The morning is murky blue-black. The snow-covered ground shimmers under the moonlight. I am awake at my usual hour but having trouble writing. Again. Eighth day in a row. I take my coffee to the window and study the crooked silhouette of the apple tree, branches shattered by the storm. In the yard, I see movement, stealthy, slow—three deer grazing the barren bushes. While they graze, I think about the new book I’m supposed to be writing, am more interested in watching deer tread cautiously at the edge of dawn.
My writing is suffering. The ideas are there, but, like the deer in the yard, hover with each step, wary, nervous, ready to flee at the first hint of danger.
I am experiencing a writing crisis, have no desire to work on my newest project. I have my coffee, and my 4 a.m. writing block all to myself, yet feel no pull toward my study, my writing habitat. How did this happen? How could a lover of words, a story-brewer, not want to write?
Reasons for this malady abound. Stressed trying to fit writing into the maze of Life; overtired; loss of oomph, heart; writing burn-out, wobbly faith.
Oh, and fear. Of some villain, indestructible, immortal, planted in the middle of my path. That appears at unexpected times, scary enough to stop me from pursuing my quest, to keep me from taking another step out of my comfort zone.
Not writing is an option. I have tinkered with that option in the past. I mean, why push myself beyond my comfort zone if it is creating such anxiety?
But when I think about what life looks like when I don’t write, strange things rise from that stirred-up pot. I set my heart on this, since I was small and fell in love with Peter Pan. This is what I believed I would do.
Why is it so easy to believe the unreal when you’re a kid, but not when you’re a grown-up and you actually have to make the unreal real?
As I look out the window, at the deer picking their way across the snow, I wonder about the fears they have to face. Yet, they’re still out there. Vulnerable but determined. They aren’t hiding, aren’t cowering. Quite simply, there are some things we have to do. Deer must eat, writers must write.
But “must write” isn’t enough for me today. There has to be another reason to believe this is where I belong, crafting stories. I know I must—but for what purpose?
Trudging back upstairs, coffee in hand, I think about what will happen if I don’t write. I have already avoided writing for over a week. What’s another day? I can’t keep doing this to myself. I don’t relish struggling again. No interest in proving to myself I’m not worthy. So I won’t write. I’ll just read some emails, look at Facebook, just take a day off. Tomorrow, I’ll try to write.
Enter the wolves.
Just when I need a reason, a motivation to write again, I come across an inspiring video (below). An astonishing surge of hope and belief moves through me. Not just for the wolves or the ecosystem, but for my place in this world.
I am reminded that “must write” is two-fold. The desire to write must pulse within me every day, just to get me to the page and begin. The second part to this desire, what keeps me at the page, is knowing why I’m writing. My purpose.
For me, I write to explore things that matter. As a crafter of story, be it fiction or real, I have always been motivated by writing about something in this world that matters to me above and beyond my own life. Something that I can impact in my own way. Something that I should speak up for.
Writing because I must write is a good first step, but it doesn’t get me past my comfort zone. It doesn’t strengthen me in times of trouble.
When I lose the heart, when I don’t want to write anymore, writing about something that matters steers me back to my journey. I am eager to write as long as something or someone in my heart needs a voice. And the joy, the satisfaction, the determination that result link me to the next thing that matters. And the writing continues.
I had no use for a blog post for the past month or so. Had no desire to think about my next writing project. Didn’t miss my characters or fictional settings.
Until I watched this video.
And now I want to write again. If only to be a voice.