Shut Up & Write!

Excuses Begone! ~ Wayne Dyer

In the last few weeks, I have talked to several people who have mentioned, somewhere in our conversation, that they write. It sort of tumbled out in between recanting how their day went and what they plan to do next. If I weren’t a keen listener, I might have even missed the mention of writing. But this happened with enough people to make me sit up and pay attention.

When they mentioned it, they did so with almost an embarrassment and apology.

They prefaced with, “Well, I’m not a writer, but I write every day.” Or, “I used to write short stories when I was younger, but that was a long time ago.” Or, “My writing got me through a horrible period in my life. I wish I could write for real.”

In my case, I wrote in journals early on. I would pour out anything and everything on the page. I felt very alone, and writing was my companion — a true friend. As I got busy with life, I would occasionally write letters, which felt wonderfully personal, and I would write for business, a more formal and sterile kind of writing. Many years later, I helped a friend write letters to attorneys and various institutions in an effort to help her with her estranged son. That writing sharpened my senses again, forcing me to pay attention to each word on the page. But underneath it all, I secretly longed to just write, to have enough time and space to throw caution to the wind and write freely.

It is such an intimate space — the page. I’ve noticed that when we write, an entirely different energy shows up. We are less defended, and we dare to show glimpses of our inner world. We become more open and vulnerable. Gulp!

I had a million excuses — all pertaining to time constraints and practicality and feelings of unworthiness, like writing was an exclusive club I was not a member of. For years, I would say, “I would write, but …” Or, “I don’t even know where to start.” Or, “No one would be interested in what I have to say.”

I had a carefully constructed maze of excuses that I couldn’t find my way out of. They were the guards at the gate.

At some point, though, I began thinking of sticking my toe in the water. I remember listening to Sonia Choquette, author and spiritual teacher. She tells of her early writing with her friend, Julia Cameron. Julia would encourage Sonia to write and fax it to her every day. So she did. Each day she would write a little of her story and send the pages over. Julia would review and comment and ask for more. She became Sonia’s “believing eyes.” One page grew into another, and her first book was born.

One day, after hearing me whine and shell out excuses one after the other, Sonia finally told me something wise, something Julia had said to her many years ago.

“Tami,” she said, “we can spend our lives justifying anything. We can spend years locked in the prison of our own excuses, our own reasons for avoiding.

We can self-select out of the opportunities we are offered. And at the end of the day, no one loses more than we do.” She paused to let the words sink in.

“Tami,” she continued in her no-bullshit tone, “those that show up get the gifts. And, at some point, you just have to shut up and write.”

Gotcha, Sonia. I commit to showing up to my life by writing from my soul.

See you on the page.

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