It is always so strange to me that words hold such power. They evoke emotion. Inspire change. Promote questions. Yet they also work in reverse. When we use our words to describe our fears, our worries, our doubts – we pull out the power.
Doubts lose momentum.
The big and scary slowly deflates.
Placing it on the page is like challenging all of the negative to a draw. A stand off. Walk away. Turn and face. Big breath.
I begin day one of this month long writing journey by letting the doubts have their space. If I can leave them mostly on the page maybe they’ll stay out of my head. Not interfere. Not make me freeze.
But they are here now. Questioning me. Focusing my gaze on the negatives. They are numerous.
Words have left me.
Images are muddled.
I have no more stories to tell.
Last year words saved me. They held me up. They settled the angst. I told my way out of the hard stuff. The words led me through changes. A new job. A new place. They helped me find my way. They shone the light where I needed to look. They soothed me.
Now, words seem to be running away. Or running by. I can’t catch them. They race at me and throw themselves all over the floor. When I try to pick them up, they slither away, What’s left holds little meaning. Words right now seem confusing.
Words are too complicated. They tangle around themselves when I am looking for the simple. The one word. The ability to name. Not even the answer but at least the nuance of the question. They won’t come to me. They resist. They make me doubt that I could ever tame them at all.
I remember those feelings of capturing truth. Sticking it on the page syllable by syllable. Holding it there with images that settled into rhythms. It never seemed easy but it seemed possible. I wasn’t scared away moments after beginning.
Words have visited me here and there in this past year. Always they came when I needed them most. Now, perhaps they are so elusive because I don’t need them as desperately. I just want them. They are determined to make me work.
I see the words standing facing me. And if I am honest, I can make out what they are saying. They aren’t really gone. But I have to walk towards them. They reside where it’s hard.
The face off is against vulnerability.
So I need to find brave. Hold my stare. Resist avoidance.
Walk towards the complicated stuff.
And then, the words will come.
I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.
Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.
Resist avoidance. You said much of what I’ve been thinking. Glad you are here.
Another month of writing and learning!
I love the line, “letting the doubts have their space.” Getting started is hard! I feel the same doubts creeping in…but keep going!!
All we can do, right?
Yep! But you’re showing up. This piece is beautiful btw. Happy writing.
And to you!
Love how you express how many of us (if not all) sometimes feel – the words avoiding us or our inability to catch them. Once you start writing they words will show up. You write word after word after word. I look forward to the words that appear on your blog to tell your stories. Happy writing!
Thank you Terje. We are so blessed to have this writing community.
Great thinking and sharing about the apprehension that creeps up on the writer in all of us if we let it. I would never think you felt like this Carrie. Your posts always seem so rich and inspiring. Happy you’re joining the challenge.
Oh my – I usually feel like this! So often I have no idea what, if any, post is coming next. Faith that I’ll get there . . .
I have no doubt those words will find you in your heart and on the page. So glad you are writing again this month because I love reading your words.
Many thanks Leigh Anne.
Carrie! I am so excited to hear your voice here again. Please know that your words have done so much for others too- I remember so many of your posts from last year…they’ve become part of me. That’s the other thing about words- you send your fears and vulnerabilities out into the world, but by doing that, you help others who are reading your words to know they are not alone. I think you and the words did just fine- this post is exquisite. Happy March!
Kathleen, as always, you are such a cheerleader for me. Many, many thanks for this encouragement.
You talk about words escaping you, but this is such a beautifully crafted piece. I think maybe the story is hiding, because your words are exquisite. My favorite line is “When I try to pick them up, they slither away”. It evokes such imagery. So glad you are part of the challenge again this year.
Thank you Aggie. It is a long month ahead – full of lots of learning I’m sure.
I think so many of us can stand right there with you in this same face off with words, Carrie. There are times when I think they will win and I will lose them forever. But we are stronger than that. We are brave. We can do this!
Wowza, Carrie. This is beautiful. I’d like to share it with my students tomorrow for our quick write. I think your words will speak to them. So many have found themselves in this place.
This is a huge compliment Katherine! Thank you.
What vivid images you’ve included here. I’m looking forward to reading more of your words, captured syllable by syllable. I adore this line: “They race at me and throw themselves all over the floor.” — like angry toddlers that can’t be soothed!!!
Thanks for visiting and for your comment!
“The face off is against vulnerability.” When this month of writing starts, I am timid and shy. I worry that my words have no stamina. We are all feeling this vulnerability today. I’m glad we are in this together. I look forward to your posts. You have a way of expressing exactly what I am feeling.
I too am glad we are all in this together.
You have such power and control over words. Just breath taking, Carrie. I can already tell this is going to be an amazing month of words and story. Bravo, my friend.
Glad to be back sharing a writing world with you Michelle.
Words are so powerful and life changing. Good luck on your challenge this month.
Yes. Yes, this. You’ve beautifully captured what I’ve been thinking and feeling and wrestling with as I consider this challenge again. Even this morning, I had decided against doing it. Too many doubts about what stories I still have to tell right now. I know that I only discover those stories by doing the work of writing, but when I’m not in the habit of writing, I have a hard time trusting what I know about it. Still. Here’s to beginning and to writing through and with the doubts.
I am so happy you will be doing this challenge again. I would miss you if you didn’t. I think I will wrestle with doubts all month. The push to go in search of the struggles I need to unravel on the page.
I love “They are determined to make me work.” Perhaps that’s why when we write what we’re pleased with, we are “really” proud. I’m glad you’re here, Carrie, will look for you and those words you’ve picked up off the floor!
I agree Linda. It’s the struggle that makes it feel like something that matters.
Your words are gems from the heart. I know that I will learn craft whenever I visit your posts. Day one is done. Words for day two will come. 🙂
A beautiful compliment – thank you Elsie.
You seem to have found them and beautifully crafted as always. Words just might fulfill a different need right now. I look forward to following your journey this month.
And I, yours. It’s like coming back to voices that we missed.
I was feeling these same doubts…and so I wrote about them, as well. The path forward is through the doubts, right?
Loved your post!
Even though you’re having doubts, you write beautifully. I’m sure whatever comes to your mind will be wonderful based on this poetic post!
This is my first time here and you described my feelings so well! The vulnerability of putting myself out there is going to be the hardest for me to overcome, I think. Thanks for sharing!
Word by word we manage it.
thank you for sharing your vulnerability. Your words are beautiful.
What powerful words you share with us on Day 1. More to come 🙂
Yes, more! A month of writing. Yikes!
Carrie, I always love reading your posts! Each week, they fill me with the hope of possibilities. Even in the midst of your doubts, you still convey a spirit of optimism and the joy that accompanies life as an educator.
Thank you so much for this.
OMG…I love this post. It is beautiful. I have a love-hate relationship with words. On the one hand, they mesmerize me…they empower me…they stoke my fires. On the other hand, they intimidate and taunt me. I will share this post with others. It’s too good not to.