So I have been great about posting one blog per week since April last year – really great! I was sometimes later in the week than others, but it was always done. Until last week. No post from last week. And to be honest, I’m struggling to get back out there and write something for this week too.
So last week I had something to post; I wrote almost 500 words on Tuesday about a doctor’s visit that morning. But it was not 500 words worth sharing and I never could pick it back up again to turn it into something better. I felt like I took a swing and it was a big PPHHT air-sucking miss. Yuk!
Which has not inspired me to take another swing this week. I have a lot on my plate; is it really worth spending hours on a post that might also never see the light of day?
And so I must go back in my discouragement to why I write in the first place. I want to share ideas on spiritual formation and growth that might be helpful to people. But before that, I want to use my writing as a spiritual practice for myself. A while ago I wrote a post about how I might want to take time to write some fiction pieces that might never be published, and that the desire to write is more important than the need to be published. Can that be true for this blog site too?
Many people who write as a spiritual practice keep a journal that they never plan to publish. I prayed about and tried that approach, but it didn’t feel right. I keep a writer’s journal of short ideas and prompts from life for things I can write about. But once I sit down to write something longer, I find myself writing for an audience – for the people out there, for YOU, those who read these posts. You give me the purpose for writing, and this week the discipline to keep going after a swing and a miss last week.
This swing and a miss can happen with other spiritual disciplines as well. Sometimes I can drop silent prayer for days because I know I missed it one day and feel like “Why bother?” Things feel busy and overwhelming and I miss reading a Bible passage a day or chanting a psalm. Instead of picking up where I left off, I rebuke my laziness and then feel little motivation to start over again. Even within one session of centering prayer I can let my guilt of being thrown off kilter for a moment cast doubt on the value of continuing at all. Perhaps it would be better to just end for today and try again another time.
Anne Lamott in her memoir, “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing & Life” suggests that the first step to writing is to sit down and write. Worry about next drafts, plots and dialogue, and maybe somewhere down the line publication later. None of that happens if you don’t first sit down and write.
Note that her instructions are for writing and for life. Sometimes the words just have to come out and other times it feels like I am playing tug of war with a giant. Sometimes the silence feels so right and other times there is no silence at all as my mind spins and whirls and seems to almost topple over. Sometimes it is easy to love the other and sometimes it feels like work to love even those I hold most dear. Write, pray, love – no matter what it is we are called to do, we must do it, even when we fear the failure of it.
Thank you for being my inspiration to try again this week to write something worth putting out there. Is there something happening in your life right now that you feel is a big swing and a miss? In past moments where you missed the mark, were you able to do something to get yourself back on track? Is there anything you regret giving up that maybe just requires you to sit and try it again? Anne Lamott is a great motivator for me in writing. Who are some people that motivate you? How do you motivate others?
So as much as my writing has taken a hit the past few weeks, what is keeping me busy is working with groups on storytelling for resilience and vision casting. Look into Openings: Let the Spirit In if you or your organization can use some motivation through coaching or a retreat/workshop.