The first piece of advice I give to writing students is that if they want to improve their writing, they have to commit to writing every day. I often say, “Set a timer for ten minutes and keep your hands or fingers moving that entire time. It doesn’t matter what you are writing about; just write.”
Often I get the response, “But I don’t know what to write about!”
And I say, “Write anyway.”
So, today I am taking my own advice. I found the time in my afternoon to do some writing and I thought to myself, “I don’t know what to write about!” And then I heard my answer, “Write anyway.”
Since I’ve been finding threads in this blog for the last couple of posts, I might as well acknowledge that ‘writing about writing’ is one of my threads. I don’t know if every blogger is so drawn to writing as I am. I mean, they have to like writing a little bit if they take the time to blog, right? But do they feel the tug to get to the keys? Do they feel refreshed and energized after they have found the way to order their thoughts in words on a screen? Do they turn to the laptop to make sense of their chaos?
Because I do. In fact, if I haven’t written in a while, I get a little cranky…all the thoughts get jammed up in my head, almost begging for a way to get out.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Now, Kristin, I have met you and you certainly say a lot of words every time I am with you; doesn’t that do the same thing?”
Actually, no. You’re right; I do use a lot of words. I like to fill up silent spaces when I am around other people. In fact, I can’t seem to get myself to shut up. But often those words aren’t deeply reflective or fully indicative of what is happening in my soul. They may share insights I have gained through my prayer/Bible/writing, but they aren’t the way I typically get to the insights.
I have found that my best thinking and processing are done when I am quiet. For instance, at this moment, I have been alone in my house for almost two hours. I haven’t spoken a word to anyone other than dear old Chester, our golden retriever. I ate some lunch, read the book of Hosea, wrote in my prayer journal, then turned to my blog. I’m not entirely sure why, but this process of reading, praying, then writing, creates an openness through which my thoughts can order themselves and find a new expression.
Several years ago, before I entered this next chapter, I would go running every day after school. I felt I needed that time to ‘download my day’. While I ran, my stream of consciousness would sort out the moments and file them into folders for later use. It was a useful transition from my day at school to my day at home. However, I think all those years I was missing a step. I rarely sat down in silence to open the folders, reflect on their contents, and find meaning from the moments.
I am taking the time now.
See what happens when you “write anyway”?
Oh, Taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him!