I'm itchy to write.
Yesterday I answered a multitude of emails, wrote several pages in my journal about centering prayer, composed my Letter of the Day, and started three different posts for this blog. False starts.
What's the problem? Obviously, I am writing, but it's not enough, I think. I'm besieged with ideas. I have a small stack of little pieces of paper with hastily scratched ideas: "taking on what's hard for me," "Meditations For and By an Introvert," "Growing my World as I Grow Older." Ideas galore, but none have gelled -- yet. Instead of feeling blocked, I feel noisy, jumbled, piled up to the brim with ideas, thoughts to pursue and explore. I feel exuberant with words. Not a bad problem to have, I tell myself. Better than being itchy to write and having nothing to write about or better than not wanting to ever write anything again.
When I taught classes on journal writing, I would say, "The more you write, the more you find to write about, and the more you find to write about, the more you want to write." That still feels true. For years I have heard the advice if you want to be a writer, write every day, but I always interpreted that as writing seriously every day and seriously meant working on a project headed towards publication. A good day was one in which I worked on my essays on grief and loss or another writing project.
Well, my New Year's intention to write a letter every day is changing my view of myself as a writer. I AM writing every day. I AM a writer because I write, and in fact, I am writing every day. My writing is serious because I think about my audience. I open and reach into my heart and pray I will find clear and loving words that will speak to my recipient. I sit at my Lady's Writing Desk and light a candle and select stationery or note cards, and remove the cover of my fountain pen, and I write.
More and more I realize that what supports this desire to write and the actual practice of writing is silence. I need to sit in silence more and to actually silence the words. I receive a newsletter from a nonprofit group called Friends of Silence (www.friendsofsilence.net) and quoting from T.S. Eliot's poem, "Ash Wednesday," they ask, "Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?" It is in the moments of centering prayer that I am able to release the jumble and the noise. In the silence I am somehow reminded that the act of writing itself, whatever the content or the forum, is an expression of my essence. Writing is how I connect with the Divine and how the Divine connects with me.