I’m taking an online writing class called Alchemy: The Art and Craft of Writing. The course is full of juicy stuff, but today I’m going to share what I wrote in response to a “writing prompt” (you write anything in response to a phrase provided by the teacher). The best part comes at the end with my teacher’s comments.
The prompt:What I want to say…
What I want to say is that I’m sad for myself how I turn something that was supposed to be “for me” (this writing class) into something that’s not fun (Oh yeah, why am I surprised? I’m the person who skipped the chapter on fun in The Happiness Project…) As I was reading part of the lesson this afternoon, I began to cry. (Again, why does this surprise me? I seem to have no shortage of tears.) My thoughts go like this: Why am I even taking this class? There is already so much great writing out there. The world doesn’t need another blog, or even another book. We’re already on information overload. Everything I might say has probably been said before. I can argue with myself as I’m writing this, but the fact is, my initial reaction to many things is one of pessimism, of defeat. It’s always one of why I shouldn’t be doing something. I shouldn’t be taking this class because it’s frivolous. I shouldn’t be typing at the computer when it increases my pain level. I should be making dinner for my husband who works full-time and provides us health insurance. I should be getting more out of the class. I’m not putting enough into it. I should be commenting on other people’s writing more. This is B.S. (I don’t really cuss, but maybe I’ll start someday). I don’t really think these things are true. It’s just so automatic to go down this path. The grooves in my brain are deep. In a second I go from a cheery, “Oh, I’ll look at the computer to see what’s going on with my writing course today” to a tearful “I’m no good. I’m in pain. I shouldn’t be doing this right now.” No wonder the last therapist I saw asked me in the first ten minutes why I wasn’t on a mood stabilizer! Interesting how this week is on Using Your Voice and I’m trying to silence mine. I’m going to post this now without editing or looking back, but I think (No, I know) there’s more to be said.
My teacher, Jenna McGuiggan, wrote this in response:
Barb, well I do cuss, so let me help you out for a minute: BULL SHIT to those naysayer gremlins in your head! (I’m really truly hoping you laugh here and are not offended.)
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings here. I understand so very well the feeling of defeat that there’s nothing new under the sun. (Even the author of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of the Bible was bemoaning that fact!) And yet… there is only one of me. And only one of you. And no one sees the world like I do, or like you do. People don’t stop reading books or essays or blog posts, even if it’s all been said before in one way or another. And we shouldn’t stop writing, because until we write it, it hasn’t been said by us, in our unique way. Besides, writing is for you as much as for other people. I want people to read what I write, and I hope that they like it or are touched by it in some way, but I’ll always write, even if no one reads it. I write because it’s how I make sense of the world. I write because it makes me feel whole and more solid. I write because there is pleasure in having written.
May you acknowledge your pain and fear and doubt, and may you find a way to move alongside it, through it, and past it. I know you can.
8 thoughts on “There’s Always More to Say”
It is helpful to hear the real voice inside you because it’s very similar to my own voice. Recently I’m finding that my voice talks a lot about my whole life – I’ve always been unhappy and always will be. I see how I want to fix myself – become something. But I’m trying to pull myself more back into this moment. It does seem like the only way to handle existence – and luckily it’s the only true reality anyway. Your authenticity is beneficial. Thanks!
Thanks for reading and your nice comment!
I love your teachers style. I’m also thankful you have chosen to write and share your thoughts on your blog. Even though you’re an “expert” you’re approachable and real. Ever since you shared about your angst with your class reunions, you’ve held a special place in my heart. You ARE busy…it’s that german protestant work ethic I’m sure…there is hope Barbara…I was raised under similar conditions and after some real soul searching (see my latest blog post if you want to know more) I was never the same again. I can take a nap w/o the gremlins chattering in my mind. I now have an active “bucket list” where fun IS a priority in my life and I am able to pull it off quite regularly. I think you’re closer to what you’re looking for than you may suspect.DM
I think it’s great that you not only posted your own unedited statement, but the teacher’s response as well. I often wonder if extroverts have these thoughts, because I know many introverts who do. I’ve come close several times to completely giving up my blog because I think there’s no reason for me to do it. And I compare myself to other blogs (on different topics) that have hundreds or thousands of followers. My head knows that’s the wrong way to think, but my heart goes there anyway. It’s that conflict between head and heart that always trips us up.
And don’t worry — I’ll keep reading no matter what you say!
Thanks, Susan for reading! Yeah, I don’t know how these people get so many followers. It’s crazy the numbers you see sometimes. I’ve been thinking about you and hoping your new business venture is moving along. And also about your health–hope it’s good, too!
Barb – It freaks me out how much we seem to be alike and have the same struggles. I can talk myself out of any great idea. I spend too much time analyzing and not enough time doing.
Think about this though… if you really think that everything has already been said or written, then that would apply to not just you, it would apply to every other blogger or writer out there too.
Another thought that I use to jerk myself back into reality is to test my statement by changing the subject from ‘me’ to someone I love dearly….. like my niece. Would I tell her that anything she writes is a waste of time cause someone else has already said it or written it? Never!
Like me, it seems like, you don’t treat yourself with the same love that you treat others.
I hope you keep writing. I like your perspective and have found no one else that has it and blogs about it so honestly.
I wish I could have all my blogging friends live near me. I usually feel so out of place, but I have found some people like you who seem to “get me.”
I know you are right. I was thinking, too. If what I said were true, no one would ever write another song, or another poem. We have millions and millions of records and I wouldn’t want musicians to think, “Oh, we don’t need another song out there.” I like your idea of switching the subject from “me” to someone you love… Yeah, I would never tell anyone else, Don’t write that.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!
Barbara, thank you for looking at my blog on “Self-Compassion”. I have found your’s very interesting as I have read several posts. I deal with low-grade physical pain also and find it to be such a gift now. It has enrich my life in ways I still have a challenge putting to words.
Thank you for giving those voices in your head an uneditted expression. Somehow when I sit alone with my own voices, I look out feeling I am the only one who deals with the demon voices that ask me ‘why I think my voice matters’, but I keep receiving the inner guidance to write. So thank you for sharing your perceptions and insights. I am in gratitude for your unique voice.