I Write Because I Have To.

June 23rd, 2014

blog- writing ..

I write because I have to.
Not because I have a million amazing thoughts racing around my head that must be written down, or that I have ideas nobody has ever heard, words worth repeating, insights, perspectives or lessons nobody else has learned. I don’t write because I’m clever, have a way with words or because people care. Nobody’s life depends on it, it doesn’t save lives and nor may it change lives. I have no delusions of grandeur. My life is no more full of things worth writing about than yours. You and I are the same. We do stuff and go to bed.

Mostly I don’t even have something to say at all, really- I just have a few mixed up thoughts that I try stringing together, thrilled if it makes sense to me- let alone anyone else! I stare at my blank word document waiting, waiting for that inspiration. I look about the day hoping a teachable moment will whistle “hey you- over here!” showing me something new and shiny. I wait for one of the kids to say something insightful, do something endearing, light up an old dusty corner. I linger in the shower, watching my scattered thoughts chase water past my feet and down the drain before I even know what they were. I stare out to the ocean searching for clues in each breaking wave, but they just crash and get dragged back out. I look in books, and in another’s eyes. I lift up pieces of pain, turn them over gently to search a little more. I climb to waterfalls, and eat my dinner too fast. I expect more and enjoy less, I stare out windows and never see the view. I look to the heavens that I don’t even believe in, and critique “The Voice” with my kids. And conclude at the end of the day, that what I fear is true- my life really isn’t very inspiring. It’s only as inspiring as I choose to make it.

You see, that pesky little inspiration likes to play, leaving me counting to 100 while hiding within myself. So over the years  I’ve learned not to count, but to write instead. I don’t write because I am inspired, I write to be inspired. For without writing I would not see. I would not notice the obvious. Instead of demanding life to inspire me, shouting at the waves- inspire me! or waiting to pounce on the kids- inspire me! whispering to the waterfall, a teardrop or a lazy afternoon- inspire me! Instead of coaxing a little inspiration out of a passing stranger or heated argument, or begging the dog, the clouds or Oprah to give me something, anything, I stare at a blank document, I listen to the open space of silence, stop trying so damn hard, soften my focus and see more clearly. And then I write.

I write because I must. It opens me up, and slows me down. It hands me a shovel and says – here dig. Dig around and see what’s already there, waiting patiently to be found. Writing opens my eyes, and opens my heart. Writing are my glasses and my pacemaker. Perhaps you must dance, take photos of bugs, sing quietly to yourself, or cook meals for those you love. Maybe you see more clearly when you train for a marathon, play with your grandchildren, or feel more deeply when you plant bulbs in Autumn.

It takes courage to quieten the noise, to stop the searching. For what if there is nothing there? I’ll do just about anything to avoid staring at an empty document, an empty me. But, I’ll stop counting to 100 and seeking that which isn’t hiding, if you go do that thing you have to do, simply because you must. For when we’re all courageous enough to pick up our shovels and find those pieces inside of us, we are all the better for it. What you find doesn’t have to be perfect, or even good, it just has to be yours, as mine just has to be mine.

image- looking through

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  1. Ginny says:

    You have just spoken my life   Well except for the part about creating the space to state at the blank page until I begin to write.  Thank you for this thought. For your writing. I’m excited. I think.  Ginny 

  2. Betsy says:

    Oh yes. Yes. Indeed. And thank you for the inspiration. It’s gone missing for me of late. Little did I know, I’ve simply lost the courage to face down that blank page. But I’m going to try find it again, today.

  3. Cindy A says:

    Love this, Meg.   This is exactly true for me as well.

  4. Mira says:

    What a revelation! I feel the need to write niggling at me every day, have bought beautiful journals to write in, all because of this need I feel. But then, when I take a pen, nothing. Sometimes, when I write an e-mail or a message to a friend or relative, it comes flowing out and, reading it all back, I almost can’t believe it was I who wrote all those words and thoughts and sentiments. I get praise from everyone for my writing. And, you know what? I am dumbfounded.Yet, when I want to sit down and just write what is going on inside and what (I am sure) needs to get out to the light of day, I am paralyzed, frozen, nothing there.In my youth I wrote poems and stories, in high school papers and in local papers. My mind and soul just bursting with it all. Now, when I really would need to unburden myself, empty out all the pain and suffering I went through in life, free myself of the stuff that was stuffed deep down inside for the world NOT to see, I can’t seem to open the valve to release it. What do I do? It’s frustrating.

  5. Joan cook says:

    “Seek that thing that isn’t hiding” is a phrase that I hope will stay in my heart forever, Meg.  May I quote you as part of my email signature?  I would love to sign off with that in the future, bringing you to the thoughts of those who know you and to those who should.

  6. Meg says:

    Hi Mira, thank you for sharing your struggle. Your story is important whether anyone else reads it or not, and it sounds as though you may be feeling some pressure to perform or are worrying about the outcome. I suggest breathing deeply and simply putting pen to paper   – even if it’s a doodle at first. You could close your eyes and draw simple lines to express the feelings as they arise. See what comes without any expectation- you may end up with gobbledegook or just scribbles, you may not. It doesn’t matter either way- what matters is that you free yourself, and find the girl who wrote those poems so many years ago. You and I both know she’s waiting.

    Hi Joan-  I’d be honoured if you quoted me ~ “Stop seeking that which isn’t hiding”. There is no greater praise 🙂


  7. Meg says:

    Betsy- I’m so glad you have to courage to face the blank page, go for it!

  8. Bernadette says:

    “My life is no more full of things worth writing about than yours. You and I are the same. We do stuff and go to bed.” Wow! I too have been stopped cold from writing/blogging because That Voice says, “What do you have to say that’s so important?” It’s been a struggle for years because perfection keeps poking at me and wanting me to jump higher and higher until I am exhausted just thinking about writing.I have to make friends with Good Enough, and break up with Perfection.Thanks, Meg. Always enjoy your writing.

  9. werena says:

    that is so nice, thank you for this piece! I am afraid it is about me, however I have banned the pen out of my hand for about 10 years! its a love story I now understand 🙂

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