Tuesday, March 15, 2011


A few weeks ago I posted about trying out some new learning opportunities. I took the plunge and signed up for the Personal Essays class I mentioned and it started last week. 

My first set of class materials showed up on Wednesday. I had been checking my email all day waiting for it, so eager to get started. I read through things, read about my classmates. It was all good. 

Thursday I started on my homework. The discussion questions were simple enough. But then I had to start two essays. Seemed like no big deal... But it was. I didn't know what to write about, couldn't get anything started that I liked. It was a miserable feeling - the start of panic.

Friday I went to one of my favorite writing spots, spent some time just relaxing, getting some other thoughts on paper and then BOOM - I had intro paragraphs for 4 potential essays. Ahhh. I could feel the panic ebb away.

We were out of town for the weekend, so Monday night was my first chance to go back through those fabulous introductions and narrow them down to two for my homework due tonight.

After a few days, they are not so fabulous. I'm afraid they are too-much "navel gazing" and not enough universality. A good essay is one people can connect with, even if they haven't had the exact same experience. The panic is back, and rising. 

Writing is getting harder. I wonder if I am trying too hard - or not hard enough.


  1. i don't pretend to know the first thing about writing, but only that, when it got the kind of hard that you cannot press through, i stepped away until i felt His Hand move me to begin again. the famine was long, and it was also discipline. it was His way of keeping me ever-solicitous about words, how i use them, how i can abuse them and how, even with deep apology, i can never retract them. it was His way of reminding me, with both gentleness and firmness, that when i am surrendered to Spirit's leading, even hard words are excellent.

    if writing, however, is harder, because you are honing yourself and your craft to honor Him, then press through. you may be trying too hard, but again, you may not. i would trust that, as you have been given the gift, He will make it evident, and give you the skill and patience necessary to live in the hard place until He speaks and words come like life-giving water.

    be still. He knows, and in time, so you, too.
    love you, J.

  2. Thanks, Joy. I do feel like this is a "press through" moment rather than a "step away" one. I appreciate your wisdom and encouragement!