Lean in close, my friends. Set your cup of coffee or tea across from mine on this small, round table we share in a perfect cafe in the perfect city. Feel the velvet of the antique wing-backed chair against the back of your thighs. Come close, as I do, so we can talk gentle and true to one another.
I hear you when you say you are afraid, when you bare that fear about what people will think.
I hear you when you say you can’t write on those days when you have meetings, or until you have the entire outline done, or until your children are older.
I hear you when the wounds of ugly words pool in your eyes, and I hear the echoes of people – you included – saying that writing is selfish or lazy or “can’t be a career.”
I hear you, in this tiny space, where we lean together over our love of language and our aching desire to tell stories. I hear you, and I feel your fears, your worries, your wounds rattle against the ones I carry, too.
Maybe it will help if I speak as someone a little further down the days of words. Maybe you will listen here because you know I have heard you, that I understand, that I don’t judge. Maybe you will be able to hear me because I rustle with fear and frustration and pain, too. Maybe.
No one has enough time to write . . . unless we choose to have the time.
No one is unafraid . . . and yet some of us choose to write despite the fear.
No one knows how to do this thing with words that makes our hearts tingle . . . but we try anyway.
No one has the perfect time, the perfect place, the perfect life that lets the words pour forth like gossamer threads.
Not a single one of us.
Mostly, we are like sticky-fingered children painting hand-print footprints on steamy windows. We imagine something shimmering and rending, and then we glop out a sloshy story of sentiment and gush. And you know what? That gushy mess shimmers, too, because we have created something.
We do it in between things, or on evenings when we give up TV or a night with our partners or even a precious bedtime with our children. We do it because somewhere in the recesses of our forest-clad hearts, we need to believe our words, our writing, our showing up at the page matters.
Lean in a little closer now. Hear me if you will. I’m not telling you how to do this writing life. I’m not telling you should write every day at the cost of time with your children or that you should wake at 5am to get the words down. I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t outline your stories or that you should. I’m not telling you that a “real writer” writes 1,000 words a day or has published a book.
I’m just telling you, it’s possible to be the writer you already are, even now.
You can choose that, and it’s not selfish or neglectful or lazy. It’s not indulgent or deluded or arrogant. It’s just part of who you are in all your powerful, created singularity.
If you want to write, find a way. That’s all I’m saying.
I’m here, cheering you on with my cup of coffee in this wing-backed chair. I’ll read your words here, too.