A few weeks ago I attended a Power of Writing seminar. There was a private Facebook group set up to enable participants to connect and share insights along the way. The other day a new friend and fellow writer, Donna, had posted an open inquiry to all members encouraging all of us to keep writing and share what we were working on.
This generated some lovely comments. For the most part. There was one guy who had replied to that thoughtful, open invitation with:
“Shut up and go write a bestseller”.
My mouth dropped open and I thought: Are you freaking kidding me? Who says that?
When I had let my indignation pass however, I wondered: I am not usually one to get upset over comments, so why did this trigger me?
Though I hadn’t replied online, my internal response to this guy was:
“I’m not going to shut up until I have something worth sharing!!”
Yet, that is exactly what I was waiting around for. He had shown me my own grandiosity. I had been stuck with writing because I had high minded ideas of what my writing could look like and all the little snippets I had started weren’t doing it for me so I stopped, waiting for something “better”.
Not long after I got a text from a friend saying that she got my first post in her inbox for some reason. Believing, as we both do, that nothing happens by accident I went to check it out. Rereading what I wrote in that first post was exactly what I needed to hear. I needed to be reminded of why I started writing in the first place.
On the “About Me” section on my site I wrote this in answer to the question “Why do I write?”:
“… because I enjoy it.”
“I have come to understand that there really is no better reason for doing anything than for the sheer joy of doing so. If I felt I needed to change the world through my writing I would likely paralyze the effort. Instead I write to change my world, change it for the better. Change my life by simply infusing a little more joy into it by doing something I love.”
There it was. My own insight stared back at me. I had indeed paralyzed the effort by wanting to write something transformative, something powerful, when really the power of my writing lies in the simple fact that it brings me joy.
The greatest fulfillment comes from expressing ourselves
in a way that brings us joy.
I love how this quote sums it up:
I am clear that I don’t have the answers. I usually have more questions. Sometimes I think I figured something out, but even then I need to come to that insight again and again (and again). I’m no expert on anything nor do I strive to be. I’m definitely no expert when it comes to the writing itself. In fact, I’m probably guilty of a lot of writing faux-pas, but frankly I don’t even care that much. I care more about writing for the sake of writing than about doing it expertly.
I write because I have a song.
I write because for me it is a way to express myself in a way that fulfills me. The doing of it alone brings me joy. Singing my song feels good, sharing it feels even better, because it opens up the door to the beautiful but small cage I live in, expanding it to include the whole world.
My writing is me singing, showing, demonstrating: this is who I am.
Each and every one of us has a song and we all get to sing it. Even badly.
We don’t have to literally sing. We don’t even have to use words. We can sing, that is, express ourselves, through art, the way we move, the way we interact with others or anything else that brings us joy. Any choice we make consciously is a note in our song. When we fill more of those notes with joy, the more fulfilled we become.
That is beautiful regardless of the outcome.
We’ve all seen this. We’ve all witnessed people who were clearly not the best singer, not the best writer, not the best artist, but who did what they did with such passion and obvious joy that it brought us joy to watch that. Witnessing joy brings more joy. And that? That really does change the world.
No longer feeling blocked, I’m writing again. Singing, just because I have a song