they say the best writing advice is to just write the "next true thing" -- and i have held onto this mantra for the entirety of my "writing career" (heavy air quotes because i basically keep a blog and publish things elsewhere sometimes. but i digress.)
in my writing group this week, someone suggested we share what keeps us from writing right now -- what is blocking us. i found this interesting because i realized that i was indeed feeling blocked -- even though for the majority of my life, I have used writing as a means to process whatever is in my way. and yet for the better part of a year, my blockage has been my "next true thing":
i am sad.
i am angry.
i am hurt.
i am bitter.
and i'm just kind of sick of writing about those things. i miss writing stories about mini revelations from my day, or fictitious characters, or poetry that resonates deep. i miss being woken up in the middle of the night by song lyrics that i had to put to paper, and publishing blog posts that had themes and strategic plans. i sit down at my laptop, i get quiet in my thoughts, i center my words, and all i can think about is how very sad i am.
these truths have created grooves in the rhythms of my life and they trip me as i try to keep up with this online corner of the world i've created.
no one wants to hear about your sad. again.
same shit, different day. get over it.
you're becoming a one-trick pony and it's getting very old.
much like all of you, i long for human connection. i deeply desire the relationships in my life to go deeper, to be more consistent, to discuss things that matter. i want to be inspired, and i want to inspire. i want to see people in their realest and most raw, and i want to feel safe enough to be the same. i think i used to think these connections came from carefully orchestrated conversations that allowed people to open up to me. i thought it was about cultivating trust, building relationships over time, establishing safe space through shared experiences and a deep connection. and while those things certainly do bring about true human connection, i've learned that there's something else that kicks the connection into high-gear and knits us together.
two things happen when i publish blog posts about being sad: i feel like the words have less power over me, and my inbox floods with messages. the messages are from people i know, people i don't know, people i've known for years but haven't kept in contact with, and people i see every day. they all have different stories and points of view, but each message essentially says the same thing:
and with each sentence of their stories, i feel less crazy for posting my "same old same old" truths. it sparks power, it ignites story, it embraces us just as we are.
so i'm here to say the next true thing: i'll go first.
if it means you feel less alone, i'll go first.
if it means we get to have a conversation about things that actually matter, i'll go first.
let's be men and women who go first, who create safe spaces for others to just be. after all, most of our brave stories started the moment we were able to say to someone, "me too."