Recently, on a daily walk, I passed a blue bird. The bird was perched on a tree stump, waiting, watching. As I came around the corner, the bird looked up, seemed to notice me, then flew to a tree branch just a few feet away. I continued toward the bird, wondering, watching.
As I continued toward the bird, it again took flight, this time flying toward the park and the many trees surrounding it. It again perched on a tree branch, not too high, not too low, just about the right height for me to still see it, as if I was supposed to. I followed.
I drew closer, and the bird stayed on the branch. I wondered to myself whether or not the bird would once again take flight, not wanting to startle it, I moved slowly toward the tree. As I got closer, I had a realization.
The realization was this – that the the dance I was doing with the bird reminded me of writing, especially writing in previous years.
When I used to write, I would sit down with an outline in hand, and follow that outline as I was taught. It never occured to me that there was another way to write. Not for a long time. It was not until about a year ago, maybe 2, that another way showed up. Literally.
What I mean is that when the timing is right, and the subject is right, the words flow as if they were previously created, and I am remembering them. However, the words were, and are, not something I’ve created, nor written before. They are, however, words and strings of sentences, and concepts that I have thought of before, or learned somewhere before.
It is interesting. The real difference is the inspiration behind the writing. That is the difference to me. When I am inspired about what I am writing, as I am in this moment, the words just show up. Simple. However, when I am not inspired, as I was last Saturday, they do not come so easily, or I force them, which never really works, and is not in the least bit healthy.
I would know about forcing writing. I forced a 100 page thesis to completion about 5 years ago, only to have to start it all over again. Uncomfortable. Yet, as I’ve written in other posts, it is in the most uncomfortable moments where you can grow the most. Ultimately, redoing my thesis made me a better writer, and the thesis a better final product.
Where, then, do we find the inspiration to write; to have the words just flow as if they were always meant to find the page. That I do not know. I do know, however, that practice and patience help. As does an openness to writing in new ways, about new things. Effectively, trying something new.
So, when you find that the words do not come, be patient, and continue to write. Write something else. Try something new. Then, maybe in the writing of something new, or in the trying of something new, you will find the words will flow onto the page; and, may even make their way to the other pages of the other things you are writing.