Over the last few weeks, I’ve challenged myself to write 500 words each day. I’ve found it to be a calming experience. That time during the day where I take 30 minutes to reflect on a topic or moment in my life has been invaluable. I come away from it refreshed and energized.
I’m pushing myself in both the volume of writing and the quality and style of writing. One thing I find I am struggling with is breaking through a wall of creativity.
I’ve been reading Stephen King’s “On Writing” lately. I’ve never read any of his other books but this one comes up in every list of “must-reads” for people wanting to write. What I have loved most about it is how descriptive he is with scenes from his life while maintaining his relaxed and no-nonsense tone of voice.
I love how he paints a picture of scenes from his life with his words. He is incredibly descriptive in his writing.
Creative writing has always been a struggle for me. Whether that be writing in the form of a blog, story, or in the form of song lyrics.
In high school and early college, I played in bands. I wrote most of the songs for those bands. Even much of the lyrics. I remember being comfortable writing the instrumental music for the songs, but when it came to the lyrics, I was terrified to reveal that the words were mine.
It was something of a bridge too far to let people into my own personal psyche. I have a hard time in that setting not writing from an incredibly personal place, yet I’m not the kind of person to bear my soul publicly either.
I’ll write the words, but I’d rather you not read them…or at least not know I wrote them.
Even my wife has to prod me sometimes to open up about deeper feelings and issues. It’s probably why I struggle so much with anxiety. I’m just unlikely to talk about things that are weighing on me. I like to fix my issues first internally and talk about them as some distant idea from way back when later.
Pushing myself to be more descriptive and vulnerable in my writing is a step or two outside of my comfort zone knowing that I intend to publish a decent amount of writing on my personal website.
That’s all part of the game though, isn’t it? Pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone in order to grow and improve?
A Masterpiece of the Incomplete
One of my all-time favorite bands is a little known group from York, Pennsylvania called “The Underwater.” Their singer, Dan Thomas, is one of the best lyricists I’ve ever heard.
His ability to string words together in a way that is so deeply moving is a special gift. One song that has been rolling around in my mind lately is called, “Incomplete.”
The chorus goes like this:
“I’m a masterpiece of the incomplete
Just a picture with no frame.
I’m a masterpiece of the incomplete
Just a fragment on display.”
I love those words.
I’m a perfectionist. Plain and simple. I expect everything I do to be top-notch. Often, I will avoid doing something publicly because I’m afraid I haven’t met my own standards.
I look back at the words from Dan Thomas and find a lot of peace when it comes to being a perfectionist. That chorus nails it both from a creative standpoint and a theological standpoint.
We’re all on our way to perfection. If we keep at this thing called life, we’ll get a little closer every day.
If I keep writing and practicing, I will get better. The words will be sharper and the comfort in being descriptive and vulnerable will grow.
As a human, I’m a perfectly created child of God, while imperfectly human. Yet, as I go, God is perfecting me through the end, when I will be made perfect in his presence.
I’m committing to being vulnerable in this space. To trying to write in ways that don’t come easy for me or at least don’t feel easy to do publicly. That’s the only way I will grow.
I’m curious. What is something you would love to do in life but insecurity or self-consciousness has prevented you from doing to this point?