There’s nothing that stirs my passion, challenges my learning and pushes me outside my comfort zone as much as writing. It’s been my anchor, my companion, my solace. It’s where I battle with myself the most. It constantly forces me to extend myself.
I’ve experienced countless moments of sheer frustration with it. Staring at a blank page for hours. The nib of my pen suspended in mid-air. A trickle of sentences coming sporadically. At the beginning, when I was just finding my way, I often wondered about the pull that kept drawing me back. I remember the agony I’d have in waiting for the right words to present themselves. I always thought there was something wrong with me. Particularly when I’d find myself in the company of people that had the most prolific writing practice.
No-one told me at the time that there is no right way to writing…There is no right way to our creative expression. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve drawn that conclusion for myself. During my years of study, I was only ever taught the basic application of the writing practice. The bones as such. But the bones only make up one part of the writing process. The rest is what you hand over of yourself – your passion, dedication, your heart and soul. It’s a big ask.
We often struggle to find our way, but the process is only serving to refine how and what we communicate. It’s asking us to commit our truth. It takes years of practice. Those that I admire that have been in the creative field all their life are the ones that still feel challenged by the creative process. They still feel they are at the beginning of the journey and have not closed themselves off from learning. They are typically the ones with the strongest voices. Their signature is on all their work and you cannot mistake it for anyone elses.
Something happened years ago when I enrolled in my very first Creative Writing class. I felt like it stirred something within to crack open. I’d been invited to peek into an area of my life previously not explored and the fragments being revealed served to show me the enormity of the possibilities waiting to be received, should I choose to accept the invitation.
I still agonise over my words, judging every sentence. The challenges I faced when I was first starting out are still present. But I’ve learnt to become friends with them and realise that they are there only to enhance and evolve my Voice. The agony persists in order for us to continue stretching our creative potential, so we can reflect back over our work and see just how far we have come. As Ira Glass says: It’s only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through…
Happy travels…Paula x