I think that people who don’t do much journaling or writing often look at those who do and think, “Gosh, lucky for them it comes so easily. They just have a way with words.” Recently I was trying to encourage a close brother in arms in his labors. He seemed to be communicating the point that because it is hard, then he wasn’t built for it.
In the course of our conversation I myself began to realize that, the fact that writing is hard work is actually the whole point. The process of writing is a quest for clarity on something that we think we already understand. Its a fight to own that which we think we understand. It is quite inevitable that this path will be a challenge. It will require the twisting and turning of our perspective. It will require us to see things from new angles.
We get bogged down with thoughts like, “I suck, I can’t do this. I am not the writing type.” But thats to problem! The writing process is not about how you feel about your writing process. The musician doesn’t play a symphony by focusing on getting every single note and key right. The painter doesn’t paint a masterpiece by sweating over the correctness of his posture or whether his outfit matches that day. The ninja doesn’t do whatever he does by worrying that every punch needs to look EXACTLY like Bruce Lee would.
The process of writing is the process of grabbing hold of an idea that has grabbed hold of us. Its a process of reaching out past the fog of our mental clutter, our insecurity, our self doubt and bringing near those things that matter to us. We are not satisfied for to merely think we understand. We want to grab hold of it, to be able to wield it ourselves in our own way. We fight for clarity. We fight for ownership.
Every time I am attempting to put my thoughts in writing, I am painfully aware of the fact that there are a thousand other ways to say it. And perhaps many of those ways are better than the one that I am currently taking. This is always pushing me to think outside the box, to pull myself outside my normal perspective. Writing is an opportunity to get off the worn trail of cliche thought and venture through the thicket, seeking a more gripping path to clarity.
Sometimes that means getting lost. Sometimes it means sitting in the woods of my contemplation for a while and feel the air. Even if I come back to the idea I started with, the journey always leaves me with something new. And yet sometimes the venture leads to a new insight, discovery, or connection. Ah that magic moment.
At the end of the day, writing is not about writing. Its about life. It’s about reflecting, weighing and savoring our experiences. It’s about polishing, expanding or strengthening our perspectives. It’s about living more consciously and purposefully. And yes, of course its hard. That is proof that we are covering new territory, not that we should have stuck to the old.