March 18, 2013

A Creativity Cleanse and Thoughts on Writing

The other day I read on someone's blog that they didn't take blog breaks, but they took "creativity cleanses." Which is a prettier way of saying the same thing I suppose. During that little blogging break I had every intention of using that time pre-write and finish the 36 posts I've had sitting in draft mode for months now, but I didn't. In fact I didn't do any writing at all, with the exception of two extremely boring term papers that sucked me dry. Ever since I started blogging, I've hated writing for school. Something about being told what I have to write rubs me wrong. I may get A's (and I need those A's for these things called scholarships... so I'm going to shut my mouth on this after I finish this sentence), but I've disliked typing a lot of it. But back to this thing called a creativity cleanse... which turned out to be more of a creativity (self-inflicted) suffocation...

Not writing for any form of pleasure or even journaling my prayers and studying of scripture (this is a place of honesty and confession) for a month now has made me realize how integral its become to my life. Especially how integral it is in my walk with the Lord.

I don't particularly like to think of myself as writer (except in secret on rare occasion... like some folks play air guitar and scream into hairbrushes). To me a writer is someone who puts words to form, shape, style, and life on the very pages of the books that are stacked on my shelves. A writer is someone who has hundreds and hundreds of hits on their blog. And most importantly, a writer owns up to being, well, a writer. This is the thing that bothers me the most and that I don't do. I don't want to wear the title of "writer" today. Because owning it opens oneself to to criticism... and being told you're not really a writer. I don't want to be criticized, and I also don't want to be told how to write either (like in school... something about having learned all the rules, I now just want to break them). It's selfish, but I want to write the way I want to write. Majority of the time it's not "right." If it is, it wasn't done entirely intentional. 

And maybe I've got this whole idea of being a writer really screwed up. I've been mulling over it for these four weeks. Whether I'm right or I'm wrong, whether I'm a good writer or not, at the end of the day it isn't what matters. Clearly I struggle with the comparison thing with any creative endeavor, but I'm learning that really that only results in a paralyzing effect, discouraging growth in the long run. Here's what I don't struggle with though: I process by writing. The best parts of me are in my writing I think. Not necessary my blog writing (um... do you know how many journals I keep?). Without it I feel like I loose some incredibly valuable part of myself... because I pour my heart out in those words. Be it words here, or words in in other pages or in prayers. It's by these words, stories, reflections... that the truest, realest part of me can be seen. We all communicate our heart's desires, dreams, hurts, fears, joys... its beats and rhythms... differently. Mine is through writing. And it doesn't matter if it's deemed good by others. That's not the point. I'm just now starting to see what this "point" was all along. 

Writing is where I'm most alive. It's where things make sense and become clear to me. Life takes on colors where pen meets paper. It's where I'm most connected to others. And most attached and close to Christ. (How incredibly foolish of me to try and cut that off.)

If this is what writing is for me, than it matters. It so totally, 100% matters.
For me to write is... one of the first things, maybe the very first thing, that is entirely my own... But little by little, when I start where I'm stuck, over and over and over, getting stuck and unstuck, something cracks through, and life reveals itself... and I write about it. I struggle against myself, and I write about it. I feel afraid and crazy, and I write about it. I don't figure out the solution in any tidy way, and I dont' have a sharp and cleaver revelation, but bit by bit, writing is starting to worm it's way into the dailiness of my life and is creating a home there. It is becoming... more and more of the actual way I live. ~Shauna Niequist in Cold Tangerines, Visions and Secrets

6 comments :

  1. This is beautiful Natalie:) You are an amazing writer, and I'm always so blessed by your reflections because they are deep and lovely and scrolled with such a beautiful and genuine heart. Love ya!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Katie! =D

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  2. Natalie, you are most definitely a writer. :)

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  3. That quote is beautiful and describes how I write too. I love how you write, because I feel God speaking (or writing) to me through you. You are fantastic and God has given you a gift Natalie!:)

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    1. Thanks Rebecca! That's incredibly gracious of you =)

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