I love starting new journals. I just unwrapped the plastic casing of a set of journals, held one to my nose and flipped the pages, inhaled its new paper smell as the soft sheets brushed across my skin.
I just finished filling my last journal (a gift from a dear friend that she gave me before I moved to San Diego nearly four (gasp!) years ago–my maiden name printed in cursive across the front cover) this morning with some thoughts on writing.
I do this from time to time–think about writing, write about writing. Why? Well, I think it’s because writing (and writers) is something I’ve always admired, looked upon with awe, revered in some sense. And, also, writing has always been a part of my life in some way or another: I’ve journaled since I was a kid, excelled in writing throughout school, and have dabbled in writing outside of journaling and papers here and there, in the form of a couple chapters of a book, an essay, a poem.
But I’ve always felt as though I don’t belong to the club of those who brand themselves as “writers;” like “they” have what is takes, and, simply put, I don’t. That they know a sacred secret to which I’m not privy. That they get it, are “in,” while I’m left outside, curious and a bit confused, door shut in my face.
One of my biggest obstacles to writing is my perfectionism (ah, good old friend he is). I build writing up in my head to be this holy, almost magical feat (which, in a way, it is), and just about paralyze myself before pen ever even touches paper. In my mind, I am already defeated. I do not often possess the freedom to, as Ernest Hemingway put it, “sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Instead, I make a careful, well-planned incision, thoughtfully consider each single drop of blood, inspect it from every angle, before hesitantly dabbing it onto the line.
The only way to break through this self-inflicted paralysis, it seems, is to actually write–consistently, when it feels awkward, impossible, labored–over and over again. It’s like muscle memory–training your arm to glide effortlessly and automatically through the air instead of narrating under your breath each step of the ball-throwing process. Yet, easier said than done.
Funny enough, it’s my husband (the web developer) who’s been teaching me (the English teacher) about writing these days. He’s been getting up early every morning before work to read, then write, and, finally, to publish the writing online. The writing is typically not perfect, nor is it always profound or polished, but it is meaningful, valuable, and, most importantly, he’s simply doing it. Getting it done, making it happen–squashing that paranoid paralysis under his shoe like a screeching bug.
That’s inspiring to me. He is inspiring to me. Writing, though surely magical, is really accomplished in the mundane, Tuesday-morning-before-work, messy everydayness of normal life. And I can do mundane, messy, everydayness just fine.
So, I’m making a list of things to write about, but I’m not setting any great goals or holding myself to any type A expectations or standards for my perfectionist self to set its sights upon. I simply want to come up with some ideas to write about, and then sit down to write about them at some point. Maybe publish some of them online. We’ll see.
Why? Because writing is beautiful and holds deep meaning and purpose. Because it’s something I believe God wove into the fabric of my being when He designed me. Because it’s something I’ve always eyed from a safe distance, like an expensive piece of glassware at a store that I don’t dare touch for fear of shattering it across the floor. I’ve dared to allow my fingertips to brush against its smooth surface from time to time, and I think it’s about time to take a solid hold and just pick the damn thing up.
Things to write about:
–being pregnant; becoming a mom
–teaching support English: struggles, failures, lessons, successes; “The Rose That Grew From Concrete”
–lessons from my parents
–my marriage/my husband
–things that make me sad
–things that make me mad
–things that bring me joy
–things I wonder about
–my flaws: perfectionism, self-doubt, inadequacy, people-pleasing
–what I’m reading