I used to journal. Religiously. A group of amazing high school friends taught me the value of a silent sunrise or sunset. I quickly learned to take dictation from the lake, the forest, and when they whispered loud enough for me to hear, the winds themselves. I’m kidding of course. They are always whispering. We are usually too loud in ourselves to hear them.
What changed? The combination of a period spent in a hyper religious–read “pharisaical”–christian Cult and a not so nasty but emotionally devastating divorce. The two erased, no, led me to erase, almost everything I’d ever written.
That changed for the better a few decades ago. I reconnected with an old friend and first love. Then I reconnected with… me. And then I fell in love. Again.
Bugger off, guilt. Wanty bolt, fear.”
My muse was back. I never went anywhere without a notepad or a recorder. But I didn’t resume journaling. I worked on the seeds of a novel instead. And the closer the novel came to completion, the harder it became to write anything else.
Instead of writing what wanted to be written, I stifled those creative urges because ‘I need to focus on what I’m supposed to be writing.’ Also known as my WIP.
I guess this is fairly common among ‘new’ writers. I am new at this. But I’m not under contract. I have no deadlines staring me in the keyboard. So bugger off, guilt. Wanty bolt, fear.
Yes, fear. Fear that the words wouldn’t be as good, as alive, that the passion, the fire had died and I would only succeed in extinguishing what few creative coals remained. Or, worse still, that I would recover each and every lost line–and see it for the utter bilge that it is, was and always will be.
Natalie Goldberg’s acclaimed “Writing Down the Bones” reminded me that it’s okay to write garbage. That “you don’t go home so you can stay there. You go home so you can be free.”
Now, at last and again,
Looking for resources on cults and new religion? Explained’s 2018 episode “Cults” provides some good background. These links aren’t bad either: