Lessons On Writing

I’ve taken many writing classes from high school to grad school but nothing I am going to say today comes from those experiences. These lessons come from staring at a blank screen again and again and from the inevitable moment of crisis when you realize you may have officially run out of things to say.

1Bleed.

If my heart is not beating out of my chest about something- my writing stinks. So when I stare at the blank screen every time, the first thing I do is care about something... anything. Usually buried under worries of who forgot their lunch and what’s happening on facebook- something is burning.

2. Type anyway.

I recently had several blogs due for respected sites and I sat for 4 hours straight and painfully only got out 250 words. I cried and prayed and cussed and still I had nothing but 250 lousy words. Finally I left and went to the mall.... but those 250 words went on to impact several people. 4 hours for 250 words that mean something and a huge dose of humility- that is worth it. Type on your computer even if it is agonizing. It is rarely not agonizing.

3. Hate it.

I am not telling you what to do, I am just telling what you will do. We all do. I never feel confident about my words.... NEVER. I bleed and I type anyway and I read it and I think my brain just fell on the paper and I am with my brain all the time and my brain feels anti-special, even when the Holy Spirit inspires words they still rarely move me. But then God blows on them and moves them into people’s souls and wakes them up and you can’t believe it and it keeps you humble. So I’ve learned to keep my head down, write and trust Jesus.

4. Let Go.

From blogs to tweets to paperback books on a bookstore shelf...nearly all of my writing leaves me behind and wanders into the lives of other’s completely unchaperoned. I can’t go with my words. They go on their own and once they leave me, they are no longer mine to control. And there are few darker feelings than handing your bleeding soul in black & white, unchaperoned, over to the world. But then I remember, they were never my words or stories anyway. All of my life and words and messages are given to me by my God. My life is not my own and I write to give it away.

Books to comfort you in the war of writing:

The War of Art (by Steven Pressfield)

Bird by Bird (by Anne Lamott)

Jennie AllenComment