Yesterday afternoon, as the sky turned dark as night and the rain poured down in sheets, I wrote a post for today. But on this sunny morning, it felt too depressing to publish—especially on a Friday, right on the heels of another sappy post.
It’s just been that kind of week, I guess. The other night, after spilling (or should I say spewing?) my guts out to my husband, detailing every little thing that is breaking my heart these days, I shared this revelation on Facebook:
As a writer, I finally realized something: I have to write about the things that make me weep. I don’t want to, but I will be stuck until I do.
The next morning, after several hours of restorative sleep and a strong cup of coffee, I added this:
And in case you’re worried, I will also keep writing about things that don’t make me weep! It’s just time to stop avoiding the hard stuff.
I mean, really? Who wants to read a blog that’s devoted to weepy matters? The world offers plenty of heartbreaking material on its own!
But that’s just the problem, isn’t it? No matter how funny, witty, and optimistic I long to be, the world gives us what it gives us. I am who I am, and, silver linings aside, there’s only so much I can control about the way I respond to the world around me.
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about writing, it’s this: I have to write about the things that matter most to me, whether they fill me up with joy, weigh me down with sadness, or knock me about with confusion. If I write just to be funny, or just to get in on the latest, hottest issue, I am wasting my time (and yours).
Because ultimately, it isn’t a certain topic or genre that makes something we read resonate deeply with us; it’s the writer’s heart. If the writer hasn’t poured her heart into what she’s written, it may be interesting, but it won’t move beyond interesting to moving. No clever word-smithing can accomplish what the writer’s heart is capable of: the transference of joy, sorrow, compassion or hope—raw ingredients with the potential of creating something new in the heart of the reader.
Sure, we all enjoy carefree, happy days filled with friends and posts that make us laugh, but I’m starting to accept that those aren’t the days that move me forward, into a new place. They just give me some respite, right where I am. I need that respite today, but I just can’t build a blog—or a life—around it.
Do you ever wish you could respond to your life in a different way? How do you come to terms with the “material” and heart you’ve been given?