and writing with any regularity, both things I'd love to do and think would be very beneficial. but I can't keep at them for the life of me. I don't think this means I'm not meant to do either of them. that would be too easy.

    I love Mr. King. but I think that's the one thing where I won't agree with him :)

    ps: I'm very jealous you got to listen to him xxxx

    1. Hi Petra! I have not read the "war of art" but I will check it out! I love what you said about resistance and I think I believe that too, more reason to read the book :). I shared all of this with my husband, and he too disagrees with Mr. King. Regardless it was awesome to see him speak ;).

  3. This really resonates with me! I've heard the quote before that if you're not compelled to write...and I've also thought I'm not as good as my favorite published authors. Then I read something I can't even finish because it's so poorly written (or just not my style) and I re-think my adequacy. Is there a middle ground? Does it have to be all or nothing? I love the poems you write here and your life musings, thanks for sharing them :).

    1. Hi Barbara!! Thanks for your words!! An all or nothing kind of thinking is pretty restrictive, I agree. I think it also comes down to priorities and committment. Kind of in the same vein as King's second quote--If some things don't hold priority for me right now, that just means other things are filling that space in my soul right now. Who's to say a year from now things won't be different. In fact, it's bare bones truth that things will be different a year from now, the surprise will be how :).


“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
~ George Bernard Shaw