My deadline looms before me, but I have nothing to offer. Not a word. I know all I need to do is start writing, and before long, I’ll be finished, but sometimes starting seems impossibly difficult.
I turn my attention from the window I’ve been gazing through to my laptop, open a new document, and stare at the blinking cursor. “I’m waiting,” it seems to say.
“I’m waiting too,” I reply.
I’m waiting for energy. Waiting for desire. Waiting for inspiration. Waiting for focus. Waiting for a big idea, well, any idea. Waiting for the first word.
As I wait, fingers lingering over the keyboard, I consider the possibility that my ideas are tapped out and no words will be forthcoming. This is hard to imagine. Writing has come as naturally to me as speaking since I was a young girl. Often, it has been through writing that I’ve made meaning out of confusion, found a way to express my thoughts and emotions, and been able to give voice in spaces my voice was unheard or unwelcome.
Perhaps I’m blocked for another reason. After all, it has been a very long, very hard year. As I think about this, I’m all too aware that I’ve been here before—another very long, very hard year. One full year when I couldn’t write a word. In time, my words returned, but until the moment they began to flow once more, I was certain I would not write again. With this memory, grief gathers in the center of my chest as I consider how it will feel to be mute for another season.
Then I leap to the thought, “What if there’s no reprieve this time?”
Hot tears start to fall, and my head throbs as adrenaline and cortisol begin to duke it out in my brain. I reach for my escalating thoughts and try to contain them. I take a deep breath. Inhale one…two…three…four…five. Hold. Exhale one…two…three…four…five. I take another…and another. Eventually, the knot in my chest begins to loosen.
Writing has been an ally to me through the years.
A safe and trustworthy companion that has held my innermost thoughts as meaningful, sacred even. What, then, do I really fear?
The blinking cursor beckons me back from my inward spiral. With each flash, it invites me to simply begin. “Just write something…anything. Trust yourself.”
I am in danger of disappearing. First, my words will disappear, and no one will notice. Then, I will. Maybe little by little, or maybe suddenly. I wonder, will anyone notice?
I stare at what I’ve written, finger hovering over the “delete” key.
“Trust yourself; trust your audience. Keep writing.”
Perhaps you’ve been here too. Your world seems to shrink. You seem to shrink. And you wonder if you’re all together disappearing. Here’s what I want to believe…what I am embolden to claim: these small places are sacred places, and your presence—my presence—is not just necessary, it is significant. You may not see it yet (and you may not be able to write it yet), but you are being enlarged, not diminished. Just wait, and you’ll see.
The right words come, as they always do, in the nick of time.
Susan Tucker is a lifelong lover of story, and with curiosity and openness, she often explores in her writing the tension that life holds. A former English teacher, Susan loves meaningful use of language, especially when used to stir the soul and whet one’s appetite for more truth, goodness, and beauty. Compelled by a burgeoning interest in trauma recovery, she pursued training at The Allender Center, completing the Certificate in Narrative Focused Trauma Care, Level I and Level 2. Susan and Tim, her husband of 29 years, are the parents of two sons, now young adults, and adjusting to their newly empty nest.nbsp