When Our Writing Begins

After my mother saw me swinging a chain on the playground to protect myself from the kids who threatened to beat me upside the head, she moved me to another elementary school across town. I carried a bear-handled knife traveling with my girlfriend across Eastern Europe alone. I’ve scratched, bitten, and hit when I thought I had to. But my best defense has always been my tongue. Sharp, cutting, and deadly words that know where to strike.

For several years I was involved in an online sado-masochistic affair. Words were the currency of our weapons and whips. The only way I could begin to repair the psychic damage done was to step out of the ring altogether. I could no longer win or lose. I had to surrender.

I quit drinking, doing drugs, and smoking. Addiction was a war I couldn’t win. I had to surrender.

I’ve berated myself as a writer, letting the inner critic dictate subject, pace, tempo, line, and language. The inner critic who said I’d never be a real writer, never be good enough, would never measure up. That was a war I couldn’t win. I had to surrender.

When we come to the page it is best we lay down the weapons we hold against ourselves. Shame, secrecy, perfectionism, the violence of self-loathing. Each of these will kill our creativity, damage our self-worth, violate the truth of who we are. Maybe not all at once, but eventually. Slow death by a thousand cuts.

We each have our own power, beauty, strength, and vulnerability to own. We can arrive on the page of our stories without apology, without allowing anyone, including ourselves, to hold us down.

When we surrender to the page, to the process, to the great world of the heart and the spirit that writing inhabits, this is when our writing is able to begin.

We don’t have to fight what comes. We just have to let it.