Open When You Don’t Know What to Write

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I’ve sat here for an hours reading old journals, emails, and watching Youtube to find exactly what I want to encourage you with today and I’ve got….nothing.

No major piece of wisdom.

No pretty turn of a phrase.

No words from the Lord.

Not even a good video to show.

Nothing.

And I could feel like  failure because I’m a writer with no words.  But I decided that even though I don’t have words, I’m going to show up, write from the heart, and give myself permission to not be perfect.

And I think that’s the biggest obstacle when it comes to writing for me– the perfection.  There is an incessant need to have “an angle”, “a point of view”, “a unique voice” that tends to push back the real Osheta.  And you, my sweet readers, deserve the real me.

So here we go, here’s the real me, not knowing what to write, but showing up anyway:

The real me is sitting on her couch with dishes stacking in the sink and she’s drowsing off.

The real me has her hair in a messy bun, and not the cute, sexy kind– the frizzy, wild kind.  The kind that says to my husband, ‘not tonight, Babe– these splint ends will cut you!’

The real me is amazed at the prayers in her journal that were answered and marveling at the fact she’s nanny for a little boy she wrote a prayer for when he was still in the womb  and mom was in the hospital, bed-ridden and labeled as an “at-risk” pregnancy.

The real me just ate two and half chocolate chip cookies.  After 7pm.  And she hasn’t brushed her teeth yet.

The real me is listening to a teenage boy band and feeling like that creepy cougar mom on any prime-time special.

So, what do I write when I don’t know what to write– I write my truth. I write my reality. I write my most authentically.  I write silly and goofy and a little but irreverent.

And I know this post is written only out of a promise to myself to see every day for the rest of this month through with encouragements, and tomorrow morning, oh tomorrow morning with her newness and fresh coffee will have another, more thoughtful post.  But although I’ve given tomorrow’s post a great deal of thought,  I wouldn’t say it’ll be more perfect than tonight’s.  This.  This right here is a piece of my perfection– imperfect prose and impressively normal truths.

From now on, when I don’t know what to write, I’ll give myself permission. Permission to show up and be a little bit messy.  Permission given to me from my friend Sherry, that I generously lavish over myself when I don’t have the “right words”.

Sherry when she saw me walking up to church, placed her hand on my shoulder and said, “I love what you write.  It’s beautiful and some of it…I wish I wrote.”

a little bit embarrassed, I shrugged, “Oh, well sometimes I don’t know what to write so I go days without writing.”

Sherry, with a twinkle in her eye, smirked,

Well, that’s ok– I give you permission to no know what to write.  I give you permission because we sometimes don’t want to give it to ourselves and you need it, you need permission to be quiet and without words.  I give you permission to rest and wait for the words to come. I give you permission to write when you feel inspired.  I give you permission to be yourself.”

What a wise, wonderful, dear woman.

So if you, fellow writer, are like me and you don’t know what to write, start with your truth.  Start with where you are right this very second.  Start with the honesty of your humble surroundings, the realness of your messy kitchen, the authenticity of your unsexy split ends.  Then give yourself permission, to write free and unfettered, to write scary and senseless, to write what your feel, when you feel it, and without any thought of perfection.  Let your gift of an imperfect prose be the true hallmark of your perfection. 

Then give yourself permission to hit publish, because no truer has your writing been, no more valuable to your readers, and no better glimpse into the person behind those words has there ever been and it would be a tragedy to not share in this moment.

You have permission, will you accept it?

Shalom in the Showing Up,

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