Inspiration · Writing

Fear of the Pen

It’s been a while.

It’s been months, actually. It’s been week after week of constant motion and emotion. It’s been days – hours – minutes of looking back to the past and forward to the future, and most of all, learning to be content in the present. But overall, it’s been good.

The biggest news in my life right now is that I have one semester left of college. Some days that feels like a tragedy, and other days, graduation couldn’t get here fast enough. Transition has never been my forte, but I’ve survived and grown up through it all. Honestly though — I have to admit — this transition from student to non-student might be the weirdest yet.

Even so, through all the change and movement and trials and joys I’ve had recently, there is one thing I can’t seem to grasp.

I have become afraid of writing.

As crazy as that sounds, it’s undeniably true. It’s happening right now, actually. Every few minutes I stop typing and reconsider continuing to write this very post. It is a horrible cycle.

I don’t think it is so much about what will spill from my pen onto the page, but more about the time and effort it takes to produce something worth reading. A story takes time to develop. The writer has to know her characters better than she knows herself. She has to see the setting in her head as well as she sees the paper she writes on. A good story requires passion, knowledge, and energy. If writing a story were easy, there would be no need for the New York Times Bestsellers list. Book awards would be meaningless because every story would be perfect and well-written. Anybody can write. Not everybody can write with passion, with heart.

What that means is that not everything I write will be worth reading. But that is no excuse not to write. I need to be okay with that.

So I’m going through a dry spell. I have lost the spark. How do I get it back? How do I find inspiration?

As far as I can tell, my only option is to just go for it. As Ernest Hemingway so clearly put it, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” It doesn’t matter what ends up on the page. What matters is that it’s there, that I was able to express myself with the beauty of the English language. And who knows – maybe I’ll write something that makes someone else’s day a little better or that causes someone to think differently.

Do not suppress what you are passionate about or the gifts God has given to you. Some days will be better than others. Some days you’ll want to run after it, and other days you’ll want to run away from it. But don’t forget that you love it, and you love it for a reason.

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